FES FESTIVAL MILCHIL FESTIVAL

Her name was "Tislet", and his was "Isli". Their families were enemy Berber tribes from the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. Although they were lovers, in true Shakespearean tradition, their irate parents refused to allow them to marry. Their hearts were broken. To live apart was impossible.

Her name was "Tislet", and his was "Isli"

Their families were enemy Berber tribes from the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. Although they were lovers, in true Shakespearean tradition, their irate parents refused to allow them to marry. Their hearts were broken. To live apart was impossible. They sadly exchanged vows, then drowned themselves in two nearby lakes which now bear their names. Destiny wills that even in death, they are unable to unite. The imposing mountain seated between the two bodies of water acts as a guardian even as their spirits reach out for one another.

this act of desperation so devastated the hostile clans of the Berber "Ait Haddidou" that parents of this tribe thenceforth granted their children the right to choose their own marriage partners.

So unfold the story woven around the annual Berber Brides' Festival of Imilchil, held high in the lake plateau of the Middle Atlas mountains of Morocco. Each year in September after the harvest, from every corner of the Ait Haddidou domain, come young men and women in search of a mate.

The moussem, or festival, occurs near Imilchil, at the site of the burial place of Sidi Mohamed El Maghani, the patron saint of the Ait Haddidou. Legend has it that the marriage which were blessed by this holy man were happy and long-lasting thus the reason for the arduous trek to this isolated area.

At one time, this was an exclusive "family affair", with members of some fifty tribes from the region converging on the otherwise barren plateau for a Berber version of the family reunion and wedding celebration combined

Now, those outsiders hardy enough to make the grueling trip are also welcome to participate in the festivities, the affairs become now an international attraction for tourists from all over the world.

Itinerary
Romance in Morocco

Day 1: Casablanca / Rabat

Morning arrival and assistance by our staff at Mohammed V Airport. Sightseeing tour of Casablanca. "Principal city in Morocco and capital in all but administration" Casablanca is now the largest port of the Maghreb - busier even than Marseille, the city on which it was modeled by the French. including visits to the central market, the Habous district, the Royal Palace, the Mohamed V square, the residential area of Anfa and the Hassan II Mosque. Sea food lunch at the Corniche in An Diab (coast line). Afternoon departure to Rabat, the capital of the nation. This city in many ways is what you would expect: elegant in its spacious European in self conscious in Its very civilized modern ways. Our visit begins in the Medina with the Kasbah of the Oudayas. Visit the venerated Mohamed V Mausoleum, the Hassan Tower, the Mosque, and the ramparts and walls of the Mechouar surrounding the Royal Palace. Dinner and over night at the hotel.

Romance in Morocco
Day 2: Rabat/ Volubilis/ Meknes/ Fes

Transfer to Fes via Volubilis, the Roman capital of Northwestern Africa. Lunch in the interesting city of Meknes. Afternoon arrival to Fes with sightseeing of the Ramparts, the Gates, the Borjs (forts) and the Andalous part. Dinner is at the hotel, orientation meeting to follow.

Romance in Morocco

Day 3: Fes

After breakfast, full-day tour of Fez, The most ancient of the imperial capitals, and the most complete medieval city of the Arab world. FES is unique. It is a place that stimulates your senses- with haunting and beautiful sounds, infinite visual details, and unfiltered odors - and it seems to exist suspended in time somewhere between the Middle Ages and the modern times. Besides its electricity it owes absolutely nothing to the west. As a spectacle, this is an entirely satisfying experience. Visit in the morning, optional lunch at the Medina and shopping in the afternoon. Dinner and overnight at the hotel

Romance in Morocco

Day 4: Fes/ Azrou/ Ksiba

We will be traveling from Fes to Ksibah visiting the Middle Atlas Berber villages and natural sights. We will arrive to Tisi'n'Isly pass in mid-afternoon, a caravan of mules will take us up MtTarrirecht (3km) in the High Atlas to Imilchil where the Festival is taking place. A caidal tent is pitched beside the Chief of the tribe as an honor for us (the guests), also to enjoy all the ceremonies and the festival activities. Dinner is with the Berbers round a campfire. (Camping)

