07 December 2012

Rabat
Cathederal
Rain
Chellah

RR46pano

For today we had two things on the agenda : The Chellah and Sale. The weather was horrible, rainy and grey, so it was hard to get out of bed.

Chellah in Rabat

Chellah in Rabat

A late start with coffee and omelettes, but we finally started walking over. The Chellah is a fair walk on the other side of town. Along the way we stopped by the train station to buy our tickets for tomorrow. We also made a little detour to go past the cathedral and the flower market. Both were nice, but not very impressive
As the rain got heavier we pulled out our raincoats. We bought them months ago in Thailand, but had not used them at all. For today they turned out to be perfect, bar for the fact that we looked like a couple of twits.. Anna especially, in the yellow one, felt like Spongebob..

Not a bad place for the storks to live.

Not a bad place for the storks to live.

The Chellah suddenly pops up across a major road. After wandering though the new parts of Rabat, a great sight.
For thousands of years Chellah was a thriving city and port, but in 1154 it was abandoned and the people moved across the river to Sale. It was inhabited under Roman rule and under the Almohads. They made it a royal burial ground. The Merenids and sultan El Hassan (the black sultan) expanded and built the walls, gates, mosque and medersa.
Almost all of it is now in ruins, but bits here and there still give you an impression of former glory. The Minaret is still standing with a gigantic storks nest perched on top. The mosque no longer has a roof, but the arches are still there and remnants of the tiles and inscriptions remain.

I'm sure it looked better in Roman times.

I’m sure it looked better in Roman times.

The whole place is very peaceful and green. Overgrowing with grass, lemon and orange trees and flowers. Great views over the hills outside of Rabat, with more storks nests in the dead or dying trees.
Of the Roman construction is off course even less remaining. Outlines of walls from temples and bathhouses and a few pillars around the place.
In a corner are the domed tombs (koubbas) of four holy men, so called Marabouts. As non-Muslims we were not allowed to go inside them.

The eels have left the pool.

The eels have left the pool.

Next to this is a pool of holy water. According to the guide book women come here to feed hard boiled eggs to the eels in the hope of becoming pregnant. Not quite sure how the eels would help with this..
There don’t seem to be any eels around any more anyway, but is is a beautiful little spring pool nonetheless.

Storks all around the countryside.

Storks all around the countryside.

The weather unfortunately did not clear up at all. And even though the raincoats kept us mostly dry, they did nothing for our pants or feet. From the knee down we were soaked. Or shoes or not really waterproof and as we are just getting over a cold, we decided to go back to the hotel to warm up. This meant skipping Sale. Too bad, as it is supposed to be beautiful, but we can’t see every nice Medina or Medersa in Morocco.
And Meknes and Fes are waiting for us!

AA

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