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Morocco Pottery & Zellij Tile Design Tour - A 12 Day Moroccan Craft Journey
Twelve Day Morocco Pottery & Zellij Tile Design Tour
Duration: 9:00am – 6:00pm Daily
Morocco Travel: In Luxury 4x4
English, French Speaking Driver, Guide
Starting & Finishing Point: Casablanca – Marrakech
THE ART OF POTTERY & ZELLIJ DESIGN - MOROCCO TRIP HIGHLIGHTS
Visit Fes, UNESCO World Heritage Site's Pottery Cooperatives and Learn the Art of Morocco’s Pottery and Zellij
Tile Design from the Fassi Masters
Explore the Zagora region and partake in the Ancient Pottery tecnique of glazing Pottery with Henna
Immerse yourself in the Colourful Moroccan Souks - a Day of Shopping
Disocver a Weavers Cooperative and the Art of Moroccan Weaving
DAY 1: CASSABLANCA
▶ Pick up from Casablanca
airportand transport to your hotel where you will check in. Have breakfast at your hotel, relax and settle in for 2 hours. Begin your tour of the city at mid-day.
▶ Start your visit at the Hassan II Mosque, one of the largest mosques in the world that stands besides the sea and boasts stunning views along with breathtaking arches and zellij tiled walls, floors and fountains.
▶ Lunch at Casa’s port, the Cornichewith a wide open view of the Atlantic Ocean.
▶ After lunch visit the famous residential blocks: the Glaoui, the Bessonneau
andtheAsayag. TheBoulevardlinks Place des Nationes with the railway station and is the gateway to the central market. Next visit the squala, a fortiﬁed 18th century bastion. Visit the nearby shrine containing the tomb of SidiAllalel-Kairouant, Casa’s first patron saint and the Hassan Mosque.
▶End the day with a visit to The Parc de la Ligue Arabe (formally called Lyautey) which is the city's largest public park. On its edge is situated the Cathedrale du Sacré Coeur, which is disused, but is a splendid example of Mauresque architecture.
▶Return to your hotel to relax and have dinner.
▶Optional nightcap at Rick’s Cafe.
DAY 2: CASSABLANCA- FES
▶Breakfast at your hotel and early morning departure to Fes. Stop en route to have maloui and fresh Arabic Coffee.
▶Have lunch on the road to Fes.
▶Visit the Roman Ruins of Volubilis /Walili.
▶Arrive in Fes mid afternoon and check in at your riad in the old medina that is covered from floor to ceiling with old Fassis zellij tile. Rest for one-hour before a half-day tour of the medina.
Visit the Following Sites in Fes:
The workshop specializes in weaving the ﬁnest jellaba fabric, made of silk
and wool threads imported from Italy. The shop also makes a offers some of the best Moroccan gourmet food in Fes; a complete zellij tiled dining area and traditional music.
Berber Carpet Demonstration:
The Famous Exhibition of Antique and Modern Carpets is one of the places in Fès el Bali where you can see a Berber carpet demonstration. You will be offered mint tea and follow your guide up a coil of stairs to a small area to watch carpets being made by young girls who come from the mountains to show tourists how Berber carpets are made.
Shopping in the Medina: We will visit the baboosh souk where they sell beautiful hand made shoes, caftans, pottery, local Fassis crafts and fabric. If time allows we will then go to a local hammam, bathhouse before turning into your hotel to relax before dinner.
▶Return to your riad to freshen up and then venture to Palais de Medina for dinner. Palais de Medina is a palace restaurant that was built in 1356 and once inhabited by several families. Fully restored it now some of the best Moroccan gourmet food in Fes; a complete zellij tiled dining area inside and also a terrace along with traditional Moroccan music and belly dancing. Dinner will include an extravaganza of mezas (small plates of food) common among Fassis tradition. The mezas that are often brought to your table prior to the large mid-day meal will be several of these: Choukchouka salad, Zaalouk salad, Carrots with Cumin Seed, raisin and orange salad, Cold radish, orange, and Fennel Salad. The mezas are traditionally followed by the main meal, which will include the option of: Lamb, Prune, and Date Tajine, a Chicken Tagine with Olives and Preserved Lemons or a Vegetable Tajine. For desert you will be served with fruit/ or local Moroccan pastries along with Mint Tea.
