Moroccan tales: His Majesty, Marrakech
• Moroccan tales: His Majesty, Marrakech
With some difficulty keeping up with the conductor, talkative wiry Arab, I wandered off into the dark covered alleys of Marrakesh. In the dim light, surrounded by the scattered garbage and rats running around, crowded any suspicious persons, smoked hashish and played backgammon. My person is clearly caused them genuine interest - the game stopped, and I felt the dozens of pairs of eyes scanning me from head to toe. Illuminated street left somewhere behind, and it only muffled noise echoing echoed by old stone vaults of ...
Somewhere in there, the couple turns, seething life. Frypot with food spewed flame. Thick fragrant smoke emanating from them, drifted down the street, because it tears in his eyes and wanted to eat. From somewhere came the whine. On the other hand it was seconded by deafening drums. Obsessive traders loudly shouting over each other, offering a rare tour all in a row: drink, eat, smoke hashish, go to the hammam, play cards for money, meet, have sex, get married, have a sleep, to tear out your teeth, take a picture with a monkey, ride a camel, make a henna tattoo, organize an excursion to the desert, to buy fake watches, some crafts sandalwood, leather sandals, or at least slippers and much more. They are like vultures, snatched his victims straight out from the crowd, pulling them into their shops, to push some things in hand, dressed in the head and neck, some rags, swore in friendship, and sometimes - in love, begged, threatened, in general, we do everything so that no one left them empty-handed. In the midst of all this madness in the arms of two suitcases stood somewhat dumbfounded Dimon, whom I before dissolve into the darkness of Marrakech, happily reported that, if not back in fifteen minutes - let him go straight to the Russian consulate. Arabic lad, for whom I hurried through the dark alley, was a helper - this is such a breed of Moroccans who obsessively trying to help, but more often simply pretend, then rudely demanding baksheesh - the money "gratitude" for their services. These spirited folks can be found throughout North Africa - from Egypt to Morocco. To accept their importunate offer - the last thing, but for us it was the only chance to find the booked more on the way to Marrakech hotels: get the GPS-coordinates led nowhere, the phone was silent, and understand yourself in the intricacies of local streets, where there are no, no names house numbers, it was simply impossible. By the way, it was the second helper, who volunteered to be our guide in the evening - the first led us into some lured his hotel, and then another began to brazenly extort big money for their services. The case went to fight, but to fight did not want to - I had to buy him off a couple dozen dirhams.
So began our immersion in the Moroccan reality ...
Even I, the experienced traveler, the validity of this beat on the head like a good club, wrapped in rags, - gently, but deafening. I even stopped to photograph - only in the evening, when we got to the ocean, they let me go, and I started to click the shutter pohlesche machine gun Maxim, well, while we were in Marrakech - just stared with his mouth open on the sides and trying to understand what's going on here .
We turned to some very very narrow and dark passage, then stopped at an unmarked wooden door. Behind it lies a different world - a quiet garden, and an elegant marble carving, the middle of which a small fountain gurgled soothingly. This courtyard so sharply contrasted with the world, which was on the other side of the door, that I for a moment speechless. So I learned that this riad: in the past the so-called palaces and houses of wealthy Moroccans now this word means traditional Moroccan hotel, located in historic buildings. Outside normal riad looks more than modestly - a bare wall and a small inconspicuous door, but inside - hiding the real palace with fountains, pools, expensive finishes and spacious cozy rooms. Included are traditional: a delicious breakfast, fast wi-fi and a rooftop terrace. Riads are very popular in the big cities - they are the account goes on hundreds, if not thousands. And each of them - handsome boyfriend. Helper got me a couple of euros - a generous baksheesh by my standards, and humiliating for the humble, after which a disgruntled retired. We were left alone with a sleepy owner of the riad, which is broken English told us that he de Receive our reservations, but the availability had no, pardon.
I stood silently and went over the events of the last thirty hours: round trip from St. Petersburg to Moscow first, then - in Rome, and finally - to Casablanca; infinitely long getting the car at the airport; the road to Marrakech; my stupid attempt to call in on the car in the medina - the old town, which is a haphazard maze of narrow, winding streets and alleys; parking and disputes about the price with the insolent valet parking; search the reserved riad first one helper, then - a second; and now I'm standing here, and hardly restrain myself not to run into a host standing in front of me, a huge ceramic vase, then smash it to pieces riad, burn the hell out of the whole of Marrakech and happy to fly home. Apparently my face at that moment very clearly convey the whole range of emotions overwhelmed me, so to avoid a looming international scandal with elements of self-mutilation, he quickly offered a solution: we can stay in the riad his friend. True, you will need to walk about a kilometer. I counted to ten to myself and let it out - your mother, but lead us already at least somewhere where you can take a shower and fell asleep! Less than twenty minutes, we settled in a beautiful riad located a few steps from the Jemaa El Fna Square - the central square of Marrakech.
