Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Morocco: Tour of Medina (Fez), part 3


The tour continues. We spent a good deal of the day touring the medina, so we got to see so much. Some of the attractions were not accessible, you can only peek from outside, like the University of A Karaouine, which is considered by the Guinness Book of World Records as well as by UNESCO as the oldest continuously-operating, degree-granting university in the world.

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Others I don't even know what they are, probably mosques, because we can only look from the open doors.

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The doors are simply magnificent.

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A private residence. I wish I could go inside and see all the tilework.

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Another angle.

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Then we passed by an incredibly ornate door with a crowd in front of it; I was only able to photograph a little detail.

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Sunday, July 16, 2017

Morocco: Tour of Medina (Fez), part 2

ATTARINE MEDERSA


One of the highlights of the medina tour for me is the visit to Attarine Medersa. A medersa or madrasa is a school for Islamic studies. This is going to some sort of photographic post, because no amount of description would fit the exquisite beauty of this place.

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The Medersa el-Attarine, in keeping with other Marinid madrasas of Fez, is richly decorated, with the focus being on the rectangular arcaded courtyard. Leading from the courtyard, the entry wall of the prayer room of Medersa el-Attarine has superlative examples of skilful tile cutting. A master tile cutter has cut out the word “Allah” in calligraphic script from a green tile less than two centimeters across and inlaid it in a white tile, with the curving edges of the word and the background fitting perfectly together. Using this work of art as the center, a pattern expands to cover the entire wall. (source)

Fortunately we were the only tour group at the medersa that time. I don't know if that is by design that only one tour group at a time goes in or we just got there really early, but it whatever it was, I was incredibly thankful for.

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A specialized technique of tile cutting called “taqshir” or “peeled work” is beautifully displayed at Medersa el-Attarine. This technique involves scraping off the tile glaze in order to leave behind a shiny pattern. This technique is most often used on black glaze with the exposed terracotta base of the tile being allowed to weather naturally, contrasting with the glaze even more beautifully as time goes by.

Apart from the magnificent tile work displayed at Medersa el-Attarine, intricate carved stucco adorns the walls and carved and painted wooden arches frame the doorways with marble columns in strategic places. The courtyard of a medersa is the most public and most decorated area, with the accommodation for the students being almost ascetic in comparison.
(source)

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The prayer room is just off the courtyard.

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If you are like me and adore tiles and tilework, put this in your itinerary when you come to Fez. If you get a guide, I'm sure you'd be taken here. This is a source of pride for Fez.

OUR WORLD TUESDAY

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Ten of My Favorite Moments

Buoyed by the warm reception by fellow Flick'r mates on two of my recent photos, the desire to revisit old photographs gained momentum, so much so that this post is about sharing my favorite memories preserved in megapixels with all of you.

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2014 from Lisbon, Portugal. I returned here in April 2017 and brought friends to see this charming city.

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2014 Venice. A sunset scene was a total surprise because it was the last thing I expected to enjoy while in Venice.

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2015 Hume Lake, California. This scene gave my soul a little rest and comfort; hours earlier, I lost my niece to cancer.

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2013 Point Reyes, California. A perennial day trip destination; this was the first and only time (so far) that we found this old boat. I still remember the my happiness when I saw this boat. It was bugging the heck out of me that every one that goes to Pt. Reyes had been posting about it. I couldn't fathom how in the world that I go regularly and I didn't see it. Until that day.

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2013 Cancun. Sunset reflections. Was in Cancun for medical purpose and was relaxing in the balcony watching this scene. A therapeutic moment.

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2014 Pt Pinole Regional Shoreline. Another local favorite go to place when the soul is weary of daily living.

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2012 Cox Bazar, Bangladesh. Twilight moments are precious moments.

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2014 Zion NP. Zion knocked my socks off!

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2009 Malta. Arriving in Malta via a cruise ship. The view from the grand harbor as the boat inches its way into the port has got to be the very best scene I have ever witnessed. Jaw-droppingly gorgeous.

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2014 Valley of Fire SP Nevada. Again and again I have proclaimed this place as one of my favorite places in the world.

I found more than ten moments in my life (travels or otherwise) that I cherish. I reserve the right to do a sequel *grin*.

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Sunday, July 09, 2017

Morocco: Tour of the Medina (Fez), part 1

Day 5 was a full day in Fez. It was a free day; although there was an optional full day tour of Fes. And guess what, the entire tour group signed up for this optional tour. It was the best decision. You have seen how packed the medina was when I posted the overview of the city in earlier post. If I did not sign up for this tour, I would not know how to begin. Too many circuitous narrow alleys that would spell trouble for a first-timer. I don't suggest a DIY tour of medina to anyone; just get a guide. The place is too big, too cramped, too many ins and outs and alleys that will make your head spin.

We began the tour early in the morning after breakfast. Upon boarding the bus, we were introduced to our local guide, whose name I can't remember, but was such a wonderful guide. He was full of knowledge, and he doled out tidbits with a side of sense of humor. Unfortunately for me, my brain was unable to retain everything, and you will see why.

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Just like yesterday's arrival to Fez, local guide also took us to the bluff for an overview of the medina that we were about to explore.

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The medina has several gates.

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We did not enter the medina through any of the gates I showed above. We were dropped off in what looked like the back where we did not enter any arched gate, but entered through a narrow alley like this one.

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Then we crossed a canal, lovingly called the Venice of Fez. The guide must be joking.

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This nonagenarian is a local celebrity. Apparently he's featured in a website or the pamphlet. I cannot find that feature, but I know that he's one of the most photographed in medina.

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We did a lot of photography; every which way you look there's something interesting and photo worthy.

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We stopped at many spots where artisans and local artists practice their art. Some of us were engrossed in this store that sells brass lamps. The lamps are big/large that it was impossible to carry these back home.

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**to be continued**

OUR WORLD TUESDAY