29th Day of the Omer — Chesed (lovingkindness) in Hod (Humility or Glory) We left Casablanca this morning with the ultimate destination of Fez, though we made several stops along the way. First we stopped at the King’s Palace in Rabat (one of approximately fifteen royal Moroccan palaces). The men in white outside the gates are of the Tworig (?) clan, for many generations the only group ever allowed to guard the king due to their extreme loyalty.
From there we visited the walled city of Rabat, the Casbah des Oudayas. We walked winding streets not unlike those in the Old City of Jerusalem, where I was especially taken by the beautiful doors. From Rabat (which we will be visiting again later in the week), we drove past Mouley Idris, the holiest site in Morocco to which a pilgrimage is made every year, en route to Volubilis. Volubilis is a UNESCO World Heritage site, founded in the 3rd century BCE, which became an important outpost of the Roman Empire. When the Romans left, later generations of Moroccans who did not know the Roman history, called the site “Pharaoh’s Palace,” a reference to the Pharaoh we know from the Book of Exodus and the story of Moses. There was apparently a Jewish community in Volubilis and we saw one tombstone from there inscribed with Hebrew letters. I’m not one usually interested in ancient ruins, so when I say this place was breathtaking and mindboggling, believe me, it was — you would surely think so, too. Again, the photos won’t do it justice since you won’t see the vastness of the site.
In 1755, an earthquake which destroyed Lisbon also covered over this entire site in Morocco. From 1915-1931, the French excavated 1/3 of the city. It is unlikely that the rest of it will ever be excavated, as this is not a Moroccan priority. From Volubilis, we drove 1-1/2 hours to Fez, which we will have an opportunity to explore tomorrow.
I’ve been having WIFI problems and it’s late, so I just want to get this off. It may be that I won’t be able to post any photos with this.