Morocco: Moyen Atlas Mountains
Bicycle Africa / Ibike Tours
  Morocco flag Sefrou: Berber Village (and now town)  
    Sefrou, MoroccoSefrou, MoroccoSprawling modern Sefrou is not what makes it historically noteworthy and a destination for cultural tourism.  
  Wall and Bab el Maqam (gate), Sefrou, Morocco Bab el Maqam (gate), Sefrou, MoroccoWall and Bab el Maqam (gate), Sefrou, MoroccoReflecting back to the recently visited communities; Midelt is a modern city, and Boulemane is a French mountain village. In comparison, the core of Sefrou is a walled, traditional Moroccan town. In 2013, it was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Wall, Sefrou, Morocco
    Bridge over Oued Aggai, Sefrou, MoroccoOued Aggai, Sefrou, MoroccoThe medina is bisected by Oued Aggai. Unfortunately, the river is used as a dump. It is filled with garbage for most of the year until the river "flushes" itself with the spring floods, and the town's trash starts it journey to becoming ocean garbage.

Upstream from the medina is a small cascade (far right). It is more impressive in the rainy season.

Waterfall on Oued Aggai, Sefrou, Morocco

Historically, Sefrou enjoyed some economically stability and wealth because it was a major stopping point for traders making their way from the Mediterranean to the Sahara Desert. The legacy is a vigorous and colorful souks, a labyrinth of narrow streets, many riads, stately doors and a welcoming and relaxed street culture.

    Narrow street, medina, Sefrou, Morocco Narrow street, medina, Sefrou, Morocco Narrow street, medina, Sefrou, Morocco Narrow street, medina, Sefrou, Morocco  
    In the residential sections of the medina, narrow streets, with whitewashed  and natural exterior walls create a simple and clean look.
  Interior, Sefrou, Morocco Interior, Sefrou, MoroccoTypical of North African architecture there is little emphasis on beautifying the exterior of a building or landscaping the surrounding land. Instead, the emphasis is on the interior, which is livened up with floor and wall tile work, colorful woven rugs and hangings, interior windows, ironwork, cabinetry, and furniture. The interior can become very garden-like.

By incorporating courtyards (right) into the architecture there is more open space in the medina than would be the simple conclusion from walking the streets.

Courtyard, Sefrou, Morocco
  Sefrou, Morocco Sefrou, Morocco Sefrou, Morocco Sefrou, Morocco Sefrou, Morocco Sefrou, Morocco
    The market has an inventory of a wide range of products: legumes, greens, tubers, fruits, grains, bread, pastries, multiple varieties of dates, clothes, head-to-toe accessories,  footwear, scarves, hats, jewelry, house wares, and the list goes on.  
  Sefrou, Morocco Sefrou, Morocco Sefrou, Morocco Sefrou, Morocco Sefrou, Morocco Sefrou, Morocco
    Big doors go along with medinas and stately homes. Because we haven't seen behind the doors it not certain, but probable.  
    Sefrou, Morocco Sefrou, Morocco Sefrou, Morocco Sefrou, Morocco  
  Sefrou, Morocco There are no parks and few public squares in the medina. Public squares are small and mostly occupied by vendors. Men tend to congregate in cafés. Women seemed to be the majority of shoppers and tended to congregate in the cul-de-sacs of the residential sections of the medina.

Sefrou, Morocco Sefrou, Morocco Sefrou, Morocco Sefrou, Morocco

Sefrou, Morocco
    Serving tea, Sefrou, MoroccoGlass of green (mint) tea, Sefrou, MoroccoThe drink of preference in Sefrou seems to be mint tea, but coffee is also available. Both are served with ample sugar.  
  Narrow street, medina, Sefrou, Morocco

Low, narrow passage, Mellah, Sefrou, Morocco

There was probably a Jewish presence before Islam was introduced in the 8th century. As a result, the trade routes the town became a melting pot of culture. The 13th century saw addition settling of Jewish Berber Moroccans and Algerians in Sefrou.

The Jews lived together in Jewish quarters of towns call Mellah. These were characterized by few entrances, streets with pinch points that they were two people to pass and very low, long, dark passages near the entrance so one could ride a horse into the Mellah. All of these were subtle security measures. The architectural features of the Mellah that made way-finding for strangers difficult and made it easy to block off access if the Jewish inhabitants felt that they were in danger.

Nowadays there is a mixed message about Morocco's Jewish community. People will proudly talk about how the Moslems and Jews in Morocco got along and the Mellah's in towns are known and remembered. But there are no museums to Moroccan Jewish culture and the Mellah is in disrepair, derelict and largely abandon.

Most of Morocco's Jewish community left the country when the French departed in 1956. At the time, in Sefrou, it is estimated that there were 8000 members of the Jewish community -- one-third of the town population. Now only a few Jewish families remain.

Causality is hard to attribute, but in the first half of the 20th century, Sefrou was said to have one of the most elegant medina's in the world. It has declined significantly since then. It is still interesting but it would not be described as elegant today.

Mellah, Sefrou, Morocco

Disrepair, Mellah, Sefrou, Morocco

    Stoking the furnace of the hammam, Sefrou, Morocco At the edge of the medina is a hammam (Turkish bath). These are a feature of most Moroccan and North African towns and cities. The man to the right is stoking the furnace. This hamman seems to cater primarily to the local population. In towns with larger tourism economies, hammans are being Westernized and re-branded as spas.  
    El Kelaa (ksar), Sefrou, Morocco El Kelaa (ksar), Sefrou, Morocco El Kelaa (ksar), Sefrou, Morocco El Kelaa (ksar), Sefrou, Morocco El Kelaa (ksar), Sefrou, Morocco
    A half kilometer west of the Mellah, beyond the median wall, is El Kelaa, another fortified community or ksar. Another physical remnant of the history of Sefrou and Morocco. The high bastions speak to a more unstable period of North African history.
    Olive orchard, Sefrou Province, MoroccoOlive orchard with cows, Sefrou Province, MoroccoIn the Sefrou Province, out of Sefrou and back into the agricultural country, northwest of town, toward Fes, the primary product is olives. There is mile after mile of orchard rolling over the landscape. It would not be enter cropping if the orchards are mixed with cows, but it is probably a symbiotic relationship.  
    The graph displays the topography from Sefrou to Fes. How you view it would depend upon which direction you are traveling, in either direction the slopes are generally less than 3%.  
    Topography from Sefrou to Fes
[Depending upon the quality of the underlying data graphs maybe only general representations of the topography.]

Middle Atlas Fes


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