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Morocco and Western Sahara, February 2012

Morocco, 19th-24th February 2012
Rabat, capital of Morocco

Evening of Sunday, 19th February 2012

Looking through a doorway into Cimitiere Al Shouhada Cemetery. This large cemetery is located north of the medina next to the sea front.Looking through a doorway into Cimitiere Al Shouhada Cemetery. This large cemetery is located north of the medina next to the sea front.

Tony in front of the doorway into Cimitiere Al Shouhada Cemetery, early evening.Tony in front of the doorway into Cimitiere Al Shouhada Cemetery, early evening.

A large memorial at Cimitiere Al Shouhada Cemetery.A large memorial at Cimitiere Al Shouhada Cemetery.

Tony by a  fountain on Bab El Had Square, in front of Bab El Had gateway into the medina (the Old Quarter). Evening.Tony by a fountain on Bab El Had Square, in front of Bab El Had gateway into the medina (the Old Quarter).

View from a roadside café at Bab El Had. Looking across the square towards a row of buses and the medina wall.View from a roadside café at Bab El Had. Looking across the square towards a row of buses and the medina wall. The café is situated near to HI Rabat Hostel, 43 Rue Marossa, Bab El Had, where Tony stayed.

View across the square outside Bab El Had. The medina wall is just visible to the left. There are palm trees around the edge of the square.View across the square outside Bab El Had. The medina wall is just visible to the left. There are palm trees around the edge of the square. This location is near the hostel.

Tony again in front of the fountain in Bab El Had Square. Tony again in front of the fountain in Bab El Had Square.

People outside cafés along a street just inside the medina. The Bab El Had arched gateway at the far end.People outside cafés along a street just inside the medina. The Bab El Had arched gateway at the far end.

Monday, 10th February 2012

Fish market in the medina, a Moroccan man standing at his stall.Fish market in the medina, a Moroccan man standing at his stall.

The medina or ‘Old Quarter’ is Rabat’s main market area and contains the old city walls, many shops, and market stalls where bartering takes place. It appears more busy near evening time. The maze-like roads create a nice wander through this cultural centre with its French colonial architecture.

Boxes full of fish. Fish market.Boxes full of fish.

Narrow medina street. People standing around a stall.Narrow medina street. People standing around a stall.

A mobile phone shop. Medina.A mobile phone shop.

Looking along a street in the medina. There are shops along one side, and on the other, the rear of a long single storey building.Looking along a street in the medina.

One of the main streets through the medina. A shop selling fruit juice on the left. The minaret of Moulay Slimane Mosque is visible in the distance ahead.One of the main streets through the medina. A shop selling fruit juice on the left. The minaret of Moulay Slimane Mosque is visible in the distance ahead. Moulay Slimane Mosque is located on Rue (street) Souika, in the medina, it was built in 1812 by the Sultan with the same name. The Grand Mosque is also located on Rue Souika.

A row of shops, including a hairdressers immediately in front. A wide pavement. To provide shade, the buildings overhang the pavement supported by columns. The north end of Boulevard Mohammed V, one of the main avenues in RabatA row of shops, including a hairdressers immediately in front. The north end of Boulevard Mohammed V, one of the main avenues in Rabat.

Tony stood under a large tree looking towards a café and shops.Tony stood under a large tree looking towards a café and shops.

Looking across a small park towards the tree-lined south end of Boulevard Mohammed V.Looking across a small park towards the tree-lined south end of Boulevard Mohammed V.

A busy street in the medina. The minaret of Moulay Slimane Mosque is again visible.A busy street in the medina. The minaret of Moulay Slimane Mosque is again visible.

A shop selling dates, spices and other foodstuffs.A shop selling dates, spices and other foodstuffs. In the medina – Rabat’s main market and shopping area, where many handmade good are available.

A shop selling ladies bags. The medina.A shop selling ladies bags.

A shoe shop. The medina.A shoe shop.

Birds in cages for sale in the street.Birds in cages for sale in the street.

Inside a shop selling musical instruments, as well as paintings and other traditional craft objects.Inside a shop selling musical instruments, as well as paintings and other traditional craft objects.

HI Rabat Hostel inner courtyard with an orange tree in the middle.HI Rabat Hostel inner courtyard with an orange tree in the middle.

One of the medina’s streets, outside the small Moulay Slimane mosque.One of the medina’s streets, outside the small Moulay Slimane mosque.

Tony standing inside one of the gates through the city walls.Tony standing inside one of the gates through the city walls.

Looking along part of the city walls - there are a series of towers with crenellated tops.Looking along part of the city walls – there are a series of towers with crenellated tops.

Carved stonework above the city wall gate.Carved stonework above the city wall gate.

View towards the city wall. People waiting for buses in front.View towards the city wall. People waiting for buses in front.

The outer wall of the Kasbah des Oudaias.The outer wall of the Kasbah des Oudaias.

The Kasbah des Oudaias is a unique area in the north of Rabat, set slightly apart from the rest of the city, on a hill and cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The walled area contains white-washed houses and a maze of narrow streets. The beautiful gateway (Bab Oudaia), that leads into the Kasbah, was built in the 12th century.

The outside wall of the Kasbah des Oudaias.The outside wall of the Kasbah des Oudaias.

Tony outside the Kasbah des Oudaias. View of the Kasbah's walls and the city to the south.Tony outside the Kasbah des Oudaias. View of the Kasbah’s walls and the city to the south.

An old-looking door, possibly to a house, covered with geometric/Islamic style decoration. Taken inside the Kasba des Oudaias.An old-looking door, possibly to a house, covered with geometric/Islamic style decoration. Taken inside the Kasba des Oudaias.

A closer view of decoration on the door.A closer view of decoration on the door.

