Saturday, April 07, 2007  

Fes, mon amour...

Yet even as it opens, Fez remains a hidden city. High windowless walls hem narrow passageways adorned with flowing Arabic scripts, impenetrable to the outsider. Many men are hooded, many women veiled. In its hundreds of mosques, barred to non-Muslims, worship proceeds beyond public view. Talismans protect from the unseen world of djinns.

An “enchanted labyrinth sheltered from time,” was the reverent assessment of the writer Paul Bowles, who lived in Tangier.

Fez speaks in symbols. Few places on Earth seem so imbued with buried meanings: in the patterns of hand-knotted carpets; in the tattooed faces of Berber peasant women; in the cosmic swirls of carved plaster in its architecture; in the voices of traditional Sufi and Gnawa singers; in the techniques of expert craftsmen; in the ingredients of its cuisine.
From the NYT

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