NIMAR fotoselectie 0014
NIMAR fotoselectie 0014
"The Medina is called little Marrakech, since it’s only a fraction of the huge Medina in the other King city."
Rabat 7
Judith, student about her experiences of the Nimar-Minor:
First Wednesday in Rabat

We didn’t have to get up early this first Wednesday morning, since we only had to start at 1 pm at Nimar. From our home (dar) in Hassan, Sophia, Manar and I walked for about 15 minutes to the institute. Today we would go visit Rabat under the guidance of León, Anas and Hasna. But only before we had a lovely lunch, prepared by Fanida and her sister. They served l-hem bel barkouk with a side of peppers and zucchini. After a nice cup of Moroccan tea, prepared by Rachid and a presentation on life as a researcher in Morocco, we went for a tour through our new home town.

Spiritual VisitWe started off in the Ville Nouvelle, visiting the Saint Peters church. We were told that Christianity was only brought to Morocco by the French and Spaniards believers during the colonization, and the numbers of Christians had started to run back rapidly the last decades. However, the church services are getting more and more crowded since a great number of Christians who are coming from the Sub-Sahara region, are looking for a better life in Maghreb. We were told that their services are so nice to attend because of the clothes of the visitors and the choirs that many of us wanted to attend the ceremony this Sunday.

The great city of SaléWe also went to see the Hassan Tower and got a view of the new part of Salé: La Marina. This modern harbor with shops, restaurant and spacious apartments was developed to give the city a modern look, inspired by Dubai and European architecture. Salé, with 1.2 million inhabitants, used to be of more importance than Rabat (800.000 inhabitants). That was until Rabat became the capital in 1955. Salé then started to lose its former influence gained on Islamic science, and many rich people moved away to Rabat.

Kasbah: the Secret Dating PlaceMoving further, Hasna got to show us the Andalusian garden and the Kasbah of the Oudaya's. The latter is known to be a meeting place for lovers, since it’s still taboo here to meet up with the other sex at your own place before you’re married. And besides that, it’s a lovely place! Who wouldn’t fall in love there? Digesting all this information, we got another cup of Moroccan tea with some lovely cookies in the Oudaya.

Little MarrakechAfter our little break Anas showed us around in his neighbourhood, l-medina. He taught us that the Medina actually has an easy overview, since there are five main streets. Each of those streets has its own specialty such as food or clothing. The Medina is called little Marrakech, since it’s only a fraction of the huge Medina in the other King city. The little shops that are next to the markets used to be workplaces were the sold goods were made.

We were also told that all doors have their own characteristics that can tell you when the house was build and which family lived there. There can also be symbols, such as door-knocker in the form of genitals to show that the family has no problems with fertility whatsoever. Since a couple of years ago, more and more inhabitants of the Medina started to build entrance gates. There are many reasons for this, such as enhancing the privacy or safety of the people, or to make sure that their neighbourhood stays the same. Well, that is to say to keep out newcomers.

On our way home, after exploring Rabat in about five hours, we bumped into a huge demonstration of students protesting in front of the government. They were all wearing white jackets, which is part of their school uniform. This was very impressive to see. After we had done the groceries and prepared our meal in our apartment, we were really exhausted. We had a great time, getting to know so many new facts and stories about Rabat and the Moroccan life. This gave us a lot to think about, and triggered more questions on the Moroccan culture. But for now, let’s call it a day.

lla yemsek 'la khir الله يمسك علي خير