This is the First stage Atlas Trekking


Leo Notes

Atlas Notes

Cristel Notes

While Leo visited Marrakech on several occasions, his motivations for coming at the early stages of the Sa'adian rise (before 1524 and their capture of marrakech of course!) were those of an ambassador:

"I was traveling then, leaving the army of the King, and going to Marrakech to tell the ruler and the Sharif Prince that the king was on his way, so that they could prepare for his arrival and for the upcoming battle with the Portuguese" (Leo, 125)

Leo's Marrakech was a rather decrepit one, a city whose earlier times of glory had faded, and whose future times were still in the making (as the rising Sa'dian dynasty would make it its capital). Leo looks upon this fallen city which much empathy:

" [There once was ] a great beautiful garden with many types of flowers and trees. There was a square bungalow, entirely made of marble, at the heart of which stood a column holding a marble lion out of whose mouth came a constant stream of clear water. At each corner of the bungalow there was a white marble leopard. This marble is found in only one area of the Atlas, 150 miles from Marrakech. (...) There are only a few remnants of this city's past, but these attest to the pomp and glory of Marrakech at the time of El Mansor. Today, all these beauties are home to crows, owles and other birds. And this magnificent garden has become the city dumpster!" (Leo, 106)

Only the Koutoubia, the city's most magestic mosque still stood uncorrupted:

"Inside the tower [minaret] there are seven beautiful rooms, each above the other. The ramp is perfectly lit as there are many carefully decorated windows, which are bigger from the inside than from the outside. At the top of the tower there is a smaller tower in the shape of a pyramid. It has three floors which one can climb to using the wooden staircase. At the top of this pyramid there stands a long branch which holds three golden globes, each smaller than the one below it. All three weigh 93 Italian pounds (31 kilos). At the top of this pyramid, one can look down, as if looking out from a ship. Below, men seem as short as little children. You can see the mountain of Safi, 130 miles from Marrakech [Safi is a port on the Atlantic].

Inside, the temple is not particularly ornate. The ceiling is made of sculpted wood, as they do in Italian churches. Truly, this is one of the most beautiful temples in the world." (Leo, 101)


This description of the Koutoubia as seen from inside is a real treat for all non-muslims who are not allowed to visit mosques in Morocco.