Ancient Pathways

Whispers, secrets, and hidden passages. Morocco is an onslaught to your senses; colors, scents, sights pull you in one direction and another. Your senses are overwhelmed, including those you don’t even know you have.

_DSC8276Fez Medina

You think you know it. But Morocco is like the mysterious girl at the back of the bus. You know she has a story, but you also know she won’t give it up easily. As you look more closely, you see that there is much going on behind the obvious in Morocco. Behind the dusty streets there are exquisitely beautiful interiors, with their tiled central courts and fountains. Arches of every shape fly above the interiors, parsing the sunlight into light and shadow.

_DSC8365Fez Mosque

You walk through the medina, getting separated from the group, feeling completely lost. A man comes by on a motorbike and stops, telling you where your group is. You hear all the whispers that have passed from ear to ear in the medina. You sense that everyone knows you are there. It feels as though an electric current is flowing that connects them all.

DSC_6789Marrakech Medina

The connections are not only current, welling up also from the ancient past. Traditions and traditional arts endure. Wandering the alleys of the medina is to float into a sea of timelessness. Artisans sit in their shops practicing the arts practiced by their fathers and fathers’ fathers, generations back.

Each section of the medina is dedicated to another craft. The metalworkers hammer vast basins and hand-pierce the most intricate fretwork. Instruments are made of endless shapes and designs.

DSC_6374Morocco Metalwork-2 _DSC8402Morocco Metal Workers

_DSC8300Fez Instruments

Or down an alley, you’ll find the cloth dyers, with arms stained to their elbows and brightly colored fabric hanging overhead in a festival of colors and sunlight. Down another alley are boys playing with fire or playing football with a makeshift ball.

DSC_6845Marrakech Cloth Dyers

DSC_6844Marrakech Cloth Dyers

_DSC8362Fez Headscarves

Ceramics are handthrown and painted. And small bits of tile are pieced together into the most beautiful of mosaics.

_DSC8468Fez Ceramics
The intricate mosaics of Morocco are made from small pieces of colored tile, which are placed into their pattern upside down. The master craftsmen do not see the colored side of the piece until it is grouted together and turned right-side up.

_DSC8473Fez Ceramics

_DSC8470Fez Ceramics

And far from everyone, where the retched scents of the dyeing vats cannot reach the rest of the medina, are the tanneries, where the exquisite leathers of Morocco make their start. All aspects of life can be found in the medina. Butcher shops have all cuts of meat, not just those we find “palatable”. Nothing is wasted. The things we buy are connected to their source.

_DSC8420Morocco Dyers

Time drifts; tradition, instead, is the bedrock. There is something here that is difficult to express. Life feels deep here, with everyone connected to each other, to their traditions, and to life itself.

DSC_6868Marrakech Berber


Add yours →

  1. The Souks of the Middle East and North Africa penetrate the five senses as thousands of drill bits might, but it is that uncomprehensible and unfathonable sense of being watched by thousands of eyes that drills through that last bit of reserve one saves for life’s unique experiences.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a lovely way to spend a day! Best to you for sharing, Nadia


  3. My fav images yet. Pure Human Soul revealed. And of course, the words echo and resonate with the images: A double pronged assault on our nascent aesthetic sensibilities.

    “Retched scents” is singularly award-worthy. Powerful, and vaguely understandable, encouraging slow chewing and digestion. The essence of great art.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. WOW! I would love to find one of those mosaics.

    As you weave the story the oneness to all of life becomes so vivid. Although not readily obvious it can be known in the stillness. And to me the photographs are a wonderful introduction to the stillness…the beauty…the oneness.

    Thank you for sharing, Nadia.


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