Morocco: Immerse Yourself in Culture
Morocco: Immerse Yourself in Culture
Morocco’s imperial cities—Marrakesh, Fes, Meknes—conjure up images of silk-clad sultans, trickling fountains in palace gardens, mud-brick marketplaces full of spices, leather and all the exotic goods of Africa…and with good reason.
Each of these cities has served as the capital of Moroccan empires; kingdoms stretching down into the Sahara as far as Timbuktu and up across Spain to the Pyrenees. Rabat may be Morocco’s political capital today and Casablanca its commercial center, but these older seats of empire are the country’s soul and together they form the heart of its thriving year-round tourist business.
Superficially, Marrakesh, Meknes and Fes resemble each other with their thousand year-old ramparts encircling a warren-like maze of tiny medieval lanes. Each city has a busy souk full of artisans tapping away at copper and silver while merchants arrange their wares on open stalls. But if you scratch the surface each city has its own personality.
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- Population: 32,987,206 (July 2014 est.)
- Capital: Rabat
- Climate: Mediterranean, becoming more extreme in the interior
- Time Zone: GMT
- Language: Arabic (official)
- Country Code: 212
- Location: Northern Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, between Algeria and Western Sahara
- Coastline: 1,835 km
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My former attorney colleagues and I used to joke that there were three kinds of closing arguments you could make to a jury: the one you carefully prepared, the one you actually delivered, and the one you wish you had given. Few things ever happen as planned. Nevertheless my “life” plan (the one I carefully prepared) was to practice law until I retired at 65; then I would pursue photography and maybe make a little money on the side.
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Carol Romano owns an online business and a store in Mexico’s San Miguel famed for its eclectic vibe and its unusual, one-of-a-kind merchandise. But the story of how she came to own her own business started a decade earlier…with a trip to Morocco.
Morocco’s imperial cities—Marrakesh, Fes, Meknes—conjure up images of silk-clad sultans, mud-brick marketplaces full of spices, leather and all the exotic goods of Africa…and with good reason. Each of these cities has served as the capital of Moroccan empires; kingdoms stretching down into the Sahara as far as Timbuktu and up across Spain to the Pyrenees.
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Paul Bowles, Jimi Hendrix, Barbara Hutton—I’m following in their footsteps in Morocco, starting off in Tangiers before exploring the north Atlantic coast. It’s no longer the smoky den of vice that once drew the Beat Generation and the Peace and Love crowd, but today the cleaned-up port is better than ever for the soul—and the wallet.
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He wetted his finger and rubbed the cup’s surface. His finger reddened. “Berber lipstick,” he said, “have it, I give it to you for nothing.”
Having already spent a few days in Morocco, I thought there was no such thing as a free lunch…