DAY 3: FES
▶Begin your ﬁrst day at the zellijcooperativeworkshop. You will enjoy a workshop lead by zellij masters whereby you will learn how to make and paint the zellij unique to Fes. You will learn the history as well as their local techniques. An English translator will be provided along with materials for you to make your own pottery. Everything you make you will be able to keep. Spend the day learning the traditions of Fes zellij tile making.
▶ After the zellij workshop, have dinner and relax at your riad.
DAY 4: FES
▶Begin your day at the pottery cooperative workshop. Spend the day learning the traditions of Fes pottery making until early afternoon.
▶ After the pottery workshop, have dinner and relax at your riad.
▶Overnight at a Boutique Riad or Hotel in Fes.
DAY 5: FES GUIDED HISTORICAL TOUR
Begin your day with a panoramic view of Fes.Visit the following historical sites and places.
The 14th Century Palace Gates of the King - The Royal Palace in Fes is one of the oldest (14th Century) and largest in Morocco.
Jewish Mellah - The Mellah is a Jewish quarter located in the old cities of Morocco with a walled boundary. The Fes Mellah is also walled and it has a fortified gateway. These Jewish quarters are located near the royal residencies which enabled its inhabitants to be protected from the wrath of the Muslim populace. The Fes Mellah was once solely inhabited by Jews. This was the first "mellah" in Morocco and originated in 1438. In the early 14th century it was founded by the Merinids, beside Fes. In contrast with the young Mellah of Casablanca, the mellah of Fes is over 650 years old. This picturesque neighborhood adjoins the royal palace, noted for its recently constructed bright brass doors. Jews took shelter in this palace during the 1912 pogrom.
Ibn Danan Jewish Synagogue- Fes was once home to a flourishing Jewish community during the 17th century and was also the location of two well known temples. Rabbi Shlomo Ibn Danan Synagogue was built and founded by the Ibn Danan family, and the nearby Mansano Synagogue. The Ibn Danan synagogue has been added to the 1996 World Monuments Watch List and Fund.
Jewish Cemetery & Tomb of Solica -The cemetery contains the tombs of more Jewish saints than any other cemetery in Morocco. One of the more important saints is Lalla Solica, who was killed for refusing to convert to Islam. Solica was born in Tangier in 1817. At the age of 16, she was courted by a Muslim man, but refused to marry him. To force her hand, the man went to the caid, the local government official. The man told the caid that Solica could not refuse his offer of marriage because she was no longer Jewish, having converted to Islam of her own free will. When called before the caid, she refused to acknowledge having converted. The Sultan called her to Fes, where she again denied her conversion. As a result, she was condemned to death for apostasy and killed in 1834.
Walk through one of the oldest and most beautiful preserved Jewish streets in Morocco from the time of the inquisition. Then, enter the Bab Boujloud Gate (The Blue Gate of Fes) and walk to Palais M’nebhi.
The Bou Inania Medersa - The Madrasa Bou Inania is a madrasa founded in AD 1351–56 by Abu Inan Fais, who also founded the Madrasa Bou Inania in Meknes. It is widely acknowledged as a major example of Marinid architecture. "Bou Inania" comes from the first part of the sultan's name "Abou Inan". The madrasa functioned as both an educational institute and as a congregational mosque at the same time. It is the only madrasa in Fes which has a minaret. According to history, religious leaders of the Kairouine Mosque advised Abu Inan Faris to build this Madrasa. It was the last madrasa to be built by the Marinides. The Marinid dynasty or Benemerine dynasty was a Zenata Berber dynasty of Morocco. The madrasa became one of the most important religious places of Fes and Morocco, gaining the status of Grande Mosque. The madrasa was renovated in 18th century.
Pottery & Zellij Tile Cooperative- A cooperative where old techniques of how zellij and pottery is made. Option to participate in making zellij tile or pottery making. Great for shopping for a purchase of fabulous pottery, zellij tiled tables, zellij fountains and more.
Rcife - Enter the medina from a “bab” or region of the old medina, Fes el Bali known as Rcife which is the heart of manufacturing of all Fassis goods. Cross the local fruit and vegetable market where you will witness the stalls of local traders and people buying their daily goods.
