Sacred Music Festival 2009

The spirit of Morocco’s ancient holy city of Fes inspired the creation of the Sacred Music Festival. It is now recognised as one of the world’s great musical events, with visitors converging on the city from all over the globe for the festival week. They come for intimate performances that take place under a great Barbary oak in the gardens of the Batha Museum – and for big events staged with Arabian Nights splendour in the Bab Makina palace courtyard.

In 2009, the Fès Festival’s theme is built around the Tree of Life – as universal a symbol among different cultures as music. This year’s lineup of performers brings many branches to the tree from across the globe and features, among others, Lebanese singer Marcel Khalifé; American gospel star Marwa Wright; The Whirling Dervishes of Konya from Turkey; and pre-Christian Celtic legends from Loreena McKennitt, as well as dancers and musicians from India, Iran, Spain, and several other countries.

For more information and complete schedule visit the official website:

Batha Museum in Fez

This Hispano-Moorish palace dating from the end of the XIXth century houses some admirable collections of traditional art from Fez. Sculpted wood, wrought iron, sculpted plaster or decorative materials that are in fact works of art in their own right. Embroidery, carpets, jewellery and coins compete with one another to attract the visitor's attention.
But the museum's centrepiece is to be found in the pottery room. The most beautiful of all Moroccan ceramic objects were made by Fez craftsmen. Specialists in this technique since the Xth century, they invented the famous "fez blue" obtained by the use of cobalt. On a background of white enamel or highlighted in colour, the stylised floral motifs interweave in a manner that is as sophisticated as it is harmonius.Not to be missed: the astrolabes. These astronomical instruments created and prefected by learned Arabs, with all the mystery of a talisman and all the beauty of a jewel.
Dar Batha MuseumPlace du Batha FezTel. (212 55) 63 41 16

Wild nitght in: aphrodisiacs in Fez

Our search for better sex is never-ending. For thousands of years lovers have been on the look out for all kinds of magic substances, foods, activities and herbs helping to influence their erotic life. Today these substances are known as aphrodisiacs. Named after Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of sexual love and sensuality, an aphrodisiac is anything that turns you on.

When tourism becomes a marathon of visiting museums, panoramic views and tombs, its time to give it a break. Program a romantic night in and make your partner feel special. Here is a list of aphrodisiacs that might do the trick if help is required:

Chocolate: if only by releasing those love endorphines, chocolate can arouse amorous feelings. External application in syrup form can also help establish the mood.

Damiana: a wild yam, damiana is said to contain natural chemicals that can increase genital sensitivity and even induce erotic dreams.

Asparagus: Phallic shape aside, asparagus contains high levels of potassium, phosphorus, calcium and vitamin E, all of wich can contribute to sex hormone production.

Chilli Peppers: not only do they chemically stimulate nerve endings, induce sweating and raise the pulse, they can also stimulate the release of endorphins to bring on the mood.

Oysters: commonly believed to be an aphrodisiac, the obscenely slippery oyster is actually rich in zinc, which is an essential mineral that can increase production of testosterone.

Gingko: though often taken for memory loss, gingko can also help with erection loss. The release of nitric oxide widens blood vessels and increases blood flow.

Best for erotic massage:

Basil is known as an aphrodisiac with sweet energizing aroma. Basil can arouse the basic sexual instincts. The essential oil of basil is used for reawakening a sexual relationship, for erotic massage, and as an aphrodisiac for seduction. Blends with bergamot and clary sage.

Ylang Ylang is one of the most powerful aphrodisiacs. Increases libido and attraction between lovers. Gives energy and eroticism. Blends with jasmine, bergamot, rose, citrus oils.

Not so good idea:

Yohimbe: yohimbe bark contains an amino acid called arginine that can stimulate the nervous system and increase blood flow to the genitals. However, anxiety, nausea and raised blood pressure can put a bit of a damper on the proceedings.

Spanish fly: not a fly and not strictly from Spain. That basically sums up the lies behind this potentially deadly aphrodisiac. The illegal aphrodisiac of lore is actually made from the dried husk of a beetle. Its alarming effect is to produce irritation in the genital membranes, but it is also very dangerous and result in kidney malfunction, intestinal hemorrhaging and even death. Not so sexy after all.

Daytrips from Fez

Meknes was the capital of Morocco under the reign of Moulay Ismail (1672–1727), before it was relocated to Rabat. Among the most impressive elements of the imperial city was the grand gate named after the architect, El-Mansour, a Christian renegade who converted to Islam. It was completed 5 years after Moulay Ismail's death, in 1732. The design of the gate plays with Almohad patterns. It has zellij mosaics of excellent quality. The marble columns were taken from the Roman ruins of Volubilis. The story tells that when completed, Moulay Ismail inspected the gate, asking El-Mansur if he could do better. El-Mansur felt complied to answer yes, making the sultan so furious he had him executed. Its medina its much smaller than the Fes one, but its well preserved and a nice place to bargain for carpets.
You can easily get there by train, taxi or bus. Train is best and takes about one hour.

Volubilis features the best preserved ruins in this part of northern Africa. In 1997 the site was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. In antiquity, Volubilis was an important Roman town situated near the westernmost border of Roman conquests. The site contains the Mansion containing the mosaic of the Labours of Hercules, the Baths of Gallienus and Baths of Forum with their fragmentary mosaics, the House of Orpheus and its Dolphin mosaic and Orpheus Myth and many more amazing sights. Unfortunately is difficult to get there by public transportation, so its best to rent a car or arrange a private taxi.

Ifrane is a modern european looking and green little town with a very famous english speaking university, it is a good base to explore the area and in cold winter you can even do some ski in near Michliffen. The area is a very popular week-end destination for moroccans and therefore it is very busy on saturdays, sundays and holidays.

The cedar tree forest is unique. Today, unfortunately, it is only seen as a destination for a short excursion with chances to feed monkeys. Don't do it, and don't try to buy one, customs in the airports ain't what used to be.

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