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                                                                                          Ibn battuta 

At a time when there was no modern transportation, no communication facilities, no accurate maps of the geography of the world, scarce knowledge of other peoples and cultures, ample risks and hurdles, some people ventured and set out for the discovery of far off places leaving marvelous travel accounts that only attest to their exceptional spirits. One of those people is certainly Morocco’s famous medieval traveler Ibn Battuta.

Abu Abdallah Muhammad Ibn Abdallah Ibn Muhammad Ibn Ibrahim al-Lawait [an Amazigh group berbers] Ibn Battuta al-Tanji (“of Tangier”) was born in Tangier on February 24, 1304. His well-to-do Amazigh family provided him with the means to have education in the religious sciences in general and the Maliki law in particular. In June 1325, at the age of 22, Ibn Battuta resolved to leave his birthplace for the pilgrimage Hajj, “part from those dearest to me, female and male, and take leave of my home just like birds fly from their nests.”[1]

Probably, on his way to Mecca to fulfill the fifth pillar of Islam, Ibn Battuta never thought that this journey will inspire him to be the first traveler in the medieval times; a traveler whose journey spanned over thirty years and covered three times the distance of his European contemporary traveler Marco Polo (1254-1324). Much of Ibn Battuta’s life and travels are recorded in his famous book Rihla (journey) –a work greater in volume than that of Marco Polo – which he dictated to the author of works on poetry, Islamic law and theology, Muhammed Ibn Juzayy. The later was appointed as Ibn Battuta’s collaborator by the exalted command of the Sultan of Morocco Abou Inan Faris (1348-58).

A shrewd and careful observer, Ibn Battuta recounts his travels from West Africa to China and tells of the marvels of the places he set foot in. Sometimes, he received patronage from famous kings and Sultans, and occasionally he got employed by local rulers; he served as a qadi (judge) in Delhi and in the Maldives. During his travels, Ibn Battuta endured immense troubles; he was robbed many times, captured by bandits, attacked by pirates, shipwrecked, and often fell gravely ill, but eventually managed to establish his reputation as the world’s famous medieval traveler.

Miles and miles away from his home country, he always grew homesick, but his mission was stronger than the feeling inside him. He writes: “the memory of my homeland moved me, affection for my people and friends, and love for my country which for me is better than all others.”[2] His strong allegiance to Morocco, Islam and the Maliki law are very legible in his accounts. In the Rihla he recounts a small incident when he met a man who looked familiar like a Moroccan in China. When he asked him, he discovered that the man was from Ceuta (a city very close to Tangier) at which points he greeted him anew and embraced him and wept together. This simple act reflects Ibn Batuta’sv sense of “home” and his powerful ties to Tangier and Morocco. In all the places he visited, Ibn Battuta identified himself as Maghribi and was often know by others as al-Maghribi (the Moroccan).

Certainly, Ibn Battuta’s life experiences and bulky book can by no means be summarized in this short article. He talked prodigiously about distant cultures and people; he described the wonders of the pyramids and the marvels of Alexandria, depicted his travels in Al-Andalus, talked about the wondrous lifestyle of the Sawakin (in Sudan), gave detailed accounts of the people and practices of the Maldives islands, extolled the benefits of the coconuts, reflected on the reign of the Indian Muslim Sultan Muhammed Ibn Tughluq etc. Ibn Battuta retired to Morocco in 1354 to stay for good and worked as a judge until his death in either 1368 or 1369, after attaining what no other person had attained as he writes:

I have indeed –praise be to God – attained my desire in this world which was to travel through the earth, and have attained in this respect what no other person has attained to my knowledge. The world to come remains, but my hope is strong in the mercy and clemency of God, and the attainment of my desire to enter the Garden of Paradise.[3]

For further readings:

–          David Waines, The Odyssey of Ibn Battuta: Uncommon Tales of a Medieval Adventurer

–          Roxanne L. Euben, Journey to the other Shore: Muslim and Western Travelers in Search of Knowledge

–          Juan E. Campo, Encyclopedia of Islam

    Essaouira

 