Dyers souk of silk, wool and cotton- The dyers market, located along Rue de Teinturies, is the best place to see the dying vats which have been used for centuries to soak the skins of sheep, goat, cows and camels after they have their hair and flesh removed. You will see many tanned hides colored with natural pigments ranging from shades of brown, black, turquoise fuchsia, yellow and orange.
Seffraine Square- Place el-Seffarine - this kisseria is the most important center for the production Fasiss style ceramics, brass-ware and silverware in Morocco.
The Tannery - The Chourara or the Tanner’s Quarters is the most lively and picturesque souks in Fès. The Tanneries are often located near watercourses like the Wadi Fès and at a distance from residential areas due to the strongly unpleasant smells they produce. See the wide array of leather work, a tradition of Fes.
Weavers Cooperative - Visit the Weavers Cooperative located in a residential neighborhood off a main shopping street. The workshop specializes in weaving the ﬁnest jellaba fabric, made of silk and wool threads imported from Italy. The shop also makes a quality jellaba fabric from locally spun, textured wool thread called hubba -sometimes referred to as couscous, because it’s nubby texture resembles Morocco's national semolina dish of the same name.
Mausoleum - Zaouia Sidi Ahmed Tijani - The Zawiya of Sidi Ahmed al-Tijani contains the tomb of an 18th centry Sufi Shaykh, founder of the Tijaniyya order. The Zawiya presents a street facade highly ornamented with carved wood, stucco and glazed tile.
University of Kairouine - Founded in 859, this university is one of the leading spiritual and educational centers of the Muslim world and is considered the oldest continuously operating institution of higher learning in the world.
Mausolem - Zaouia Moulay Idriss - A zaouia (shrine) dedicated to and the tomb of Moulay Idriss II, who ruled Morocco from 807 to 828 and founded the city of Fès for the second time in 810.
Lunch at Restaurant Nejarine in Fes
Menu: Entrée: Varied Salads, Main Course: Tajine of Chicken With Preserved Lemon & Tajine of Beef With Prunes (Burcock), Desert: Seasoned Fruit.
Nejarine Square - This interesting square is dominated by the beautifully restored Nejjarine Wood Museum housed in an 18th-century funduq. There's also a superbly decorated wall fountain. Browse the shops before venturing into the carpenters' souk with its amazing array of glitzy wedding chairs.
Cross the carpenter area go through the Attarine street filled with scents of Fes such as spices, oils.
Shopping and exploration Carpet Shop, Scarves and local handicrafts- Antique and Modern Carpets is one of the places in Fès el Bali where you can see a Berber carpet demonstration. Retrun to R’Cife and depart the medina.
DAY 6: FES - IFRANE - AZRO - BENI MELLAL - MARRAKECH
▶Take the road to Marrakech via the Middle Atlas of Ifrane.
▶Arrive in Marrakech, check in at your hotel and visit Djema El Fna Square.
▶Dinner in Djema El Fna Square -Beneath the foothills of the Atlas Mountains in the city center of Marrakech lies Djemma el Fna, a famous UNESCO recognized city square, where you will discover a world of mysterious bazaars and a set amidst the ancient city walls of Marrakech’s medina. Djemma El Fna is a unique L- shaped square best described as a labyrinth of mazes. In the evening, snake charmers, fortunetellers, monkeys & musicians transform this city Center into a medieval circus.
▶Overnight at a Boutique Riad or Hotel in Marrakech.
DAY 7: MARRAKECH GUIDED HISTORICALTOUR
▶Begin the day with a visit of the Majorelle Garden
and the Museum of Islamic art.
The Majorelle Gardens- The Majorelle Garden is filled with colorfulwalkways, ponds, cactus and plants as well as a beautiful shop with hand-made goods.The Majorelle Gardens are a lush, garden estate designed by Jacque Majorelle and maintained by Yves Saint Laurent.
