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Morocco is a unique country. Located at the junction of Islamic and European cultures, inhabited by ancient Arab and Berber tribes, lying on the border of the largest desert in the world and the greenest mountains of Africa, this rather small area can boast of a wide variety of sights and landmarks. Wonderful beaches of the Atlantic coast and rocky cliffs of the Mediterranean coast, the snow of the High Atlas surrounded by cedar forests and evergreen oak forests, picturesque gorges of mountain rivers, numerous cultural monuments, centuries-old traditions of local people, as well as magnificent souvenirs of local masters.
Marrakech is Morocco’s most vivid and dramatic city, and the country’s cosmopolitan center, nurtured under multiple influences, notably Berber cultures, Andalusian Arabs, Africans and Europeans. Its vibrant and exotic light, the intoxicating aroma of spices, the hidden secrets of its history, its relaxed and cosmopolitan soul, simple and abundant, covert and sensual, make Marrakech the most fascinating and sought-after city and one of the most famous landmarks in Morocco.
Marrakech offers a combination of gastronomic delights of exotic spices, refreshing music, ethnic eccentricity trade, opulent gardens and amazing architecture.
There is no other city in Africa where one can navigate a hundred-year-old mercantile medina, crossing oblique alleys, through donkey-laden burrows, then into a modern lounge-restaurant, and where the ubiquitous buzz of foreign markets intertwine with the sound of music of the most modern DJs.
One of the landmarks here is the Koutoubija Mosque from the 12th Century. With the 69 meter high minaret, it is one of the oldest mosques in Morocco. The mosque is 90 meters wide and 60 meters long. Other places of interest include the Madrasa Ibn Yussef, the Saadian Tombs, the ruins of the Badi Palace, the Royal and Bahia Palaces, the Menara Gardens, the Majorelle Garden, and the Djemâa el Fna, the most famous square Africa. The old town was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985 together with the Agdal Gardens and the Menara Gardens.
Classified throughout its heritage as UNESCO heritage due to its winding Medina, countless monuments and unique culture, this city was described by Paul Bowles as “an enchanted labyrinth protected from time “.
The Medina of Fes makes the city one of the most world known landmarks, the largest medieval Medina of the Maghreb, retaining its original design since the 12th century. This city, full of memories of a civilization that once stood for tolerance and commerce, is historically a pole of knowledge in North Africa.
Fes is composed of lush gardens, formerly irrigated by the “20 thousand fountains”, palaces in detail ornamented, with mosques and Madrasa of faustous but fine decoration and by mysterious alleys. The whole city is sublime and dreamlike, in which different generations cross to share their history full of heroism, and unique atmosphere, in what is also nicknamed “the most imperial of imperial cities.”
Only in this small town can the eyes rest from the traditional variegation of Moroccan houses. The blue city of Chefchaouen is a unique place located on the slopes of the Rif Mountains. It simultaneously resembles a European city and a quiet hamlet, with the old buildings that are painted in all sorts of heavenly shades.
The history of painting houses dates back to the 15th century, when Jews arrived in Morocco. Chefchaouen became a place where the Jewish community found its refuge from persecution. In the city they did not stay long, but during this time they managed to leave a memory of themselves, repainting the buildings in blue, sacred to them, the color. The Jews moved out, and the tradition took root, making Chefchaouen a recognizable town.
Chefchaouen’s well-preserved medina with its winding streets is a jewel among the Andalusian Arab cities of northern Morocco. From the street to the east of the old town and the hill to be climbed by a path, to see the city in all its glory it is necessary to climb the Rif mountain, to see the color transiting from blue to turquoise.
Essaouira is located on the south Moroccan Atlantic coast and with its completely preserved medina and impressive fortifications it is one of the most beautiful places by the Atlantic Ocean.
Essaouira has European, Jewish and Moroccan features. In the 18th century Essaouira became an important port, and its Medina is designed according to the urban planning principles of European military architecture. This unique character and the preservation of the fortifications and old ramparts, where still can be seen the original Portuguese artillery pieces, as well as the primordial church built there, have earned Essaouira the UNESCO World Heritage award.
Main commercial sectors of the city are fishing and tourism. It famous for its cuisine based on fish and argan, for its temperate climate, extensive beaches and as a musical and artistic center.
Merzouga is a Berber village near the border of the desert, which sometimes comes to be invaded by the sands of the desert.
The desert near Merzouga is famous for its high dunes, traditional Berber camps where only camels and 4 × 4 vehicles arrive with ease. Several activities can be done in the desert of Merzouga, such as sandboard, motorcycle rides through the dunes, therapeutic sand baths, among others.
Near Merzouga there are other small villages, although they are not of easy access as is Merzouga. Among them are the villages of Hassilabied, 4km away, Tanamoust, 3km away, Takoujt 1.5km away and Khamlia, 7km away as well as the populations of Ouzina at 15km away and Ramlia 40km away, where it is possible to contact Berbers who still make even today a nomadic life away from the usual tourist sights.
Located at the foot of the High Atlas, the Ksar Ait Benhaddou is a UNESCO heritage fortress and the most important point on the route of the “Thousand Kasbahs”, a collection of fortifications formerly used to protect caravans on their route between the desert and Marrakech.
