Friday, May 29, 2009

Morocco: A Walking Tour in the Ouarzazate Medina

So we decided to take a tour guide for the walking tour in Ouarzazate Medina.

We have been left without a choice anyway since the medina, and well, the whole Ouarzazate town really does not look like its a place where tourists just walk around. There are just not many visitors here and it is definitely not a place for a non-local to be walking around on their own. Other than it is extremely hot, there are really not many places to hang out to pass time.

I need of course a souvenir picture in the medina derbs (means alleyways).

So we began the walking tour with a little history lesson. Back in the old days, Ouarzazate was the crossing point of merchants. It is an important trading point for Africans crossing over to Europe from the sub-Saharan continent.

Our amiable middle-aged tour guide told us that UNESCO built the streets in the medina so visitors can enjoy and partake in the Ouarzazate experience. Before this, the pathways were not fit for walking. It was all muddy. The narrow streets in the medina now are semi-paved, not cemented or asphalted, instead, they made use of local indigenous materials. There is no overlay but a hardened surface made from mud and clay.

I did wonder about the situation when it rains? Puddles of water will probably form making the roads muddy again. Well, it is the desert here so the question I need to ask perhaps is, does it rain here often? Maybe not. At any rate, the roads are walkable. Thank you, UNESCO.

We quite enjoyed this little walking tour. It is definitely a different world here.

Because Ouarzazate is very close to the desert, many Saharan excursions begin here. We would have loved to take part in the Saharan expedition but we needed at least an overnight stay in the desert. Too bad, but we didn’t have enough time. Well, maybe next time then?

The diamond geometrical pattern is a popular design here in Ouarzazate's medina. On the doors, windows and tiles.

There were very few tourists... I felt we were outnumbered by the locals there and to think there were not many there. It makes our Ouarzazate experience purer.

Blondine and I with the tour guide.

Travel Period: April 2009
Destination: Ouarzazare (Drâa-Tafilalet), Morocco

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All pictures were taken by a point and shoot pocket camera or a smartphone.

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