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One day with a Metal Craftsman

 

I have spent unforgettable one day tour with a Metal craftsman at FES city. Fes Inspiration allows me to have a close look at metal making. Metal smith making is such a long and difficult process.

The smith beats the metal when it’s hot and soft. He shapes it into a knife scissors or needles for embroidery and sewing.

He emerges the hot metal into water and this strengthens the item he’s making

He keeps beating the metal until he has the desired item. He repeats the heating, beating, and water dipping for about many times.

It is a long hot process…..

Finally, he will sharpen the knife, the scissors, etc on the store which is foot operated. That is by using water to lubricate it as he sharpens.

All the artisans’ income comes from their handmade crafts. Such as the sieving, sharpen, weaving; shoe making copper, and brass works.

All done by hand…. this is their only means of income.

Join me on my next tour for more fun!…

 

 

Moroccan Arts and Craftworks

The Arabic crafts of Morocco are heavily influenced by the cultural cross-section. That dated back to centuries of interaction between Islamic and African people as well as the alliance of moors and Spaniards.

Moroccan art and crafts are uniquely brilliant. They have shaped the experience of wide range of travelers. Despite their originality and beauty; Moroccan arts are not widely appreciated out of the region. The country unique geographic location made it to be a major cross road of trade between Africa; the Middle East, and Europe.

Much of the early influence of Moroccan arts and crafts derives from the Berber tribes which inhabited the region for many centuries. These artistic traditions are traced from the rural areas of the country. In addition, they can be seen in carpet weaving, jewelry, leather, and pottery handmade works.

The beautiful decoration traced in the Moroccan carpets and potteries are Berber tribal symbols. That holds a deep spiritual meaning. Visiting the Moroccan arts and crafts workshops is an art in itself. Because of the fact that artisans take enormous pride in the work that they are doing. So, when visiting a pottery; jewelry; carpet, leather, or tanneries workshops, you are not simply shopping in stores. Rather, you are residing in the life style of Moroccan’s.

The heart and soul that are part of their work are gift to be treasured. These physical gifts are one part of a bigger picture of Moroccan life style. Not to mention, these artworks are being made up of culinary traditions and a deep devotion to Islam and the Muslim world.

When an individual experiences all of these facets of this beautiful land; it makes it a journey deep within the mind spirit and body. In morocco we appreciate life; LOVE, and GOD.  ALL of this can be clearly seen in the art and crafts that Moroccans bring to the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Al Quarawiyyine Library in Fez city

Al Quarawiyyine Library is one of the treasures of Morocco. It is considered the oldest functioning library in the world. It was founded and restored by a famous cleaver woman called Fatima Al Fihri.

The library was founded in 859 in a labyrinth of streets in the Moroccan city of Fes.

With a sculpted dark wooden door and urban architecture; Al Quarawiyyine library has gained much popularity and attention from Moroccan’s as well as foreigners.

When it first launched, the library was only reserved for theologians and academics. But, thanks to successive renovations, it was now accessible for the worldwide public.

A must see spot that represent a long rich history and that was once the center of intellectual life for centuries. Since, approximately 40% of the Moroccan population is illiterate; Al Quarawiyyine provides facilitated manuscripts for them to be able to look at instead of reading books.

Not to mention, it has an extraordinary urban architecture with a mixture of different styles. Al Quarawiyyine Library is a must see historical landmark when visiting Morocco.

 

Best Things to do in Fes

In Fès We say; « Fes » walkolo fi Fes. This is an old saying.

It means everything exists in Fes.

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Fes is the heart, soul, and mind of Morocco, the best of everything Moroccan! spirituality, Science, cuisine, Learning, Art and artisans, these things all begin and end in Fes.

The most ancient of the Imperial Cities, Fes was founded by Idriss II around 789, having been drawn to the area by the abundance of fresh water and the green and fertile location.

12 centuries old here you can find a blend of the old and the new.

Most visitors to Fes only want to see the old, our Medina.

The first independent Muslim kingdom of Morocco was established here on the plain of Saiss, upon the hell of the old Roman Capital of Volubilis, at the of the 8th century by my Idriss, great great grandson of the prophet Mohamed, Wanted to build a large beautiful city, a capital city. He died before his dream was realized, however his son Idriss II continued the dream he carried out the wishes of his father.

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At the heart of the Medina is the mosque originally built and gifted to the city by Fatima, this was built as a university in 789.

The city was first occupied by Berbers mostly setting on the eastern banks of the Oued Fes. Later Arab families joined their modern-day Tunisia and settled on the west side of the rivers greeting the Kairouan quarter. The heritage of both these people formed a strong foundation for their future religion, culture, and architecture all which can be experienced in Fes. Idriss II’s heirs caused the kingdom to break apart but here in Fes peace and prosperity continued to shine, until the 10 century As the dynasties change over the following 2 centuries, the fortunes of Fès climbed and fell many times. Invasion of the Berbers, resulting in war and famine was ended with Almoravid Dynasty, however, when that dynasty fell from power in 1154 they left the city, Destroying walls and building. The walls were later replaced when the Almohad dynasty was promised Royalty by the locals, Fassis. You can still see a large area of the walls from this period of time.

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Fes continued to be an important crossroads-holding power (intellectual) rather than political. With the university and Mosque well established, Fes was the « center » of culture and learning from Spain through to Sénègal, a huge empire. it’s political status was recovered with the Merinid dynasty around 1250.

When central power weakened during the 19th century and interference From Europe increased, both Fes and Marrakesh became capital of a fragmented country.

Fès kept its status as the « Moral » capital and in 1912 a treaty introducing Spanish and French protectorates over Morocco was signed. Less than 3 weeks later, rioting and fighting against the new « rulers » proved how volatile the city of Fes had become. The French declared Rabat as capital, Fes has awe about it that draws people to the city for a one-stop I can provide information on where to stay and what to do.

I offer personal tour guiding in French, English, and Japanese. My Background is in teaching (literacy) and 20 years with tourism. some of the places I can show you in the Médina, a labyrinth of more than 9515 streets include copper/brass work, where you can witness the mean at work making pots and plates at the Saffarine Square watch the Smith beat his metal and make knives, scissors, needles while you stand there, the library that extends from the university ; the tanner where you can view the action from above ; purchase a bag, belt, purse, shoes-all made with beautiful leather, dyed from natural dyes ; we will walk past many, many sellers of meat, vegetables, clothes, shoes, anything you can think of to bay.

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I also offer to advise on where you can have a massage, take cooking classes, great restaurants, and Guesthouses- Riads.

With my guiding, you will have a safe experience as I’m quite known to very many of the artisans/ gifts men.

Please call to schedule and be dazzled by the beauty of Fes- like you people come from all over the world and all over the country to experience Fes, the very essence of Morocco.

 

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