Its architecture is a representative example of the architectural style of the northern Saharan zone, , using as a building material the earth adobe mixed with clay intertwined with bits of straw.
With the construction of the new road Marrakech / Ouarzazate, which makes a large arc around Aït Benhaddou, the area lost its importance. Many residents have since left the village. The most impressive Ksar of Morocco has been the backdrop for historical films in recent decades. For the movie “Jesus of Nazareth” a large part of Aït Benhaddou was rebuilt. Aït Benhaddou became known for his inclusion in the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1987 and as a film set gor films, such as “Gladiator”, “Prince of Persia” and more recently in the series “War of Thrones”.
In the south of Morocco, at the gateway to the desert, the Ziz valley has been for years the fertile heart of Morocco and one of the sites that allowed the country to supply agricultural products.
The diversity of the landscapes, the ethnic diversity, the exceptional light, the Leafy and delicate nature, gross and harmonious make this place one of the most charming of Morocco.
The existence of an oasis of the size of the Ziz valley is only permitted due to the existence of abundant water in the subsoil. In antiquity, Ziz was designated not only a valley but also a river that began in the atlas and sank to the sands of the desert.
Going through this valley is an adventure and palm groves a labyrinth. Enjoy the hospitality of the Berber people of this oasis and enjoy discovering their culture. The superb scenery found in this palmeriae lends a décor to your trip.
Finally, indulge in the royal dates, unique in the world for their size, juicy like no other in the world, and the greatest wealth of the valley, with about forty nine of different varieties.
Only a few kilometers north of Boumalne begins the Dades Gorge. At the entrance of the gorge are the two Ksour Aït Youl and Aït Arbi. Tourists can expect a magnificent mountain landscape here.
The entire Dades Valley in the immediate vicinity of the fabulous city of Kelâa M’Gouna is extremely popular due to the wild roses, which envelop the entire region in a magical fragrance.
Without a doubt, the rose is very important in the Moroccan culture and is especially revered at this time. It has always been a symbol of hospitality and cleanliness in Morocco, with which, among other things, sweets are refined and cosmetic products of all kinds are produced.
After Aït Oudinar the road leads through the narrowest and most impressive section of the gorge, where the mountain walls rise steeply. After another 30 km, shortly after the market town of Msemrir, the track splits. One leads to Imilchil, where every year in September the well-known marriage market takes place, the other to the Todra Gorge.
These imposing rock formations have been sculpted over the millennia by the small rapid water courses running through here. Here various activities can be performed, such as horseback riding, climbing, donkey riding, hiking, among others. The Todra Gorges are among the most reputed ravines in the world. Sunlight sailing between these cliffs creates a magical and welcoming atmosphere, ideal for those in love with photography.
Located at 1,250 m altitude in the Middle Atlas, Azrou has become a popular holiday and spa resort in recent decades. Skiing is possible at a snowfall limit of 1,500 meters in winter.
Mythological fountain of ancient times, the Cedar Forest of Azrou, the mysterious and collapsing cedar forest is a habitat of several species of animals and plants, with particular emphasis on the community of monkeys that inhabit and interact with humans (Beware, they steal food).
Between the Atlas and Rif mountain, the cedar forest is made up of several hundred-year-old trees, some of them almost 400 years old. Its soil is fertile due to the presence of minerals of a volcano, however extinct that existed in this region. Azrou was also an important strategic military point to control the Atlas mountain range in colonial times.
• Al Hoceima National Park, located on the Mediterranean coast, near the city of Achosima (d’AHoceima), stretches over 300 km². Plains here are replaced by rocky mountains. On the expanses of the park you can meet a large number of seabirds who have chosen this place.
• Ifran National Park(d’Ifrane) is located in the heart of the middle Atlas mountains. The province of Ifran glistens with a variety of landscapes, lakes and rivers. The natural riches of this area make it a tourist paradise, especially for hiking and fishing. A bright representative of the beauty of the Middle Atlas Mountains, the Ifran National Park extends more than 500 km², in which the largest cedar forest of Morocco is located.
• Sous Massa National Park (Sous Massa) located a few dozen kilometers from Agadir. Created in 1991 on more than 300 km² is famous for its variety of flora and fauna. There are more than 200 species of birds, as well as a large number of reptiles, mammals and butterflies. The park is famous for the world’s largest colony of bald ibises.
• Tazekka National Park(Tazekka) is located in the northern part of the Middle Atlas Mountains, near the city of Taza (Taza). The park covers an area of 120 km². On the territory of the park there are picturesque waterfalls, grottoes and cliffs – for lovers of beautiful landscapes. Over the park Tazekka rises the rock Jbel Tazekka in height in 1980 meters, the top of which is overgrown with a small cedar forest, lined in the form of a crown. From the top of the mountain offers a beautiful view of the plain and the neighboring mountains.
• Toubkal National Park, established in 1942, is only 70 km from Marrakech, in the heart of the High Atlas. You can admire the highest and most beautiful peaks of North Africa (Tubkal – 4167 m above sea level).
Siroco Tours is property of the moroccan company "SOCIÉTE OCORIS TOURS" , S.A.R.L.
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Nº 31 Derb Ben Salem Talaa Kbira, Medina Fes, Fes - Morocco
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