Day into night in the Jemaa el-Fnaa
Sooner or later it seems, all paths in Marrakesh lead to the Jemaa el-Fnaa. The name (sometimes spelled Djemaa el Fna or Jamaa el Fna) means ‘Assembly of the Dead’ in Arabic; but a visit here suggests life in all its vibrancy. To call this the city’s main square doesn’t begin to do justice to it. This is a meeting place, a shopping centre, a performance space, a happening. It is surrounded by restaurants and cafés, each with a roof terrace to offer a ringside seat from where to observe…
Keep walking … even on crutches!
We were just twenty-four hours into our first visit to Marrakesh. We had arrived in the city with high expectations. It had been on our wish-list for some years; and as this was the first holiday of any length that we had been able to take together for over a year, we were determined to enjoy it. But on the evening of our first day I stumbled on the edge of a tiled basin in a fancy restaurant and broke a bone in my foot. I spent the rest of…
‘Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
The crumbling red stone ruins of the Kasbah of Telouet hide a secret; within their walls lie the remains of a glorious and self-indulgent palace, where Pasha Thami El Glaoui asserted his power and wealth. These atmospheric ruins are relatively off the tourist trail, although easily visited on a day trip from Marrakesh.
Finding geometry in the buildings of Marrakesh
Some of the most beautiful architecture I have seen has been in the Islamic world. Islamic art shuns the depiction of living figures, whether human or animal, partly to avoid any suggestion of idolatry and partly because it is believed that the creation of living forms is Allah’s prerogative. Instead the emphasis is on geometric forms as well as calligraphy and abstract floral motifs.
Reaching for the sky again in Africa
Once you have been in a hot air balloon, and loved the experience as I did, you will seize any opportunity to fly again. Leonardo da Vinci had it right, even though he himself had never flown, when he said, 'Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.'
Smoke and mirrors
Some say the camera never lies. But does it? Even before technology made it possible to alter reality, photographers were playing around with tricks and illusions. Today it is easier than ever to edit an image; to fool the viewer into seeing something that was never there, or not seeing something that was.