Meknes and Chefchaouen, the Blue CityToday we traveled from Fez, through Meknes to the Blue City of Chefchaouen. Goodbye to Fez, the "Athens of Africa".
As we traveled, Ali further explained the significance and symbolism of Islam's Holy numbers. Yesterday at the mosque in Fez he showed us how the Arabic numbers we use today were derived from angles. I think I captured the symbolism of the numbers as he explained them.Number 5 is the holiest number for Muslims, followed by 7, and 8. See below for examples of how these numbers are symbolized in the Muslim faith.
Our first stop is the city of Meknes. Meknes is an old 10th century city named for a tribe. Old city is 17th century. During that time period, Moulay Ismail was the king. It is said that he had 550 wives, one from each tribe in order to keep peace and consolidate his power. Much of Meknes was destroyed in 1755 by the Lisbon earthquake.
We visit Ismail's granary, water retrieval and purification system, and stable that held 12,000 horses for the 120,000 royal guard of his armies.
|Room after room of a consistent climate to store grain.|
|Water lifters in huge domed rooms. Water evaporates, condensing on wall dripping down as clear.|
The roof collapsed during the earthquake, but the beauty of the architecture without its roof is spectacular in the natural light and shadows.
Another visit in Meknes is to the olive and cookie market.
Of course there are other
|Moroccans love sugary sweets.|
The Romans brought olives to this area where geography and climate are conducive to growing and shipping to Rome. The colors of olives is determined by ripeness, from yellow, green, rose, black. We drive through the rolling hills and valleys dotted with olive and carob trees.
|Looks like California|
Our next stop is Volubllis, extensive Roman ruins, actively being excavated since 1968. This agricultural center was started in 25 BCE by the Romans and was abandoned in 285 AD. Over the years the marble and pillars were ransacked for Moulays' palaces, and Muslim invaders defaced sculptures and art depicting humans and animals.
Part of the ruins have been reconstructed, and we spend an hour or more exploring the ruins of temples, bath houses, residences, and mosaics in the midday sun.
|Storks found a home on the right hand column|
|This Gate is the Road to Tangier|
|Local Guide Demonstrates Lounging in Ladies' Bath. Eunuchs stood in center and massaged their shoulders.|
Our local guide was very knowledgeable, but I had to stand upwind of him as his body odor was quite strong, and the heat and sweat of the day made it even worse. By the end of the tour, I wasn't sure who smelled worse.
After lunch at an outdoor cafe of grilled meet in pita sandwiches and persistent street vendors,
we continued our journey to Chefchaouen, through the Rif mountains.
|Exciting ride with trucks passing on 2 lane mountain roads.|
We begin to see more Spanish colonial culture as we travel. Our guide points out the sarape like sarongs that women wear, and colorful hats resembling sombreros.
When we reach our Riad within the Blue City, the interior of the building appears to be a combination of Arab and Andalusian architecture. This is a new guest house, made from two private residences. It's one of the prettiest, well decorated boutique hotels we have been in.
We are welcomed with mint tea and find a nice restaurant for dinner. Tomorrow and tomorrow evening, We stay in Chefchaoen with the opportunity to wander around all day and evening.
All is well with the Worrall Travel R's in the Blue City of Chefchaouen, Morocco
Examples of number symbology in Islam:
5 times a day, pray
5 th pillar is Pilgrimage to Mecca.
5 essential elements in each neighborhood: 1-Mosque, 2-Koranic school, 3 - Fountain, 4 - Bakery, 5 - Hamman (Roman/Turkish steam bath).
5 rings in the Medina, center ring is the 1- Mosque with central Fountain 2 - Commercial/working ring, 3 - residential area ring, 4 - walls (ring) garden and symmetry on the outside.
5 essential elements of art in madrassa - 1-marble, 2-wood, 3-plaster, 4-mosaic, 5-stained glass windows.
5 colors in the mosaics, black white, blue, yellow, green
5 hand of Fatima, daughter of Mohammed, good luck represents the 5 fingers and 5 pillars of Islam
5 times eating a day, eat before prayer.
5 stages of handicraft to be fruitful in your work Example of tannery work (lime processing, pigeon dropping process, dyeing, drying, final touches).
5 corner star representing center of light
8 life after death, paradise
8 gates to Paradise, the best gate 8 corner star, for devout believers and those who have practiced their beliefs.
Number 7 symbolism
7 days world created, 7th day is Sabbath
7 words you say in Arabic, translates to English "I believe in one God and his prophet Mohammed"
7 levels of earth and 7 levels of sky "We live between 2 sevens"
7 days of the week
7 prophets associated with 7 colors
Adam, black for original sin
Jesus, light black (grey)
Abraham, red (killed in a fire)
Noah, Blue (flood)
Mohammed, green (paradise in the desert)
7 bracelets for the bride
7 changes of clothes during wedding
Also - Sufism (also spelled Sufiism) is a Muslim mystical movement in which its followers (called Sufis, fakirs, or dervishes) seek to find divine truth and love through direct encounters with God.Sufism.
"According to Sufi tradition, we have seven souls, or seven facets of the complete soul. Each represents a different stage of evolution. There are the mineral, vegetable, animal, personal, human, and secret souls, and the secret of secrets."