The blue of Chefchaouen. The sky above the mountains Refer to the waters of The Mediterranean and of the Atlantic. Journey to the north of the Country from the maghreb, a meeting point between european culture and arab traditions
Carpets in the exhibition in the medina of Chefchaouen. The moroccan city that mixes influences magrebine, and andalusian, is a Unesco world heritage site.
Fertile lands, the scents of the spices. Roads that wind up to the wild mountains of the Refer to the Two seas, the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, touching. A little Africa and a little of Europe, the Northern end of Morocco, is a square tip that stretches out on the strait of Gibraltar, reaching nearly to the Spain. A territory between two worlds, that always draws artists and intellectuals for its long beaches and the beautiful lights of the coasts, for the waves of cultural coming from the Maghreb andAndalusia , which envelops the spirit. The Morocco is a destination increasingly sought after, for the perception of security and stability, in a geopolitical area traversed by tension, conflict, conflicts more or less marked. According to the latest data of the observatory on tourism in the national, almost seven and a half million tourists visited the Country from the maghreb, from January to July 2019, with a growth of 8.2 percent compared to the same months of 2018; the presence of the italians increased by 13 percent. This report focuses on the northern part of Morocco, less traveled than the tourist routes, the most traditional.
Travel in Morocco of the North: a touch of blue
Tétouan, what to see in the white town at the foot of the Rif
At the foot of the Rif, here is Tetouan, the white city. To live here means to accept a bond: with the calm of the sea nearby,” she wrote, Tahar Ben Jelloun in the book, The last love is always the first? (Bompiani, 2004). “I don’t know if it will be the last, but certainly for me it was love at the first trip,” admits Ruth Barreto, the owner of the riad El Reducto. Spanish, musician by profession, Who chose to settle in a noble palace of Tétouan: “During the Spanish protectorate , El Reducto, it was the home of an ancient family of Seville, and then became the official residence of the grand vizier. I turned in the first riad Tétouan, in the period in which no one took care of this town, nor the state. Now the city is open to tourism, and it deserves more than a quick pass. Streets, squares and buildings have been restored and new structures for hospitality are born in the heart of the medina, among the best preserved of Morocco, declared world heritage by Unesco in 2001”.
Well larger than that of Tangier, the medina of Tétouan is protected by ramparts with seven carved doors. Many of the whitewashed houses overlook the inner courtyards and gardens are closed, while in the southern most part develops the jewish quarter, the mellah. As a time, is still an important place of commerce for the local communities that are selling each morning, their products, and for the most part are of good quality. It is worth exploring every corner of the souks, where they made kaftans, hand-worked leather and leather, we sell rugs. With a little bit of time and patience to bargain, you can buy handicrafts at good prices, in particular handbags, backpacks and leather belts. The choice is immense and the negotiations, although it is part of the game, it does not follow the flow slow and exhausting, which are exhausting the tourists in the souks of Marrakech. The heart of Tétouan, which connects the narrow alleys of the medina to the airy streets of the ville nouvelle, is the grand place Hassan II, with the palm trees to make shade and the palace Khalifa, the summer residence of the royal family, to intrude on the scene. When it comes down to the dark, the daily grind slows down and, sitting in the cafes, men are taking a break: play dominoes and drink tea scented with mint.
Chefchaouen, trip to the blue city of Morocco
Is the blue city, 600 meters, at the foot of the peaks of the Rif, the mountainous area inhabited by berbers who meets going down from Tétouan to the south. Bab el Ansar is the entrance gate to the medina of Chefchaouen, a set of moroccan influences and andalucian, also Unesco world heritage site. Is a ups and downs of the narrow streets and small well-kept houses, shops displaying bags and colorful rugs, and tourists kidnapped from his coloring. “The houses of Chefchaouen began to be painted blue around the mid-FIFTEENTH century”, explains the young man Amil, sitting outside his workshop, elegant in immaculate djellaba, tunic traditional. “The hypothesis on the adoption of this color are different. It is said that the blue is used to ward off insects and evil eye. Or that it is the symbol of heaven and spiritual life”. Whatever the reason, every corner is worth a photo, especially in the early morning or at sunset, when Chaouen, as the locals call it by its inhabitants, seems an abandoned city, and time seems suspended. It is the same feeling that you feel upon entering the riad Cherifa, a traditional style: wooden doors, carved rugs, embroidered decor rooms moroccan. The architecture preserves the original andalusian style. Not far away, here is La Botica de la Abuela Aladdin, a shop packed with local produce: great the black soap and the argan oil. From medina all the way down to the main square, Uta el Hammam, surrounded by coffee always filled and animated by street performers any time of the day. From here you depart for excursions to the mountain. Chefchaouen, in fact, is one of the most popular starting points for exploring the heights of the Reference Is located in a valley between the twin peaks Ech Chaoua (which means “the horns”), from where you descend to the valley and rushing streams that fall in spectacular waterfalls. There are different levels of trekking, according to their abilities, and some excursions offer extraordinary views over Chefchaouen. For the most picturesque routes you have to drive to the east to reach the national park of Talassemtane, 60 thousand hectares of mountainous terrain that constitute one of the most important protected natural areas of Morocco. Here survives the macaque berber, a species at risk of extinction, and grows also the last forest of fir moroccan.
