November 03, 2014
Submitted by
Karen and Robert


Group Journal


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Great Setting, wonderful breakfast


Omar, the guide is telling the 17th Century history of Berbers being ruled over
by the Arabs

12000 horses were kept here

Damasque is unique to Meknes

We walked in the narrow streets of the Medine of Meknes

The spice market

Our meeting point before we left Meknes

We had lunch at Volubulis

We all enjoyed Taha's guiding very much


Started our morning in Meknes with a wonderful breakfast of fresh orange juice and baguettes with a selection of jams and butter the Moroccan version of crepes and some type of corn cakes.  Also had the best coffee of the trip so far.  The setting, too, was especially lovely as we ate in the hotel's beautiful courtyard. When we left the hotel, we realized that the gate of our hotel was just as beautiful as the 300 year old city gate right next to  the hotel.

We piled into our van and met our guide for the morning, Omar.  Our first stop was the 17th century stables and granary of King Ishmael.  To get there we past the fortified walls of the old city and stopped at the lake outside the stables.  From here we were able to see many storks that make their home in the winter in Meknes.  The lake was primarily for the horses of the king and his army to drink.   Inside the granary we saw Roman columns, a large wooden door with the image of a sun, and a old water mill that brought water from the lake to inside the granary.
The walls were made of Adobe and the ceiling was made from bamboo which appeared to be fossilized into the roof.  The stables had many beautiful arched doorways and provided shelter for 12,000 horses.


After leaving the stables, we drove to the Tuesday gate, which got it's name because it lead to the market which was held on Tuesdays.  Internal gates are named for the activity that that takes place closest to the gate.

The Mausoleum of Moulla Ismail was next to our hotel. We walked to the Mausoleum. At the gate we were greeted by the water-man , a man dressed in a traditional Berber outfit who poured water with his brass cups to ward off evil. For few pennies, he posed for us.The Mausoleum was also a working mosque. The architecture was a combination of Arabesque and Roman arches. The whole building was beautifully decorated with tiles, painted wood and carvings.







Across the street from the mausoleum, we stopped at a workshop where we saw a craft that was imported from Damascus: wire imbedded in iron. After this tour we took a break for shopping.  We visited a shop where a local artisan was doing damascene work, which entails pounding silver threads into iron crating decorative plates, vases, bracelets and other objects.


Then we were off to the market in the Medina where we saw more craftsmen making jallabas.  Inside the Medina market was an array of colors and sounds and smells including spices and lots of dead animals and body parts.


After this stop, we swapped Omar for our regular guide "Idris" and headed towards Volubilis.  We past through Moulay Idriss, the place where Moulay Idriss brought Islam to Moracco.  The town is cropped on a hillside overlooking the Roman ruins of Volubilis. We stopped for lunch at Hotel Volubilis and then toured the site of the Roman ruins.  Our guide Taha showed us around the city which onced had a population of 20,000 people.  There were lots of in tact floor mosaics including one of a jester riding backwards on a donkey, and many Roman gods and other mythological figures.



After this tour we headed to Fes and our first dinner that didn't feature lamb.