THE IMPERIAL ROAD
The imperial road
We can only go through it by going back in time, of course, starting from the final result, Fez, Moulay Idriss, Meknes
- the imperial cities -, to go to the source of the original power, Tafilalet and Sijilmassa, as cult as Timbuktu, the mythical capital dissolved by the sands.
It all started in Morocco with the arrival of a young prince from the East, after the "dark centuries" that followed the decline of the Roman Empire, until the conquest by Tarik who gave his name to the strait between the two worlds that he will unify: djebel Tarik, now Gibraltar. Idriss, a completely real character, is imbued with this legendary halo that makes great destinies. Then the story bounces back with princes from Tafilalet, like him from the close family of the prophet.
View of the Merinides tomb, in the center we can see the high minaret of the Karaouyne mosque.
Royal Palace of Fez
Fez, Bab Boujloud.
Before an official visit, we give a little blush to this unrivaled city that has been shining for twelve centuries.
The place is very large and the wall very high. Two men are hanging from this large curtain and I still wonder how they painted the slots, so high! The reserved part reinforces the abstraction of the whole: something that comes from the fresco, from the invention of a cliff.
The roofs of the Karaouine, in long furrows of green tiles. One of the most famous mosques in the city, in its geometric rigor which protects the treasures of the interior decoration of an exceptional richness.
Karaouine Mosque, at the time of ablutions. View of the alley. The grandson escorts his grandfather, all dressed in white. But the child wears a Canadian shirt which contrasts singularly with the traditional attire of his ancestor, and remains pensive.
The first courtyard of the Karaouine seen from the roof of the neighboring Madrasa El-Attarine, because one does not enter the mosques of Morocco (except that of Casa, with attendant). Fortunately, access to madrasahs, educational centers , is free ; the look too, even if it is reduced.
A candle seller in front of the Moulay Idriss II mausoleum.
For centuries we have said "the kingdom of Fez", for the good reason that the double city is really a kingdom in itself, of which all the citizens are kings. Which had never simplified the life of legal power.
Fez. The doors of the Royal Palace
The tanners' souk. This difficult and tiring function is reserved for young people.
Fez, Medersa Bou Inania.
The Silk Road in Fez is first of all these immaculate rows of thread that have just taken their color. The white of these silky furrows dominates the muted colors of the city.
And when I saw this man who was spinning, his mind lost in thought, imbued with such serenity, I immediately thought of Gandhi, the garment in addition… He uses a material which seems elementary but which is perfectly adapted to the manufacture of a wire so thin, of which one makes so fine fabrics, that a whole clothing can be accommodated in the interior tube of a simple cane: some tenths of a millimeter. A substance without thickness, a dream.
It is the continuation of this long metamorphosis which transforms a cocoon into ceremonial clothing. This shop is such a complete color chart that I couldn't resist the pleasure of buying threads of all colors (I counted nine different blues…) wound on long swollen spools, works of art in their own right. .
A chameleon nightmare!
When the past revisited telescopes the living present: these young women, fresco of a living room of the Jamaï palace in its very recent version, meet this
bride of Fez, in her most authentic outfit, and her discreet companion. They moreover have more the appearance of Roman than houris, to enchant paradise. But the time, in both cases, is for celebration.
Fez, the Zaouia Moulay Idriss II, the holy place of Fez. Women come to take a share of Moulay Idriss's "baraka", often for a pregnancy.
Fez, The part reserved for the prayer of women at the Karaouine mosque. True place of exchange.
Fez, near the Zaouia Moulay Idriss II
Fez, the Talha.
In this fragrant alley, so lively, an obvious fact: these watermelons arranged like heavy artillery shells or shiny bombs. It is both the abundance of the Saïs gardens and the mystery of a form that can be interpreted as one pleases. The seller is benevolent, courteous, in front of the photographer who does not want to interfere but who cannot resist: he must have seen others!
Gold in a street in the medina of Fez? No, just the play of the reflections of the copper sheets that the copperware maker unrolls on the ground. Then he will cut them to the template of the trays to be chiseled. In the desert passage, it is a sudden illumination coming from nowhere
Fez, the place of boilermakers
Fez, the boilermaker and brass district
Fez. Bab Bou Jloud, and its famous purple color weathered by time, the most famous gateway to the imperial city, the most visited. It is the key to the city, its most direct access.