In my first Medina post, I wandered among the souk’s pirated DVDs, alarm clocks and knockoff Apple products from an entrance near Parliament. This time around, I approached the Medina from the Bouregreg River and experienced the carpets, teapots and tempests of Rabat’s more traditional artisan scene.
At the entrance to the medina, a friend took me to Ali’s Bazaar.
Ali’s Bazaar, a dark little place at the Medina’s entrance, could fit into Rowling’s Diagon Alley perfectly: the overstuffed shop houses numerous curios, including quartzite fairy votives, burnished wooden figures, heavy silver jewelry and one lonely, broken lute. Stacks of chairs, tables and carpets loom from every angle, and make you feel small as a child.
(Pictures of up-close carpet, door, painted door)
Ali’s is also home to a menagerie of animals:
As well as soft leather wallets:
And wooden boxes that open only if Ali shows you how to find their keys and locks:
After exiting Ali’s (slightly claustrophobia-inducing) Bazaar, I entered a narrow street lined with birdcages, carpets and shoes. Vendors sold spiky pears while small chickens enjoyed hastily thrown birdseed.
As mentioned before, Rabat is overrun with cats. The Medina was no exception: on the day of my visit, this stripy fellow wandered over to say hello:
The cat was painfully thin, and on a Medina resident’s suggestion, I walked away to buy him some soft cheese. By the time I came back, he was being fed by a fashionable group of college-aged Moroccans who were exploring the streets with a bag of dry cat food. Despite his new fortune, the cat practically attacked my hand when I offered some cheese.
In a different corner of the medina, I found lamps made of old oil and coffee containers:
As well as textiles:
Teapots and other ceramics:
(Hello from my dusty loafers!)
Eventually, I had to say goodbye to the Medina. On the way out, I saw boys selling what looked like pieces of seaweed… until they turned them over.
Worms for fishing… hope you weren’t eating.
Next week, dear reader, we will explore Salé Pottery Center, the Medina’s colorful, intricate and busy ceramic source.
See more of Rabat through: