in fez, morocco, an oasis amid the bedlam of the ancient medina - the grill rust
The sun in the open market is very low, reflecting rust --
My wife and I are enjoying a rose.
The chairs on our roof dot the sky.
Suddenly, a nearby mosque issued a call to pray at night.
Within a few seconds, the other propaganda towers sent out more echoes, a sound that swept around us.
This is a clear reminder that we were in Morocco's cultural and religious center, Africa, which was once a large part of the Muslim world.
A moment later, the sound of life recovered, tappingtap-
Tap on the hot forging of the copper and brass market, the courage of the donkey (
The only non-human means of transport allowed in Medina)
As they clucked on the stone steps, the cries of the Hagar people on the herb and spice stands, the sound of 14 arched gates and 15 miles outside the walls, the modern world has long stalled.
The flashing lights of the Al quaraououine Tower, established in 859, are now the oldest degree in the world --
Awarded to the university.
The first French Pope, Sylvester II, was present at the 998 session and is said to have brought Arab figures --
The numbers we use todayto Europe.
In the 12 th century, the Jewish philosopher mymenides studied Torah, astronomy and physics here.
A plaque marked the alley where he was supposed to live and a small Chinese restaurant named after him.
We arrived in Fez that day.
A man took our bag from a taxi and brought us in half an hour.
Through the first door, then through the other, through a small bridge, deep into the maze of 9,600 narrow lanes within the ancient city walls.
Most people don't have a name, but our guesthouse turns into three blind people, turning along a dark passage known as the "seven twists and turns Lane.
Named after the nearby brass market, Dar Seffarine is an ideal oasis in the hustle and bustle of Medina.
Dar is a traditional large residential building in Morocco, usually two floors, surrounded by an open courtyard surrounded by columns and corridors, paved with tile mosaics known as zellij, there is also the carved and beautifully painted plaster known as tadelak.
This dar hotel has seven rooms, each of which has been carefully restored.
We had two rooms in our suite which was very magnificent.
Through an arch with towering wooden doors, the floor and some walls are covered with colorful zellij.
The rooms are surrounded by intricate calligraphy and carved beams.
The worn-out Berber carpet is paved at the foot, with a magnificent cedar ceiling soaring to a dome 20 feet high. Stained-
The glass windows near the top emit blue, red and yellow light beating around us.
We don't have a TV, we don't have a lock on the door, and the wireless network is unstable. Fi.
But that's the point.
Full breakfast available at home
Guests can meet in style and dinner is provided in the same way.
We have never had a moment of concern for the four nights here, thanks to the care of the owner Ala Saeed and his wife Kate cavarvik, who is a enterprising spirit
Saeed, an Iraqi soldier in Saddam Hussein's war against Iran in the 1980 s, fled to Oslo after fleeing Iranian prisons. There he was admitted as a refugee and became an architect.
After a professor advised him to specialize in Arabic architecture, he and Kate settled in Fez in 2003.
They bought Dar Es Salam.
It is thought to have a history of 600, but no one can be sure --
80 artisans were hired to repair it and power, toilets and other facilities were added.
It was abandoned for decades, so it took three years
And thousands of donkeys.
Make it livable.
This is a bold move.
Medina was a poor and daunting place at the time, and their dar was only the third guest house.
Due to the so-boom, there are about 200 people today
Known as cultural tourism.
Camel caravans used to cross the desert, bringing sugar, salt and gold to Fez from Timbuktu and elsewhere.
Now, the Chinese tour group arrives by bus.
But the medieval city is still a magical place, especially in the early morning and afternoon when the crowds are scarce.
On the first day, we hired an excellent guide Khlafa El Asefar (khlafa82@gmail. com)
Help us walk through the maze and show us historic tombs, palaces, fountains and museums.
There are two adjacent blocks in Medina.
9 th century in Bali (or Old Fez)
And 13 th century Fez el Djedid (or New Fez)
It once included a thriving Jewish enclave.
One of our first stops was a recently restored Little Synagogue, the last of the 17 that once existed here.
Asefar is very proud of how Medina retains its roots and vibrant life.
"We have 11 Islamic schools," he told me ".
"10 of them go back to the 14 th century.
"Another sign of little change: The Chouara leather factory operates, as it did before 800, using pigeon droppings and pomegranates to help soften cattle, sheep, goats and camel skins.
They are then washed and dyed in the well with the bright colors that dominate Islamic art
Jasmine White, poppy red, mint green, colblack, Indigo, saffron yellow.
"All spices, flowers and minerals," Asefar noted . "
At lunch we hid in another dar car, Nejjarine II, which was well fixed.
It is not enough that its theme can be summarized as too much.
Every inch of the land seems to be covered with glazed clay tiles, carved cedar or inlaid brass.
The waiter rushed in with our mezzo.
15 sep dishes such as salad, olives, beets, lentils, etc.
We came out wobbly after a steaming lemon chicken and steamed powder, a crispy pastry filled with shredded meat and cinnamon, and
It is clear that tourism prosperity and the designation of UNESCO as a world heritage site have helped Medina recover some of its long-standing heritage --lost glory.
The broken stone lane has been repaired, and the garbage will be swept up every night and dragged out with a donkey.
The police have greatly reduced the crime, and after thousands of kilns, bakeries and forges have changed from wood to gasoline, the air is filled with the smell of spices, not smoke.
Local residents have used government subsidies to restore many houses, some of which have lush gardens, and shops have replaced sliding steel doors with traditional wooden blinds.
The next day, when we explored alone, my wife and I found a polite "Salaam Alaikum! ” —
May you be safe
Armed with annoying salesmen and boaters
We got mint tea and endless hospitality when we got lost in bed.
"I feel like I'm playing video games," My wife said when we mistakenly returned to the same noisy square three times.
Once, a djellaba man with a headscarf suddenly pulled my arm.
When I called the police, he pointed behind me.
He saved me and wouldn't let me get knocked down by a donkey with a bunch of bricks on his back.
"Barack," he said. Be careful.
Back in Dahl, I sat down and said under an orange tree in the garden, let him tell me about the city of this ancient city wall.
It seems to me that Medina is pure confusion, an attack on the senses. The 57-year-
The old architect advised me to look through his eyes.
"This is a pure Islamic city," he began . "
"They cover these women.
They also built the house.
A closed architecture.
All the windows are inside.
All the decorations are inside.
"There are about 150 mosques in Medina, each with a common oven, a public bathhouse and a fountain, which is the pillar of Islamic life.
Behind them are open-air markets, or markets, and then hidden houses with lots of nailed doors.
"It is a functional urban planning," he said . "
"It's very organic, the mosque is a tree, everything grows from it.
He said: "The high walls of narrow alleys create cool shadows for the hot summer, and intermittent Reed or wooden roofs create a natural breeze.
This lane winds in this way as a protection against direct sunlight and occasional sandstorms.
These houses are also designed for the desert. and for Islam.
In the summer, families live on the lowest floors, where the floors are marble and glazed tiles, so it feels cool to touch.
They moved to Cedar in winter --
The room above is carpeted to keep the heat.
Our room was on a steep and twisted staircase.
Halfway through the road is a passage to a hidden niche with a complex iron frame, a place where future brides can see her suitor below.
The rich decorations in the residential and public spaces of the entire ancient city are only repeated geometric patterns or floral patterns --
All made by hand.
When I asked if it was a Moorish, he said with a smile that the Moorish was the design I had associated with the Islamic period in Spain.
"No, it's more than that," he said . "
"The culture of Fez is very rich because it is the center of the Muslim world, collecting art from the Muslim world.
The style of Woodcarving dates back to Egypt.
Tiles come from ancient Rome and Persia.
The flowers on the plaster are lotus flowers from India.
Calligraphy and arches are from Iraq.
"Saeed is driven by this extraordinary history and is rarely understood or appreciated in the West.
He said that his work in Dar Seffarine has not yet been completed.
"This is an art piece," he said . "
"I will not change it.
I'm restoring it.
"If you want to provide connectivity from LAX, Air France, Air America, Jet Blue, United Airlines, British Airways, Delta and Virgin Atlantic (
Change of aircraft)to Fez.
$1,215 round trip ticket including taxes and fees.
Morocco Seffarine, Seffarine, Fitz Medina, Morocco, 14 Debb SBA Luat; darseffarine. com.
About $102 per night, which includes a full breakfast and taxes.