Through Jade's Eyes

This blog is about the fictional character, Jade del Cameron (www.suzannearruda.com), and the historical time period in which she lives.

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Location: www.suzannearruda.com, United States

I'm the author of the Jade del Cameron historical mystery series set in 1920's Africa. Lots of action, intrigue, mystery and a dash of romance. Follow me at www.twitter.com/SuzanneArruda *The audio link (view complete profile) is an interview by Baron Ron Herron (9/17/2009, Santa Barbara {CA} News-Press Radio, KZSB, AM 1290

Monday, February 04, 2008

CITY GATES AND CARAVANSARIES

Most Moroccan cities have a medina, or “old city,” generally marked by towering walls punctuated by massive gates. These great city gates all almost are made in graceful arches. Our Moroccan guide, Ali, explained that they are designed to resemble a horseshoe because horses are sacred animals. Horses may be sacred but the donkey is more common. Loaded with baskets like panniers, they just clear many of the narrow alleys. When the animal’s driver shouts, “balek,” as a warning to get out of the way, pedestrians often need to plaster themselves against a wall or step into a recessed doorway.

In Jade’s time, there were locations within the city walls for housing both travelers and their animals. These caravansaries or fondouks (sometimes spelled funduq) were large structures surrounding courtyards. The animals were housed on the lower level, and the traveler, usually a merchant, slept above in common rooms. In this way, a lone traveler was assured some protection against raiders. Since most of the visitors to one of these inns were merchants, the courtyard became a place for selling wares.


Anyone arriving after the city gates closed at sundown, would join up with other travelers in a palm garden close to the city and seek protection in numbers there.


Next time: More Morocco Trivia and Tidbits

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