Kutubiyya Mosque in Marrakesh

12 August 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean

© Baca12/cc-by-sa-4.0

© Baca12/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Kutubiyya Mosque or Koutoubia Mosque is the largest mosque in Marrakesh in Morocco. The mosque’s name is also variably rendered as Jami’ al-Kutubiyah, Kutubiya Mosque, Kutubiyyin Mosque, and Mosque of the Booksellers. It is located in the southwest medina quarter of Marrakesh, near the famous public place of Jemaa el-Fna, and is flanked by large gardens. All the names and spellings of Kutubiyya Mosque are based on the Arabic word kutubiyyin, which means “booksellers”. The Koutoubia Mosque, or Bookseller’s Mosque, reflects the honorable bookselling trade practiced in the nearby souk. At one time as many as 100 book vendors worked in the streets at the base of the mosque.   read more…

Market place Jemaa el-Fnaa in Marrakesh

10 June 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage, Union for the Mediterranean

© Boris Macek/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Boris Macek/cc-by-sa-3.0

Jemaa el-Fnaa is a square and market place in Marrakesh‘s medina quarter (old city). It remains the main square of Marrakesh, used by locals and tourists. Marrakesh was founded by the Almoravid Dynasty in 1070 by Abu Bakr ibn Umar and subsequently developed by his successors. Initially, the city’s two main monuments and focal points were the fortress known as Ksar el-Hajjar (“fortress of stone”) and the city’s first Friday mosque (the site of the future Ben Youssef Mosque). The Ksar el-Hajjar was located directly north of today’s Koutoubia Mosque. The major souk (market) streets of the city thus developed along the roads linking these two important sites and still correspond to the main axis of souks today. At one end of this axis, next to the Ksar el-Hajjar, a large open space existed for temporary and weekly markets. This space was initially known as Rahbat al-Ksar (“the place of the fortress”). Other historical records refer to it as as-Saha al-Kubra (“the grand square”), or simply as as-Saha or ar-Rahba.   read more…

Routes of El legado andalusi/Al-Andalus

4 October 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, European Union, General, Living, Working, Building, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, UNESCO World Heritage

© Morningstar1814/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Morningstar1814/cc-by-sa-3.0

In the 8th century, the Iberian Peninsula saw the arrival of Arabs and Berbers who mixed with the Roman-Visigoth inhabitants, engendering what was known as Al-Andalus. This successful medieval Muslim civilisation extended, at its peak, to most of what is today Spain and Portugal, until its downfall in the late 15th century.   read more…

Union for the Mediterranean: Bon voyage!

12 January 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Editorial, European Union, General, UNESCO World Heritage, Union for the Mediterranean

Union for the Mediterranean © AndrewRT/cc-by-sa-3.0

Union for the Mediterranean © AndrewRT/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) is an intergovernmental organization of 43 countries from Europe and the Mediterranean Basin: the 28 member states of the European Union and 15 Mediterranean partner countries from North Africa, the Middle East (the western and middle part of the Middle East & North Africa region (MENA)) and Southeast Europe. It was created in July 2008 at the Paris Summit for the Mediterranean, with a view to reinforcing the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (Euromed) that was set up in 1995 and known as the Barcelona Process. The Union has the aim of promoting stability and prosperity throughout the Mediterranean region. It is a forum for discussing regional strategic issues, based on the principles of shared ownership, shared decision-making and shared responsibility between the two shores of the Mediterranean. Its main goal is to increase both North-South and South-South integration in the Mediterranean region, in order to support the countries’ socioeconomic development and ensure stability in the region. The actions of the organization fall under three, interrelated priorities—regional human development, regional integration and regional stability. To this end, it identifies and supports regional projects and initiatives of different sizes, to which it gives its label, following a consensual decision among the forty-three countries. The region has 756 million inhabitants and is scenic, architecturally and culturally very diverse. Cities, lakes, mountains, beaches and national parks offer everything that promises fun, recreation and perfect vacations. The cultural offers are numerous. In addition to many UNESCO World Heritage sites, there are numerous galleries, museums, theaters and opera houses. Of course, there are plenty of shopping and entertainment possibilities. However, holiday pleasure is not untroubled in all countries. At present, Syria and Libya in general, Mauritania (Sahara and Sahel) and Lebanon (North Lebanon and the border regions to Syria and Israel), Palestine (Gaza Strip) should be partly avoided. In all other countries of the Levant and North Africa, increased caution, vigilance and prudence are recommended. At the end of each country portrait is a link to the U.S. Department of State, in order to be able to find out about the current security situation on the ground.   read more…

Union for the Mediterranean: Bon appétit!

