Larry in Morocco

Larry is a junior majoring in political science and history, with a minor in Arabic, in Dedman College. A recipient of a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, he is studying with SMU-in-Morocco during summer 2011 as part of an intensive five-week course dedicated to intermediate-level Arabic. He is staying in the city of Meknes and plans to take excursions to Tangiers and Spain.

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Touring Fez

Well we got through the week, boys and girls. Had a short class Friday and finished our first lesson. So what does that mean? It means new lessons and lots of homework, which includes new vocabulary.

WHAT?! That’s right, words that will take me forever to remember:) Actually not too bad – I got cracking on the homework right away.

That also means we have a test coming up, in Arabic. First one, eehhh. I hope I do well.

010.jpg So what did we do this weekend? Our first excursion was to the city of Fez. Wow, I love Fez.

Right: The old quarter of Fez. When I say old, I mean centuries old.

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Left: Our tour guide. Didn’t I say I love this guy? Awesome dude.

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Right: This is the musallah where they hold their Eid or holiday celebrations.

 


0201.jpgLeft: This fort was built in the 10th century and has been restored many times.

I will give a brief rundown of what the tour guide gave us, I love that guy. He was awesome really. Fez is literally the city of art, and you will see why with the pictures. But short history.

Berbers are the indigenious people to Morocco. There are approximately 280 tribes of Berbers in West North Africa. Islam came with the Arabs in the year 808. Islam today is the official state religion of Morocco, where the King has taken it on himself to be the commander of the faithful.

0091.jpg The Arabic in Morocco is a dialect that is influenced by French and Spanish as well. Which is pretty typical in most of North Africa, which would include Morocco, Algeria, Libya and Tunisia.

The mountains that run through North Africa are the Atlas Mountains. The city that is seen in the distance there is the Jewish quarter of Fez.

By the way, the Moroccans are very proud of the Jewish people in Morocco and talk about them fondly. The reason for such a large Jewish population in Morocco is because of the Spanish Inquistion of 1492, where they fled Spain for their lives because the Christians were persecuting them. The Jews fled to Muslim countries, which also included Tunisia and Egypt, because the Muslims were more tolerant of other faiths than the Christians. The Jews and Muslims have coexisted in North Africa peacefully for centuries.

004.jpgRight: These are the doors of the King’s Palace when he comes to Fez. The capital of Morocco is Rabat, where he and his family reside. Fez is one of the royal cities, which also includes Meknes, where we are staying.

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Left: The is our super nice professor, Liljana Elverskog. I love this person, too.

026.jpg Right: This is where they make pottery and mosaic tables, fountains, you name it. Mind you, everything is made by hand.


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Right: Leading into the market.

 

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