21.09.2015 - 21.09.2015
Today we woke up early to visit the Hassan II Mosque. The mosque is the third biggest in the world, taking only 6 years
to build and costing over 60 million US dollars. We arrived early for our 9 o'clock tour so that we could photograph the building and all the
sleeping stray cats (Morocco is full of stray cats!!)
Inside, the Mosque is as grand as you'd expect. Full of Moroccan sourced wood and marble, and venetian glass chandeliers,
the interior is marble-lous...thankyou, Sam, for that ridiculous pun.
After the Mosuqe, we boarded a train to Meknes and then taxied to Moulay Idriss. Nestled between two mountains, Moulay Idriss is a
white-washed village of around 20,000 people. It's one of Morocco's most important pilgrimage sites due to it having the mausoleum of the first king of morocco, who was supposedly the fourth decendant. Only in 2005 were non-muslims pedmitted to stay overnight.
We stayed with a local family who lived in a large house converted into a raid. First on the agenda was a walk with the group through the mint green, grey and yellow alleyways. The village is full of stairs, donkeys and even more stray cats. We were shown around by a local guide, who painted a picture of village life and explained the intruiging local traditions. He told us how almost every Moroccan village must have one of each of the following buildings to survive:
-A bakery, where dough from each home is taken in the morning to be baked
-An Olive Press, as Moroccans eat and cook with it every day
-A Prayer Place
-A Public bath, used as much for socialising as it is for bathing. Men bathe in the morning and women in the afternoon.
Upon returning to the guest house, we were served a homemade four course feast of couscous, soup, bread, olives, fruit,
meatball tagine and traditional mint tea. Mint tea is everywhere in Morocco. It's made by boiling gun powder green tea, before adding handfuls of fresh mint. Moroccans generally drink it with plenty of sugar; however, if the green tea isn't too strong, i'ts fine without it.
Moulay Idriss is definitely one of the most intriguing and beautiful villages we've ever visited and we look forward to exploring Meknes tomorrow.