by Tsipi Inberg Ben-Haim
Just returned from Morocco as a guest of the Kingdom with a group from the Foreign Press Association.
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To describe in one word-AMAZING!
Many of us came with preconceived ideas. Reality exceeded our expectations by far.
Morocco is an African country known for its incredible history, architecture, and culture. But if you look inside these old, well-kept historical walls, you’ll find a modern, always-changing country full of new ideas.
Tangier’s clean streets and beautiful white-painted houses preserved the historic touches of the past with beautiful ornamented blue doors as we strolled through the city. A city with a colorful history.
Tangier is located in Northwestern Morocco, on the Strait of Gibraltar. It is one of the modern miracles of Morocco.
The development commenced about 20 years ago with borrowed funds, which turned out to be the best investment ever made by the management of the port.
Tangier has been a strategic gateway between Africa and Europe since Phoenician times.
Moroccans love to say – that they’re situated at the point where the Atlantic Ocean is kissed by the Mediterranean Sea, just across from Spain and Europe. Its whitewashed hillside medina, the city’s old town, and the historical center is home to the Dar el Makhzen, the palace of the sultans turned into a museum of Moroccan artifacts.
The American Legation Museum, also in medina, documents early diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Morocco.
It is worth seeing and getting an in-depth picture of where it’s all coming from, especially for history lovers.
Morocco is rising, not just in Africa but in the world.
What is the source of inspiration for this unprecedented ascendance in the past 15 years? No doubt in my mind it’s the human element! The recent surprise rise to the semi-finals in the world soccer cup proved once again not just the passionate love for their country but also organized and systematic training.
Morocco doesn’t have oil or natural minerals. They thrive on building up their resources based on people, innovation, and the constant urgent needs of their country and the world.
Recently with the Abraham Accords with Israel, development in almost every
field: agriculture, finance, innovation, aviation, and even security are moving forward quickly.
Morocco is rich in fascinating culture and traditions that have raised committed, caring, and colorful people.
They’re grateful with an appreciation for the leadership of their beloved king-Mohammed the VI. You can feel it on the street as you randomly meet people, including merchants that sell beautiful artifacts on the streets. There are numerous Jewish souvenirs, with the star of David shining everywhere. The people are very welcoming, creating an atmosphere of joy and constant discovery.
A recent interview with Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt, the Biden Administration’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism, reminded us of the Jewish and Moroccan people’s deep connection. When King Mohamad the Fifth was asked to hand over the Jewish people during the Holocaust, he refused, announcing, “The Jewish People are constants with ancient Moroccan history and an integral part of Moroccan society.” She added that the Abraham Accords brought in a surge of tourism from Israel and Jewish people around the world to the extent that they’re giving Hebrew courses to tour guides. The Habima Theatre is already performed in Morocco, and prominent Morocco-born people, such as Ambassador Yehuda Lancry or Marc Lasry, continue connecting with their birth country.
Of course, Morocco’s strategic location is beneficial in this development. The MED Port takes full advantage of this fact and rising fast to become one of the most reliable, convenient, high-quality, and affordable competitors by world standards.
It’s AMAZING! But I’m Not Surprised anymore! I saw the HUMAN ELEMENT! In action on the ground in Morocco. This is their biggest ASSET! The people are dedicated and committed to their Country and their King!
Women’s leadership is evident in many fields, like tourism or finance, where both ministers are women, and the head of the Human Rights Office is a woman.
Now, surprising the world with their ascending in World Soccer Cup Semi-Finals and getting the Arab world proud and excited about this new miracle, they reignited their hope to lead the entire African continent.
I asked people about their experience visiting Morocco:
“I did not come as a regular tourist. I went with a delegation of the American Jewish Committee as an official guest.
I loved the diversity of the people, the smells, and the beauty of the urban sights and nature. It felt cosmopolitan as well as indigenous, a mixture of cultures. I loved the local neighborhoods.
I want to go back!
Visiting Medina of Fes is a highlight of the trip for many tourists. Fes also was this year the host of the UN Alliance of Civilizations.
“I couldn’t stop strolling through the streets of this Medina as we discovered a multitude of artifacts that drew us in.”
A prominent member of the Chamber of commerce and industry, Yossef Dahan, born in Morocco ( who, by the way, gave a gift of 10,000 USD to each player of the Moroccan team and their coach), stated:
” We left Morocco, but Morocco never left us.”
Ambassador Yehuda Lancry said to a Moroccon friend: ” The Jewish people have been compelled to live in exile, dispersion, and persecution for 2000 years . We, Moroccan Jews, have been very lucky to cross this harsh epoch in the safe haven of Morocco .”
Marrakesh, the exotic city the favorite of most visitors. A very colorful and warm city with an enjoyable atmosphere with old houses. Like a tapestry of colors and cultures unveiled for all to dive in outside the old city’s walls. Inside the old city surrounded by walls. It is a very open market with a lot of space where you can buy silver and ceramic crafts, beautiful artifacts, and very colorful fabrics. Their Moroccon-style unique leather shoes are a must to take home.
At sunset, they fill the space with large tables and families come together to dine and enjoy the outdoors Tangine is on every table, together with their traditional tea glasses. A simple walkthrough of the many alleyways reveals a diversity of products that are divided by types each alleyway represents different products.
Casablanca is a unique mix of traditional Moroccan style and French Colonial architecture, filled with striking street art throughout the city. Walking the curving and surprising streets of Casablanca is an adventure in itself.
Perhaps, the modern Mosque in Casablanca, the largest Mosque in Africa and the seventh largest in the world, is a symbolic expression of Morocco today. It emphasizes artistic details of authentic Moroccan architecture, traditions, and cultures while highlighting its openness to technological innovations.
This magnificent wonder is a must to experience in person and can be the reason to travel to Morocco.
It can be seen as a kind of Taj Mahal of Morocco that king Hassan II built for his people.
-“I wish Casablanca to be endowed with a large, fine building of which it can be proud until the end of time … I want to build this Mosque on the water because God’s throne is on the water. Therefore, the faithful who go there to pray, to praise the creator on firm soil, can contemplate God’s sky and ocean.”
~ King Hassan II [reign 1961 to 1999]
It said the King asked every citizen to contribute as much as they wanted and could toward the building of the Masque. Each contributor received a certificate. The King commissioned French architect Michele Pinseau, inviting various Moroccan artisans to collaborate with him. The result is breathtaking! Therefore it is the Masque built for the people by the people.
Don’t be surprised if you go on photographing every part of this exotic, overwhelmingly beautiful Mosque. It is impossible to stop the urge to do so.
From the arches, circular floral patterns in zellige-mosaic tilework are made from individually hand-chiseled tile pieces. Islamic calligraphy is found in stucco work, painted cedar ceilings, and intricate muqarnas. These art forms are as old as Morocco’s history, showing up constantly in its monuments. Six thousand artisans handcrafted them over five years.
It is unique in its architecture and size. With its minaret that rises to 200 m in height and has a 30 km laser directed towards Mecca, it is considered to be the highest religious building in the world.
This building was inaugurated on the occasion of the celebration by the Muslim World of aid al-Mawlid 12 Rabi I 1414 AH, corresponding to August 30, 1993.
There’s a lot to discover and enjoy. Everyone can find their favorite place, from the Sahara desert to historic cities filled with art and architecture. It’s up to each to build their visit according to their budget and time of year. What I’m sure of is that everyone will return home with inspiring memories for a lifetime.
For more information, visit https://www.visitmorocco.com/en