The Majorelle Garden
, previously the Jardin Bou Saf, bears its name from its original creator, Jacques Majorelle, the French expatriate artist who was born in Nancy France in 1886. Jacques Majorelle was the son of the celebrated Art Nouveau furniture designer Louis Majorelle. In 1947 he opened his gardens to the public and during this time also painted a magnificent ceiling space at La Mamounia, a five-star hotel with gardens and the place where Alfred Hitchcock wrote, “The Birds.” Jacques Majorelle studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Nancy in 1901 and later in 1919 he went to Marrakech, Morocco
to recover from heart problems. He built the garden during those years using special color of blue which he used extensively in the garden that is named after him, Majorelle Blue. Jacques Majorelle returned to France in 1962 after a car incident and died later that year of complications from his injuries. As a collector of unique plants from five continents Jacque Majorelle left to Saint Laurent one of the more unique collections of flore and fauna of this era as well as a place of inspiration and contemplation. Even though Morocco is no longer under the French protectorate, this originally French creation is one of the most beloved areas in Morocco.
After your visit on our way to the old medina, we will pass by the La Mammounia Hotel Garden where Alfred Hitchcock wrote the famous film The Birds and then onto El Bahia Palace.
Next we will visit 12th century Koutouba Mosque and its influential minaret along with the Mausoleum of Lalla Zohra. Lalla Zohra was a former slave whose mythology is that she turned into a dove at night and performed miracles.
The Koutoubia Mosque and Gardens
- The largest mosque in Marrakech
, Morocco. The minerat was completed under the reign of the Almohad Caliph Yaqub al- Mansur (1184-1199) and was used as the model for the Giarlda of Seville and for the Hassan Tower of Rabat
. The name is derived from the Arabic al-Koutoubiyyin
for librarian, since it used to be surrounded by sellers of manuscripts. It is considered the ultimate structure of its kind. The tower is 69 m (221 ft) in height and has a lateral length of 12.8 m (41 ft). Six rooms (one above the other) constitute the interior; leading around them is a ramp by way of which the muezzin could ride up to the balcony. It is built in a traditional Almohad style and the tower is adorned with four copper globes.
El Bahia Palace
- The El Bahia Palace in Marrakech
is a beautiful building and an excellent example of Eastern Architecture from the 19th century that represents trends and standards of the wealthy who lived at that time. It was built for Ahmed Ibn Moussa (or Ba Ahmed) between 1894 and 1900 in the Alawi style that was popular at the time. Craftsmen were brought from Fes to work on this monumental task which took approximately fifteen years to complete. It is said that the palace was built as a home for Ba Ahmed’s official concubines, and it has also been said that the importance or favor of each concubine increased along with the size of their bedroom. The name ‘Bahia’ means ‘palace of the beautiful.” There are 160 different rooms in the palace which are sprawled out in an open, rambling fashion. Decorations take the form of subtle stucco panels, zellij decorations, tiled floors, smooth arches, carved-cedar ceilings, shiny marble (tadlak) finishes and zouak painted ceilings. The palace is surrounded by an eight-hectare garden.
►Next visit the sixteenth century Saadian Tombs with its stark towers, the ruined 16th century El Badhi palace, and the Mellah and the Jewish quarter.
The Saadian Tombs
- The Saadian tombs in Marrakech
date back from the time of the sultan Ahmad al-Mansur (1578-1603). The tombs were only recently discovered (in 1917) and were restored by the Beaux-arts service. The tombs have, because of the beauty of their decoration, been a major attraction for visitors of Marrakech. The mausoleum comprises the corpses of about sixty members of the Saadi Dynasty that originated in the valley of the Draa River.
►Your guide will then help you navigate through the labyrinth like streets and alleys of Djemma El Fna Square.
Enjoy the aromatic streets
, taste the fresh squeeze orange juice
and venture into the souks
(shops) specializing in Berber carpets
, silver jewelry, artisan workshops,handmade shoes
, etc. Marrakech
is a city of underground channels
built by the architects from Cordoba, Spain to provide water for the town and Palmery.
►Enjoy a three- course lunch consisting of fresh salad, tajine and fruit at one of Marrakech most delectable restaurants.
The Jewish Mellah - Founded in 1558 by Moulay Abdallah, the Mellah district was designated as the Jewish quarter in Marrakech. At the time of the Spanish religious wars, Jewish refugees were escaping the country, and were offered this little piece of security by the Sultan.
The Old Spice Market- The Rahba Kedima is a colorful market filled with a wide array of spices from Cumin, Cinnamon, Saffron, Dried Pepper and more.
DAY 8: MARRAKECH - ZAGORA
▶Take the road to Zagora.