In the heavy metal door was located a quiet street, the only inhabitants of which was a gang of local cats.
It was already quite late, so immediately after the settlement, we went to dinner at the Jemaa el-Fnaa. The entire area was boiling and seething, as if like a huge infernal cauldron.
We sat in one of the outdoor tents, where I ordered a traditional Moroccan dish - couscous. The food turned out to be the rarest of rubbish, and I swore to myself that no piece of shit in my life into his mouth himself no longer be relied upon.
After dinner, we quickly went back to our riad. The night was clear and warm.
In the morning I woke up early and climbed up on the roof to watch the sunrise.
It was incredibly quiet. Marrakech slept.
Finally, the first pink rays of the sun licked highest mountain in Morocco - Toubkal. Thus began a new day.
Marrakech city turned-werewolf. At night, he plunged into anarchy, some orgy going on outside. In the morning the whole city was transformed, turning from an ugly duckling, if not into a beautiful swan, at least in a delicious goose.
The symbol of Marrakech - Koutoubia, the largest mosque of the city, built in the XII century. The height of its minaret - 69 meters wide staircase leads upstairs, so that the muezzin would climb on her horse. Koutoubia translated as "mosque Booksellers". It is believed that the name comes either from Mechetnaya library, or from a book bazaar was in proshlomgde nearby.
Interestingly, the entrance to a mosque in Morocco allowed only Muslims - sits at the entrance to special protection, do not miss the infidels.
In Morocco, there is the concept of "imperial city" - this term refers to the city, which at various times became the country's capital. Marrakech - one of them. Three other imperial cities of Fez, Meknes and Rabat.
Marrakech's main rival in the battle for the capital has always been a function of Fez. Several times in its history, the country disintegrated into two independent states, each with its own capital: Fez and Marrakech in the north to the south.
Generally, it is assumed that the modern capital of Morocco - Rabat - nothing more than a compromise between these two cities.
Why the name "Marrakech" - is not known. Berbers believe that it is - derived from the Berber "Mur akush", which translates as "Land of God".
I wonder what Marrakech gave its name across the country. More interesting is that the word "Morocco" is derived from the errors in the Spanish pronunciation; it appeared at the beginning of the XX century, until that time, another name was adopted in Europe - "Kingdom of Marrakech." By the way, this way is still called the country in some languages of Central Asia.
But in Arabic the country's name sounds different - al-Maghrib. If translated literally, you get "where the sunset" if the meaning - the "edge where the sun sets." In general, the term is also applied to all land situated to the west of Egypt (as opposed to the countries located in the east - Al Mashriq, which translates as "where sunrise" or "edge where the sun rises").
At the heart of any Arab city in northern Africa is the medina - the old part, surrounded by a fortress wall. Medina of Marrakech is called "Red City" because of the reddish color of adobe buildings and fortifications.
Her heart - the Jemaa El Fna Square. Until the XIX century, there were carried out public executions.
In our time, Jemaa el-Fnaa - tourist site. Night here full of life - in the middle of the square in a huge street market with tents, restaurants. Going around jugglers, musicians, story-tellers, healers and other riff-raff, a pulling money out of gullible tourists. Everything calms down only towards morning. During the day the area relatively quiet and calm, her graze snake charmers and clowns jars watchful eye to look out for tourists.
It is worth paying them the slightest attention, they begin to brazenly extort money. And if you suddenly see that you are photographing them - be sure: so just leave you will not succeed.
The area is surrounded by a huge maze of streets, alleys and dead ends. They located the endless rows of stalls, shops and workshops of Moroccan artisans.
These shopping areas are indicated by the Arabic word "bitch", and there are no exceptions in any city in North Africa.
Typically, a large "bitches" is divided into several small ones, each of which focuses on a single industry: there - tanners, here - tinsmiths, then - sellers of spices, for them - gold dealers, and so on.
Moroccan traders terribly intrusive - they will miss your hands, putting on you any scarves or jewelry to haul in their shops. Escape from their attention almost impossible, their proposals will haunt you from early morning until late evening.
Our walk through Marrakech was obtained some crumpled. I struck out of the program has traditionally view the classic attractions, which usually lead all tourists, preferring the haphazard wandering around the medina. We wandered through the dark streets, rolled up in some flea dead ends, and tried to discern the real Moroccan life.
It turned out not very good, so spending in Marrakech a good half of the day, I realized I did not understand absolutely nothing, and hence the need to run, run without looking back.