Asilah, the capital of the art of North Africa
Low coastal hills, the villages of the sea from the atmosphere sleepy and a skewer of beaches and rocks of solitary from Rabat up to Cap Spartel, the atlantic coast is a line that runs almost straight. Asilah is reached in two and a half hours ‘ drive from Chefchaouen passing Tetouan. The view on arrival is dazzling: whitewashed houses in the light, milky, washed by the Atlantic ocean. Sleeping beauty by day, the fortified city has evenings full and lively. In particular, in August, when for three weeks the scene is the Festival of the Arts, The International Cultural Moussem of Asilah. Born as a competition of painting murals in 1978, has over time become an international event: literary readings, music concerts, dance and the visual arts attract at least one hundred thousand people from all over the world. “We also hold seminars and debates in which we discuss even the development of different forms of expression in the muslim world: dialogue is at the heart of the festival”, says Otman Chentouf, designer. The boutique is a work of art in itself, from the essential, almost mystical, with the elements of nature and recycling. “In recent years, thanks to the growing popularity, the event has attracted the sponsorship of major cultural foundations, in particular the united Arab Emirates, and attracts collectors from every corner of the planet, especially the japanese.
For many Asilah has been, since the beginning of the festival, a springboard. Malika Agueznay, for example, that here debuted in 1978, invited to create a mural, is now an established artist. “It was in that occasion that I met the great engravers of the age, falling in love with this art. I took a small plate and I started,” he told in an interview. “At the time the city lacked electricity often, there was no water and to prepare the necessary supports to our work we had to go every time to look for a well”. Today, everything has changed. The small, sun-kissed Asilah, surrounded by ramparts resting on a cliff, is considered the art capital of the North Africa. In every corner in the medina, there are ateliers, galleries and workshops that would be good also in New York. Aplanos is specialized in engravings from XVI to XIX century, old maps and new talents. Its customers are international, the same that you find at Casa Pepe, the family-owned restaurant that generations offers seafood cuisine ibero-moroccan, transforming recipes, sea-born poor in a vortex of flavors.
Tangier, what to visit in the city magnet
Always Tangiers (which is Where he dedicated, on the number of April 2019, the address book, the Five senses) draw the souls escaping, and those dreamers: adventurers, spies, smugglers, and, above all, creative. In the past, the favorite haunt was the café Hafa, on the top of a cliff. Some of the names? Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, Gore Vidal, Jack Kerouac. Even the Beatles and the Rolling Stones landed here. Today, intellectuals, designers, gallery owners come back again to Tangier for inspiration. Open riad, spaces for art and culture dazzled by the light white of this city. “It is mainly the current architectural that developed in different eras to tell the identity of Tangier. A centre that has always had an international vocation: the electricity was Spanish, the drains of the british, the tram in france,” says Rachid Tafersiti, president of the cultural association Al Boughaz and the author of several books, including Tanger, réalités d’un mythe. “Tangier is similar to the languages that he speaks,” adds Tafersiti. “The arab, berber, Spanish and French: each one of its neighborhoods embodies a, tells of an era”.
“Tangiers is to Morocco as New York to the United States: there are impulse creative, the spirit of tolerance,” explains Philippe Chaslot. He and Jean-Olivier Arfeuillèr, journalists and publishers in Lyon, are the owners of the riad Dar Nour. Hidden in the alleys of the Kasbah, is on three floors between niches, reading lounges, stylish rooms. Out of the city, behold, the hills covered with palm trees, houses with garden, transformed into restaurants or in the hotel dream. Villa Joséphine is a beautiful colonial house with décor English built by Walter Burton Harris (1866-1933), a correspondent for the british newspaper The Times. The restaurant serves dishes from the French influence, while the library invites you to sit down on the sofa with a sherry and a notebook to jot down thoughts. From there in a few minutes you can reach Cap Spartel, a promontory guarded by an old lighthouse. It is the extreme point of the continent, where the view stretches out towards the horizon. On clear days, Spain is so close that it almost seems to be able to touch it. The sea divides Africa and Europe: the combines.
For information and details: visitmorocco.com