▶During your journey to Southern Morocco you will also
pass the olive groves of the Oued Zat, as you ascend onto the Tizi-N-Tichka Pass Road. Built by the French in the 1920’s, the Tizi-N-Tichka Pass can be described as having mountainous barriers, Mediterranean and oceanic
nuances and desert borders.
►Enroute we will visit the Argan Cooperative to see how argan oil, argan nut butter and cosmetics are made from the argan nut. Enjoy a tasting session.
▶For lunch we will stop in the village of Tadart where you will dine in a local restaurant with incredible views and enjoy a tajine made with fresh local olive oil.
▶Overnight at a Boutique Riad or Hotel in Zagora.
DAY 9: ZAGORA – N’KOB
▶Take a camel excursion across the Dunes of Tinfo. At the end of the main road you will ﬁnd the famous road sign to Timbuktu that reads “52 jours” – 52 hours by camel.
▶Visit the Koranic library and the old Zaouia.
▶Next visit the Tamegroute pottery cooperative and spend half of the day learning how the local, forest green, glazed pottery is made and ﬁred using regional henna. You will enjoy a workshop lead by Tamagroute pottery masters whereby you will learn how the pottery unique to this region of Zagora is made. You will learn the history as well as their local techniques. An English translator will be provided along with all necessary materials for you to make your own Tamagroute pottery. Everything you make you will be able to keep.
▶Depart Zagora and drive to the Berber village of N’kob. Dinner with a Berber Family in Ait Ouzzine Village.
▶Overnight at a Boutique Riad or Hotel in Nkob.
DAY 10: N’KOB - OUARZAZATE
▶Take the road to Visit the Berber village of Ait Ouzzine.
►Just 5 kilometers after N’kob is Aït Ouzzine (the nice village). Aït Ouzzine is a Berber village inhabited by over 300 families who live in beautifully painted crenulated kasbahs, with their own henna fields, water wells, livestock and gardens. This peaceful village is tucked away along an impressive desert route connecting the Draa Valley (Tansikht) and Rissani.
►Meet a local Berber family, partake in a cooking lesson of how to make traditional bread and a tajine. Then explore and tour the village by foot. Walk in the green fields and see how the traditional Berbers live with their gardens of herbs, live stock, and henna plants.
►Lunch will be served to you in Aït Ouzzine by a traditional Berber family. The menu will include a traditional meal of fresh baked bread with spices and a chicken and vegetable tajine and fresh local fruits for desert. After lunch, you can have your hands and feet painted with henna by a local village artist and relax. End the afternoon with mint tea and almonds. Then rest at your hotel before having a traditional dinner with the Berber family of couscous and sheep’s stomach that is grilled by fire. This is similar to an American barbecue.
►Depart N’kob in the late afternoon and drive to Ouarzazate.
►Visit the local massage house to get a massage with rose, almond or argan oil.
▶Overnight at a Boutique Riad or Hotel in Ouarzazate.
DAY 11: OUARZAZATE - MARRAKECH
▶Rise early, have breakfast and take the road to Marrakech.
►Enroute we will visit the picturesque village of Aït Benhaddou, which is, located 32 km from Ouarzazate. Aït Benhaddou is situated in Souss-Massa-Draa on a hill along the Ouarzazate River. Lawrence of Arabia was filmed here and Orson Welles used it as a location for Sodome and Gomorrah; and for Jesus of Nazareth the whole lower part of the village was rebuilt. In recent years more controlled restoration has been carried out under UNESCO auspices. Aït Benhaddou is one of many locations in this region used for shooting Hollywood films.
►Your guide will lead you on a private tour through this Berber village of towered and crenulated Kasbahs that once guarded the lucrative caravan route through the Atlas Mountains. Explore the Kasbahs by foot with the option to ride a donkey across a river. Aït Benhaddou which once served as the f route between the Sahara and Marrakech in present-day Morocco. Most of the town's inhabitants now live in a more modern village at the other side of the river; ten families however still live within the ksar. Aït Benhaddou was once a significant stop for traders carrying gold, salt and slaves along the famous Southern Caravan route moving through the Sahara.
►Have lunch in Ait Benhaddou and then take the road to Marrakech.
▶Overnight at a Boutique Riad or Hotel in Marrakech.
DAY 12: MARRAKECH
▶Departure early morning at Marrakech’s Menara airport