Romance in Morocco

Day 5: Imilchil

After breakfast we will take a mild hike to the breath taking plateau des lacs. We shall return to camp for lunch. Afternoon Will be devoted to the festival activities among the Berbers. (Camping)

Romance in Morocco

Day 6: Imilchil

After breakfast, we will take a morning walk in the mountains visiting the Berber nomads in their tents and sipping mint tea with them. Return to Imilchil for lunch. The afternoon is to share the happiness of the newly wed couples in a festive atmosphere with the indigenous Berber in their joyful chants and dances. Depart to Marrakech, dinner and over night at the hotel in Marrakech.

Romance in Morocco

Day 7 : Marrakech

After breakfast, full-day tour of Marrakech. Historic visit of Marrakech will include the Menara, a magnificent pool surrounded by flowers, reflecting the image of a beautiful Moorish construction built in 1866 for the dignitaries. See glorious sunsets with the Atlas mountains as a backdrop. Also, the pool is a functional irrigation system to the surrounding areas. The tour will see several impressive sights: The Koutoubia Minaret (the twin tower of la Giralda in Sevilla, Spain), the Saadian tombs demonstrating Moorish architecture in its perfection. The tombs, consisting of splendid mausoleums built in the sixteenth century, were walled for some time, not to be discovered until 1917.
Other sites include: the museum of Dar Si Said with the best display of Berber arts and crafts to be found; the remains of the Badii Palace, a historical monument chosen to host the annual National Festival of Popular Art, beginning the second Friday in June. The Bahia Palace still hosts dignitaries in the heart of the Mellah (Jewish quarter) today. Lunch at the hotel then a walk through the colorful souks of Marrakech in the afternoon. Conclude the day with a sunset drink overlooking the exciting Jamaa El Fna Square. Hassan's complimentary dinner at "Chez Ali" under Berber tents with fantasia show. Over night at the hotel.

Romance in Morocco

Day 8: Marrakech / Essaouira:

Departure to Essaouira (Mogador), a part from the immediate impact of sea air and the friendly animation of the town, the predominant images of Essaouira are of the Atlantic - of the rugged coast and offshore islands, the vast expense of empty sands trailing back along the promontory to the south, and the almost gothic scenery of the eighteen century fortifications. Lunch at Chalet de la Mer. Dinner and overnight at the Hotel.

Romance in Morocco

Day 9: Essaouira / El Jadida / Casablanca:

After breakfast departure to Casablanca via El Jadida / stop at El Oualidia. Relay and seafood lunch . Departure along the coastline to El Jadida - visit of the citadel. vestige of the Portuguese occupation during the 11th century. Continuation to Casablanca. Dinner and overnight at the Hotel.

Romance in Morocco

Day 10: Casablanca / Airport Mohamed V :

Morning departure to Mohammed V Airport with a memorable trip of a life time.

About Us

Casablanca Travel and Tours is a full-service travel agency dedicated to the idea that travel can and should open doors to new life experiences.  Whether we work with private travelers or large groups, we provide the highest level of customer satisfaction and value.

Our offices are located in Washington D.C., U.S.A., and Casablanca, Morocco. Because we are English-speaking natives of Morocco, our staff becomes your personal in-depth resource for knowledge about Moroccan culture and travel concerns you might have. [Read More]

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We've posted a number of times here on Gadling about the impact of movies as a travel motivator. In other words, which movies portray a sense of place strong enough to make you want to visit?

Budget Travel recently came up with their own top ten "travel inspiring" movies released in the last year, with the Bourne Ultimatum coming in at number one thanks to six countries featured in the film and an exciting rooftop chase through the ancient medina of Tangiers (above). Although Martha blogged about this a few weeks ago,[View More]

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