Essaouira الصويرة‎‎ '  Berber: Mugadur ' formerly known as Mogador, is a city in the western Moroccan economic region of Marrakesh-Safi, on the Atlantic coast. The modern name means "the little rampart", a reference to the fortress walls that still enclose part of the city.
Le Festival Gnaoua et Musiques du monde est un festival musical qui se tient au début de chaque été dans la ville marocaine d'Essaouira

   Merzouga

 

Merzouga is a village in the Sahara berber Desert in Morocco, on the edge of Erg Chebbi, a 50km long and 5km wide set of sand dunes that reach up to 350m high.
So goes the legend of the dunes rising majestically above the twin villages of Merzouga and Hassi Labied, which for many travellers fulfill 

  Ait-Benhaddou

 

Located 30 km from Ouarzazate coming from Marrakech, the village of Aït-Benhaddou offers an impressive spectacle of rocky strata. It is one of the best preserved ksar of all the Moroccan South, inscribed on Unesco world heritage in 1987. A maze of alleys and open passages entangle the fragile earthen houses. The place was used to shoot several films like Asterix and Obelix: Mission Cleopatra, Lawrence of Arabia, Gladiator

   Marrakeche

 

The wonderfully exotic Moroccan city of Marrakech offers so much as a short holiday destination, from reliable year-round temperatures (ideal from mid February to end April) and mouth-watering local cuisine to fascinating historic sites Folklore in Jamalfna  and other landmarks, 
Not least, Marrakech is also renowned for the limitless varieties of locally hand-crafted products and souvenirs on sale in its vast network of souks.

Morocco argan

Argan oil is a plant oil produced from the kernels of the argan tree (Argania spinosa L.) that is endemic to Morocco. In Morocco, argan oil is used to dip bread in at breakfast or to drizzle on couscous or pasta. It is also used for cosmetic purposes
The next stage involves cracking the argan nut to obtain the argan kernels. Attempts to mechanize this process have been unsuccessful, so workers still do it by hand, making it a time-consuming, labour-intensive process. Berber women often engage in this arduous task.
Workers gently roast kernels they will use to make culinary argan oil. After the argan kernels cool, workers grind and press them. The brown-coloured mash expels pure, unfiltered argan oil. Finally, they decant unfiltered argan oil into vessels. The remaining press cake is protein-rich and frequently used as cattle feed.
Cosmetic argan oil is produced almost identically, though the argan kernels are not roasted to avoid an excessively nutty scent.

Chefchaouen

Chefchaouen or Chaouen is a city in northwest Morocco. It is the chief town of the province of the same name, and is noted for its buildings in shades of blue.

Elevation‎: ‎564 m (1,850 ft)

Country‎: ‎Morocco

Founded‎: ‎1471

    Zagora

It is flanked by the mountain Zagora from which the town got its name. Originally it was called 'Tazagourt' (ⵜⴰⵣⴰⴳⵓⵔⵜ) the singular of plural 'Tizigirt' (ⵜⵉⵣⵉⴳⵉⵔⵜ), Berber for 'twinpeaks', referring to the fortress of the Murabitun, or Almoravid. In old European maps the mountain Zagora is already indicated but the town itself was only built in the 20th century.  The exact location of the former Almoravid mosque is still a matter of dispute. Each year the moussem (festival) of the Sufi saint moulay Abdelkader Jilali is celebrated at Zagora. Languages spoken in the city include Moroccan Arabic, Tachelhit and Tamazight. A well-known sign at the town border states "Tombouctou 52 days", the supposed time it takes to get to Timbuktu, Mali on foot or camel.

       Fes

IThe city of Fez (often spelled: Fès) in Morocco is a medieval world treasure. Fez is roughly divided into three parts: Fez El Bali (the “old part of the medina”), Fez Jdid (the “new part of the medina”) and the New City (or Ville Nouvelle).,.. As you walk through this medina, you are literally walking through 1,300 years of Moroccan heritage  and the recent influx of tourists.

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