Last May, The New York Times Style Magazine devoted a long travel diary, highlighting the Kingdom’s natural diversity and richness and its thousand-year-old past, under the title: “In Search of Ancient Morocco”.
“South of Marrakech, the Draa Valley still holds an undeniable attraction, preserving traces of its Berber kingdom, which has now almost disappeared,” wrote the author of this intimate article, writer and journalist Aatish Taseer, who looked back on his spiritual journey at the gateway to the Moroccan desert.
“We climbed up the Atlas Mountains towards the south-east via Tizi n’Tichka, a road renowned for its panoramic landscapes and steep spiral slopes,” says the adventurer, who was accompanied by a local guide after landing in Marrakech, noting that “the Atlas belt that gives Morocco its twisted spine also serves as a barrier between worlds.”
Describing Morocco, the author writes that “half of this country faces the sea, under the influence of Phoenicia, Carthage and Rome; the other half contemplates an ocean of sand, a world of its own”, adding that “Arabia and Islam, originating in the East, have merged into the oldest element of Morocco’s synthetic character, the Berbers”.
Referring to the words of South African writer J.M. Coetzee, who said in 2001 that “there is no such thing as a simple landscape,” the traveler confided that “in Morocco, I understood the meaning of these words, because the landscape had become so diverse that it almost seemed to be a kind of shorthand for the country’s countless natures.” The traveler said that “Morocco is a country that is a part of the world.”
“The iron red of Central Africa appeared in furrowed hills covered with the emerald herbs. In the same setting was a forest of Swiss pines that led to high, steep mountains with sunny, waxy snow peaks.
The burnt shrub-covered hills of a Greek island were home to large stocks of cactus flowers,” the author continues.
“These impossible combinations, this infinite variety – all this, and not one thing, was Morocco,” he points out.
“It was as if the earth was being torn apart, revealing the full extent of its possibilities, continents crashing with each other, all in anticipation of the void and open sky of the desert,” recalls the traveler, who was amazed by the “magic of Morocco” reflected in the series of photos of natural landscapes that illustrate the long article in the prestigious publication.
The New York Times’ Top 10 destinations also include Tirana, Albania, the island of Milos, Greece, and Antigua, Guatemala.