We were in Morocco. The country is like a Moorish King, asking for his blackberry; the country has regal allure, built on traditional Islamic culture, but combines its traditions with Italian fashion and fads like Twitter.
We found Morocco’s traditional culture is strongest in the Medina’s – the ancient city centre’s of Moroccan cities (see last week’s post). Well preserved within its city walls, the medieval Medina of Marrakech looks the same today as it did when ruled by the Almoravids in the 11th century. The only thing to dispel the illusion of travel back in time are the bicycles; always on the move, their bells alerting you just in time to step aside.
Then, we also got to see that other side of Morocco; where buildings look like bee hives and four lane traffic has replaced city walls. It was in neighbourhoods like Guéliz (Marrakech), that we saw broad boulevards and radial roads push on cars like clockwork. There, appartments rise in multiple stories, while their plinths harbour fashion boutiques and book stores. The sunlit corner terraces filled up early, and their croissants and café crème reminded us of Paris.
And in those new neighbourhoods – between the blackberry´s and the bags by Burberry – again we saw the bicycles. Just like in the Medina.
Their bells ring loud and late, barely leaving time to step aside; a reminder that traditions persist in modern Morocco also.