One of the interesting things about visiting an unfamiliar country is the interesting – and unusual – sights one can see. Of course, the scenery is usually quite strange to what one is used to, as is the architecture and in places like Morocco, the clothing locals are wearing.
Something that fascinates me – not sure why – is the differing modes of transport. In crowded, busy cities like Fes in Morocco, walking is by far the most common mode of moving people, especially in the narrow lanes and streets in the medinas. Motor bikes are also in large numbers everywhere, even in the narrowest of lane ways.Pedestrians beware!
Today I feature two photos of transport. Above is a delivery van with a huge load on the pack rack on top of the van. I didn’t check up close, but I hope that either the rack is VERY strong, or the load is VERY light. The inside of the van is also stuffed full of something.
The photo below was taken quite near to the one above. It shows another van loaded up with pipes (or something like pipes) on top, as well as a converted cart being towed by either a horse or a motor bike, and for good measure, a donkey transporting a man. All these contrasting modes of transport are quite common in Morocco and go to make the visit so much more interesting.
Despite our short visit to Meknes in Morocco, we managed to cover quite a range of highlights. While the day was full-on, and we covered many of the main features of te city, I didn’t feel rushed at any time.
One of the intriguing tourist attractions in Morocco I’ve shown in the photo above. In many places we saw horse-drawn carriages. Hiring one of these for a tour is an excellent way of experiencing the city, but is seemed to me to be quite incongruous; not the sort of thing I expected there. On the other hand, we also saw many in the various Spanish cities we visited later on our tour. They appeared to be quite appropriate given the nature of Spanish culture, despite the fact that the two countries are neighbours with just a narrow strip of water between them.
The photo below shows a wool market in the heart of the city.
Yesterday I wrote about the Royal Stables in Meknes. Today I show several more photos taken during our visit. On our visit to Morocco we visited six of the nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites. While these stables are not separately listed, they do make up an important part of the historic city of Meknes with the whole city being on the list.
Below is a water wheel inside the stables. This was part of the extensive water supply system used throughout the stables and adjacent granaries.
Read more about the stables here.
The Royal Stables in Meknes are one of the more impressive buildings we visited during our visit to Morocco. They were built during the rule of Moulay Ismail (born 1645 and lived until 1727). He was a ruthless leader and he had a great love of horses. This impressive building is all the more remarkable when you realise the size of it, the engineering feat accomplished to build and maintain it and what it achieved.
The stables housed no less than twelve thousand horses and their attendants, a groom and a slave for each one. The horses were treated far better than their carers. To build such a facility was amazing, but the story doesn’t end there. Huge granaries (see next photo) were also constructed to store the grain to feed the horses. Feeding so many horses would have been difficult enough, but the stores held a twenty year supply of grain. Thick walls were constructed and a forest was planted on the roof, all in order to keep the grain cool.
You can see more photos of these stables tomorrow, and also read about them on the Morocco.com website (click here).
While out shopping in suburban Addis Ababa during our visit there last December I took this photo of a horse and cart trundling along in the streets. Now my readers may wonder why I did that; what’s unusual about a horse and cart.
In all the time we were in Ethiopia I can recall only seeing two horses even though we travelled in some of the rural areas. It is very common to see donkeys in the rural areas of course, but they are also very common in the city. On almost every drive through the city we saw a few donkeys. On some occasions we saw many donkeys – but only the one horse in the city and one other in the country.