7 November 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Editorial, European Union, General, Union for the Mediterranean

Union for the Mediterranean © AndrewRT/cc-by-sa-3.0

Union for the Mediterranean © AndrewRT/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) is an intergovernmental organization of 43 countries from Europe and the Mediterranean Basin: the 28 member states of the European Union and 15 Mediterranean partner countries from North Africa, the Middle East (the western and middle part of the Middle East & North Africa region (MENA)) and Southeast Europe. It was created in July 2008 at the Paris Summit for the Mediterranean, with a view to reinforcing the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (Euromed) that was set up in 1995 and known as the Barcelona Process. The Union has the aim of promoting stability and prosperity throughout the Mediterranean region. It is a forum for discussing regional strategic issues, based on the principles of shared ownership, shared decision-making and shared responsibility between the two shores of the Mediterranean. Its main goal is to increase both North-South and South-South integration in the Mediterranean region, in order to support the countries’ socioeconomic development and ensure stability in the region. The actions of the organization fall under three, interrelated priorities—regional human development, regional integration and regional stability. To this end, it identifies and supports regional projects and initiatives of different sizes, to which it gives its label, following a consensual decision among the forty-three countries. The region has 756 million inhabitants and is culinary very diverse (European cuisine, Mediterranean cuisine, Maghreb cuisine, Levantine cuisine, Middle-Eastern cuisine and Arab cuisine).   read more…

Theme Week Morocco – Marrakesh

29 July 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage, Union for the Mediterranean

Jemaa el-Fnaa © Boris Macek/cc-by-sa-3.0

Jemaa el-Fnaa © Boris Macek/cc-by-sa-3.0

Marrakesh, also known by the French spelling Marrakech, is a major city of the Kingdom of Morocco. It is the fourth largest city in the country, after Casablanca, Fez and Tangier. It is the capital city of the mid-southwestern region of Marrakesh-Safi. Located to the north of the foothills of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains, Marrakesh is located 580 km (360 mi) southwest of Tangier, 327 km (203 mi) southwest of the Moroccan capital of Rabat, 239 km (149 mi) south of Casablanca, and 246 km (153 mi) northeast of Agadir.   read more…

Theme Week Morocco – Tangier

28 July 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Union for the Mediterranean

Lighthouse of Cape Spartel © Diego Delso/cc-by-sa-4.0

Lighthouse of Cape Spartel © Diego Delso/cc-by-sa-4.0

Tangier is a major city in northwestern Morocco. It is located on the Maghreb coast at the western entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar, where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Spartel with the Caves of Hercules. It is the capital of the Tanger-Tetouan-Al Hoceima region, as well as the Tangier-Assilah prefecture of Morocco. The city is currently undergoing rapid development and modernisation. Projects include new tourism projects along the bay, a modern business district called Tangier City Center, a new airport terminal and a new football stadium. Tangier’s economy is also set to benefit greatly from the new Tanger-Med port.   read more…

Theme Week Morocco – Fez

27 July 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage, Union for the Mediterranean

The Blue Gate © Bjørn Christian Tørrissen/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Blue Gate © Bjørn Christian Tørrissen/cc-by-sa-3.0

Fez is the second largest city of Morocco and the oldest (founded in 789) of the four imperial cities (Marrakesh, Meknes and Rabat). Fez was the capital city of modern Morocco until 1925 and is now the capital of the Fès-Meknès administrative region. The city has two old medina quarters, the larger of which is Fes el Bali. It is listed as a World Heritage Site and is believed to be one of the world’s largest urban pedestrian zones (car-free areas). University of Al Quaraouiyine, founded in 859, is the oldest continuously functioning university in the world. The city has been called the “Mecca of the West” and the “Athens of Africa”.   read more…

Theme Week Morocco – Rabat

26 July 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage, Union for the Mediterranean

River Bou Regreg and the Kasbah of the Udayas © Elooas/cc-by-sa-3.0

River Bou Regreg and the Kasbah of the Udayas © Elooas/cc-by-sa-3.0

Rabat is the capital city of Morocco and its second largest city with an urban population of approximately 580,000 and a metropolitan population of over 1.2 million. It is also the capital city of the Eṛṛbaṭ-Sla-Qniṭra administrative region. The city is located on the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of the river Bou Regreg. On the facing shore of the river lies Salé, the city’s main commuter town. Rabat, Temara, and Salé form a conurbation of over 1.8 million people. Silt-related problems have diminished Rabat’s role as a port; however, Rabat and Salé still maintain important textile, food processing and construction industries. In addition, tourism and the presence of all foreign embassies in Morocco serve to make Rabat one of the most important cities in the country. Once a reputed corsair haven, Rabat served as one of the many ports in North Africa for the Barbary pirates, who were particularly active from the 16th through the 18th centuries. Rabat is accessible by train through the ONCF system and by plane through the nearby Rabat–Salé Airport. The city was added to the list of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage in 2012. Located between the Atlantic and the Bouregreg Valley, this magnificent river marina is paved with famous historical sites like the esplanade of the Hassan Tower and the picturesque Chellah necropolis, which has witnessed many Mediterranean civilizations pass by. Outfitted with the most modern equipment to host up to 240 boats, the Bouregreg Marina aims to become an essential destination for recreational boaters seeking long stays or just an unforgettable stopover on their way to West Africa, the Caribbean or the shores of North America.   read more…

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