Rabat Beach in the evening gloom, located below the Kasba de Oudaias.Rabat Beach in the evening gloom, located below the Kasba de Oudaias.

Tony sitting on a wall above the beach.Tony sitting on a wall above the beach.

Tuesday, 21st February 2012

Tony drinking Moroccan tea at a café close to the hostel where he stayed. It is near the medina wall, in close proximity to the main square.Tony drinking Moroccan tea at a café close to the hostel where he stayed. It is near the medina wall, in close proximity to the main square.

View across a public park, located near As Sounna Mosque.View across a public park, located near As Sounna Mosque.

Tony by a main road. The 18th century As Sounna Mosque is opposite, partially obscured by trees. The minaret is visible.Tony by a main road. The 18th century As Sounna Mosque is opposite, partially obscured by trees. The minaret is visible.

Gate into the Chellah archaeological site and gardens.Gate into the Chellah archaeological site and gardens. Chellah or Sala Colonia is a necropolis and complex of Roman and medieval ruins at the outskirts of Rabat, about a 15-minute walk from the centre. It is the most ancient human settlement found on the mouth of the Bou Regreg River.

The Roman ruins consist of the town of Sala that was occupied here between the 8th and 12th centuries. The site consists of a garden, ruins of a Roman Forum, a Roman roadway (Decumanus Maximus), and later ruins of a small mosque dedicated to Abou Youssef. The site was also used as the royal burial grounds and the elaborate tombstones are still visible.

Path through the gardens at Chellah.Path through the gardens at Chellah.

View towards the Bou Regreg River and the surrounding landscape from Chellah.View towards the Bou Regreg River and the surrounding landscape from Chellah.

A path lined with trees and an irrigation channel down one side.A path lined with trees and an irrigation channel down one side.

Another view of the gardens at Chellah.Another view of the gardens at Chellah.

Roman remains flooded with water, possibly the remains of a cistern.Roman remains flooded with water, possibly the remains of a cistern.

Tony with a local guide working at the site.Tony with a local guide working at the site, he didn’t charge me for helping me explore.

A row of three graves, part of the Islamic cemetery of kings.A row of three graves, part of the Islamic cemetery of kings.

A stork's nest on top of a wall. Two storks visible inside.A stork’s nest on top of a wall. Two storks visible inside.

Another stork's nest. This time on top of the remains of a minaret.Another stork’s nest. This time on top of the remains of a minaret.

Inside the mosque ruins. The minaret on the right.Inside the mosque ruins. The minaret on the right.

Remains of Roman baths.Remains of Roman baths.

A earthen wall with rows of holes.A earthen wall with rows of holes.

The gardens - paths, plants and water flowing along an irrigation channel.The gardens – water flowing along an irrigation channel.

Another view of the gardens. Looking along a path.Another view of the gardens.

Tony touching a plant. The plant has thick woody stems with large leaves.Tony touching a plant.

Remains of Roman buildings.Remains of Roman buildings.

Tony by the building remains.Tony by the building remains.

Tony touching a Roman stone block with a Latin inscription on the front.Tony touching a Roman stone block with a Latin inscription on the front.

The bottom half of a Roman statue.The bottom half of a Roman statue.

The historic gate into Chellah. Tourists walking past.The historic gate into Chellah.

Wednesday, 22nd February 2012

The foyer of HI Rabat Hostel where Tony stayed.The foyer of HI Rabat Hostel where Tony stayed.

Tony with a local man. Overlooking Rabat Beach.Tony with a local man. Overlooking Rabat Beach.

Looking out to sea from the beach.Looking out to sea from the beach.

A small patio area. Photo taken sitting at a table under a sun umbrella. Part of HI Rabat Hostel, Rabat.A small patio area. Photo taken sitting at a table under a sun umbrella. Part of HI Rabat Hostel, Rabat.

View from the hostel patio: the tops of houses and a minaret.View from the hostel patio.

Thursday, 23rd February 2012 – Marrakech, capital of Morocco

Tony with two tall backpackers from Iceland, met them on the train from Rabat.Tony with two tall backpackers from Iceland, met them on the train from Rabat.

Tony drinking Moroccan tea at an outdoor table near Marakesh train station.Tony drinking Moroccan tea at an outdoor table near Marakesh train station.

Tony waiting for a coach south to Dakhla on a main road outside the train station.Tony waiting for a coach south to Dakhla on a main road outside the train station.

The coach has arrived and luggage is being loaded. The coach has arrived and luggage is being loaded.

Friday 25th February 2012 – Dakhla, Western Sahara/Morocco

Western Sahara is a disputed territory, partly controlled by Morocco and contested by the Sahawi Arab Democratic Republic. The area is comprised mostly of desert with a few sporadic towns.

Dakhla lies on the Atlantic, has a small airport and port, and is known for being windy. It’s good for water sports including surfing.

Tony in Dakhla Square with a mosque at the far side.Tony in Dakhla Square with a mosque at the far side.

Tony leaning on railings above Dakhla Beach near the town centre.Tony leaning on railings above Dakhla Beach near the town centre.

Simon from Switzerland at a café in downtown Dakhla. Tony met him during the coach journey to Dakhla.Simon from Switzerland at a café in downtown Dakhla. Tony met him during the coach journey to Dakhla.

A local man wearing an African style hat at the same café. He owns a surfing clothes shop in Dakhla.A local man wearing an African style hat at the same café. He owns a surfing clothes shop in Dakhla.

Tony sat on a matted floor in the house of young, local Moroccans from Dakhla – friends of the guy in the previous photoTony sat on a matted floor in the house of young, local Moroccans from Dakhla – friends of the guy in the previous photo.

Same location as before. Tony holding a percussion instrument, a pair of traditional maracas.Tony holding a pair of traditional maracas.

Next: Mauritania, Senegal (part 1) & The Gambia