Hassan II Mosque

The third largest mosque in the world is in Casablanca, Morocco. We had the chance to visit this beautiful religious building and tour inside. It’s massive and absolutely the most awe-inspiring place I have ever stepped foot in. Including outdoor spaces, over 100,000 people can pray here at once, and the prayer room has a roof that opens up to the sky. There are multiple washing stations and hammams in the building for everyone to cleanse themselves before prayer. These photos don’t capture the sheer size and majesty of this place, honestly. I can’t put into words how amazing going to this mosque was… the only mosques larger are in Mecca and Medina. It’s a sight.

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Magnificent Marrakech

After Fes, we took the bus to Marrakech, a lovely city (albeit very tourist-driven) in the middle of the country. It was a wonderful city with a large medina and amazing shops. We even visited an organization that takes care of disabled Moroccan women and gives them jobs and an income. Their website is here for those interested; they embroider and sew gorgeous clothing. While in Marrakech, I got to take a few photos with some Berber monkeys! They were in Jemaa el-Fnaa, the famous square that also hosted a large group of fruit stands, some snake charmers, and at night there were even contortionists.

We toured the city and visited an herbalist, where we learned about argan oil and other natural remedies made specifically in Morocco. It was neat to see them talk about everything and let us sample it. We also visited Bahia Palace and the Saadian Tombs, which were both gorgeous. Some others in my group went to a hammam, but I spent the day lounging in the hotel instead, listening in on the gossip of some French high schoolers on a school trip. I also went for a walk and got a little lost. That’s how I found a neat sculpture garden not far from our hotel.

Marrakech is where I finally was able to go to a Starbucks for normal sized coffee! It was difficult not being able to drink coffee at all hours of the day in the other cities, but somehow…. I managed.

The last night there, a small group of us watched Casablanca in honor of our next stop.

Fes.

The second city that we visited in Morocco was Fes (فاس). While it was definitely beautiful, Fes is probably my least favorite of the cities that we went to. There was a variety of things that unfortunately put it on the bottom of my list (getting sick, for example), but even with all of the negatives, Fes was still a wonderful experience! Being my least favorite thing in Morocco doesn’t really mean much, because it’s still one of the best places that I’ve ever gotten to experience.

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Rabat: A Review

An overly enthusiastic group of 25 US based college students arrived in Casablanca, Morocco this past Saturday night, immediately getting onto a bus that would take them to their home for the next week: Rabat. Morocco is a gorgeous country, and we spent the first week of it in their political capital learning about gender and sexuality within the Moroccan context (also, shopping.) I’ve had terrible wifi connection these past two weeks, and tonight marks my last in Africa. I spent the first week of this trip in Rabat, but this past week I was hopping place to place (Fes, Marrakesh, and Casablanca). Each city had so much history and beauty, I can’t possibly pack it all into one post.

Below the read more, I’ll be summarizing my favorite activities during my first Moroccan week in Rabat – with some pictures! (There will be more coming on Flickr and Facebook.)

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