Travels to Morocco Part VI: Marrakech, ‘Africa’s Capital of Culture’

Published in Dawn’s Prism on January 22 2020

As our train proceeded from Fez to Marrakech, the pink city, I wondered what Jama al-Fina, the square in Marrakech’s old medina, would be like. Just before our journey, I had discovered a novel by a Moroccan writer Youssef Fadel, A beautiful white cat walks with me — a compelling, eerie and grim story of Sanawat-ar-Rusas (the years of lead), the reign of King Hasan II (1960s to 1980s) marked by political repression and violence. A masterpiece, this novel is a story of those years told by a father-and-son duo. A king’s private jester at the royal court, the father had begun his career as a story-teller at Jama al-Fina.

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Travels to Morocco Part V: Exploring History in Fez

Published in Dawn’s Prism on 22 January 2020

After a six-hour journey from Shahfshawan, we got down at the bus station in Fez, the highlight of our journey, wherein lies the oldest Islamic metropolis, that has retained its character and structure through the centuries.

We took a taxi to reach Riad al-Tayyur, or ‘House of Birds’, in Fez al-Bali, the old medina. At the small square outside Derb al-Miter, one of the many entrances to the medina, a man from the guesthouse was waiting to guide us through the alleyway.

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Travels to Morocco Part IV: Tétouan, City of Artisans

Published in Dawn’s Prism on January 22 2020

The next day we decided to visit the nearby city Tétouan. I was keen to visit Tétouan as I was told by several shop keepers in Shafshawan that Tétouan is known as a city of artisans and artists and many art galleries and craft shops in Shafshawan are owned by Tétouanis. Also, the city has the only fine arts university in Morocco, the National Institute of Fine Arts Tétouan. Unfortunately, it was closed the day we visited. We took pictures of students’ art projects placed in the verandah and the garden.

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