Sunday, July 23, 2017

Morocco: Tour of Medina (Fez) , part 4

We have seen so much already in this outing to the medina and we’re not halfway done yet. I wondered how much more our senses could take with all the stimulations it was getting.

Not far from Attarine Medersa is the Nejjarine Museum of Wood and Crafts. The building consists of three floors. It was once upon a time a funduq (hotel) or a caravanserai (roadside inn for travelers) where traveling merchants stored and sold their goods below and took lodgings on the floors above.

It is a beautiful building with a spacious covered courtyard. The rooms have been converted to showrooms showcasing traditional artifacts, tools, and exquisite wood carvings, furnitures, clocks, etc. Signs of no photography were posted and law-abiding citizen me followed. I am pinching myself because the displays were really intricate and as I’ve gotten to know, very typical Moroccan craftsmanship. However, the building alone is enough make one happy.

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(me taking a little break)

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Another item in our itinerary is the Nejjarine Fountain, which I completely did not pay attention to during the tour. When I went back to look at the photos I took, it was only this one that surfaced. Probably one of those times when there's a big crowd and little old me couldn't get a good shot. By the way, I don't know the significance of this fountain.


In this tour we have made stops at different shops featuring local artisans in their crafts.

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Next to the woodcarvers shop is a shop specializing in furnitures used for weddings.

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Guy sharpening knives.

These guys were in the process of making cooking vessel.

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The pot.

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The handle for the lid.

A tip: Do not photograph anyone without asking for permission. These guys are okay to photograph and we were given the green light to do so because they are part of the tour. Otherwise, always ask for permission first and accept a NO answer.


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.



The doors are simply magnificent.

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

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


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.

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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.


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.

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.

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.

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

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.

2014 Zion NP. Zion knocked my socks off!

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.

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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