Maghreb — A fascinating Berber Culture.

Morocco in search of Atai.


In 2008, I found myself working in Morocco. Those who have yet to visit this marvellous place are missing an experience. The country has a fantastic culture and is a very photogenic. My first visit was to Tangiers back in 1993, although it did not have the same appeal as Marrakech. The name Marrakech translated into Berber means “Land of God.” It is the third largest city in Morocco after Casablanca and Rabat, and lies near the foothills of the snow capped Atlas Mountains and a few hours away from the foot of the Sahara Desert. Its location and contrasting landscape has made it an enviable destination in Morocco. Just to sound a bit more like a tourist brochure Marrakech has two distinct parts: the Medina, the historical city, and the new European modern district called Gueliz. The Medina is full of intertwining narrow passageways and local shops full of character. In contrast, Gueliz plays host to modern restaurants, fast food chains including a Macdonalds, damn they get everywhere. However, for the photographer that has invested in recording the rich tapestry of life, there is no better to place to start than Jemma el-Fnaa, the countries busiest square.

To show you the square would destroy the experience of visiting the cultural explosion that is Femma el-Fnaa. Radiating away from the square are the covered streets that are rammed with traders that sell almost everything. Whilst the hapless tourist believes the these streets represent one calossal market. There are eight Souks, Semmarine, Ableuh Kchacha, Siyyaghin, Smata, Cherratine, Haddadine and Belaarif. However, to the bewildered tourist armed with a camera and hell bent on getting a bargain. There is a clear and present danger of getting just a little lost or what I prefer to call geographically embarrassed. This however, is a small price to pay for such a fantastic experience. The catacomb of inter-connecting alleyways are filled with eager entrepreneurs and salesman determined to sell their wares. The other landmark of note that is worthy of the cameras attention is the Koutoubia Mosque. A focal point that is located in the southwest quarter of Marrakech. The tower stands 77 metres (253 ft) high. It was originally covered with Marrakshi pink plaster, but in the 1990s experts opted to remove the plaster to expose the original stone work. This move has made it far more photogenic.

Morocco has a lot to offer the intrepid photographer. Cities, Mountains and Deserts. Visit the desert and you will experience magical vistas and sunsets that will be embedded in your mind for ever.

Anyone for Morocco please contact:

kev.sidford@mountainrite.com

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