Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Moroccan Travels, Part Two... Meknes

Justin and I recently took a day trip from Tiflet to Meknes, only a few hours away by bus (a bit quicker by taxi, but we are on a Peace Corps budget these days!). Meknes was founded in the 10th century, but did not rise to prominence as one of Morocco's "imperial cities" until the 17th century, when the sultan at that time built beautiful gates, ramparts, palaces, and mosques throughout the city, many of which still stand amongst a beautiful countryside, earning Meknes the nickname "the Versailles of Morocco."

We spent a very short time here and definitely plan to go back, but below are some photo highlights of a busy afternoon.

Entering Meknes from the bus station, through the "Bab el Khemis."
Close-up of some of the beautiful tiles and carvings.
Inside the Musee Dar Jamai, a museum in a beautiful 19th century palace.
Close-up of some of the amazing carvings in the Musee Dar Jamai.
In the Musee Dar Jamai, a beautifully decorated traditional Moroccan room.
Habs Qara, a series of underground cells that was either
a prison for Christian slaves, or a place for
grain storage. Either way, a bit creepy!
The Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail, a sultan from the 17th century.
A beautiful fountain in the Mausoleum complex.
Bab Monsour, one of the most famous gates in Morocco.
Close-up on Bab Monsour.

In other news... it's starting to get HOT here. Which makes me a little nervous, since it's May and only the very beginning of the summer. Should be interesting! 

We are nearing the end of the school year, and Justin and I are helping to prepare some of Tiflet's high school seniors for a huge exam that they will take called the Baccalaureate. The score that they make on this exam largely determines their prospects for careers or future technical/university studies. One section of the exam consists of English language testing, so we're trying to do as much as we can to help them, ranging from grammar review classes, to open tutoring sessions, to weekly practice tests. The exam is about a month away, so we'll see how it goes. More updates to come soon!

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