Thursday, March 23, 2017

Enjoyable Meknes

From the desert, we took a whole day to travel back to "civilization," Meknes, 50km from the much more visited city of Fes. Soon after leaving Merzouga, the bus passed the Ziz Valley Oasis, the largest oasis in Morocco. The palmeraies looked particularly luxurious. I have a feeling that we didn't have a planned stop as it is not touted much by guidebooks because these people have plenty of water for agriculture. They don't really need tourists.

Our first full day in Meknes happened to be a Friday. Much of the medina remained closed all day, which we have not experienced the previous two Fridays, but which we came to be grateful for when Saturday brought out chockablock of shoppers and browsers that reduced the souks to virtually impassable. What will online shopping do to this traffic? Television has not brought the complete demise of storytellers and snake charmers here.

The major reason for basing ourselves in Meknes is the Roman archaeological site Volubilis. I cannot believe we completely missed it the last time we were in Fes. In addition to its size, the site has many dozens of mosaics in situ, though we feel really conflicted on this. As much as we enjoy seeing seeing mosaics in situ, we feel the sun burning them away by the minute.

Another highlight was the old royal stables and granary in Meknes. The fact that much of the roof is no longer standing may make the sight particularly impressive, even for Islamic architecture.

The Ziz Oasis as seen from the bus window - on a very windy day.
On the road from Merzouga to Meknes, Morocco

On the road from Merzouga to Meknes, Morocco

Bus Station in Er-Rich with resting porter.
On the road from Merzouga to Meknes, Morocco

Heading north (from bus window).
On the road from Merzouga to Meknes, Morocco

It's a gas station and a bus station.
On the road from Merzouga to Meknes, Morocco

Atlas Cedar (as we cross the Atlas Mountains south of Meknes).
On the road from Merzouga to Meknes, Morocco

More shots of the Atlas Mountains at about 7000 ft elevation.
On the road from Merzouga to Meknes, Morocco

Multitudes of grazing sheep and goats in the Atlas.
On the road from Merzouga to Meknes, Morocco

Sun-Ling looks out from our hotel room in a riad (tradional Moroccan house with an interior garden) in Meknes.
On the road from Merzouga to Meknes, Morocco

Me in a hotel common area.
Meknes, Morocco

Meknes, a former Imperial city has lots of gates and walls.
Meknes, Morocco

Meknes, Morocco

We especially liked the old Royal Stables, Granary, and stone-lined lake.
Meknes, Morocco

Meknes, Morocco

Meknes, Morocco

Meknes, Morocco

A walk in the not touristic northern section of the Meknes Medina.
Meknes, Morocco

Meknes, Morocco

Meknes, Morocco

Meknes, Morocco

Meknes, Morocco

Meknes, Morocco

Main Square in the medina.
Meknes, Morocco

Storyteller.
Meknes, Morocco

Walking home.
Meknes, Morocco

View from our riad rooftop.
On the road from Merzouga to Meknes, Morocco

On our second full day, we traveled to Moulay Idriss, another former Imperial town, and Volubilis, the ancient Roman town now archaeological site, a few kilometers to the west.

Market Day in Moulay Idriss.
Moulay Idriss, Morocco

And we visited shrine and tomb of Moulay Idriss II, which is not open to non-Muslims, but we could look at from the end of a long lane, and peer down from a panoramic viewpoint.
Moulay Idriss, Morocco

Moulay Idriss, Morocco

The Market House was pretty cool too and open to all.
Moulay Idriss, Morocco

The Roman city of Volubilis is just a 30 minute walk from Moulay Idriss. It's a great archaeological site with a new museum.

Walking to Volubilis among the olive and carob groves.
Volubilis, Morocco

Volubilis, Morocco

The new museum is signed in Arabic, French and English.
Volubilis, Morocco

Volubilis was city of olive presses, mansions, and mosaics, looking out over the wheatfields.
Volubilis, Morocco

Volubilis, Morocco

Volubilis, Morocco

Volubilis, Moroccoarch

Basilica.
Volubilis, Morocco

Temple.
Volubilis, Morocco

Arch.
Volubilis, Morocco

Peristyle House.
Volubilis, Morocco

Looking through the residential section.
Volubilis, Morocco

Volubilis, Morocco

The Labors of Hercules.
Volubilis, Morocco

The Camera Cinema in Meknes New City.
Camera Cinema - Meknes, Morocco

Maakouda (potato fritters) - our new fav street food.
Meknes, Morocco

Isalmic School.
Meknes, Morocco

Tiled columns.
Meknes, Morocco

Meknes, Morocco

Meknes, Morocco

We go shopping; me for a new travel notebook, Sun-Ling for soaps.
Meknes, Morocco

Meknes at night.
Meknes, Morocco

Old home, now a museum.
Museum - Meknes, Morocco

















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