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New York Times: The Drâa valley in the Top 10 idyllic destinations

The Drâa valley, south of Marrakech, is in the Top 10 “idyllic destinations” visited this year, for reports, by journalists of the prestigious American daily newspaper, the New York Times.

The New York Times Style Magazine devoted a long travel diary to the region highlighting the natural diversity and richness of the Kingdom and its millennial past, under the title: “In search of ancient Morocco”.

“South of Marrakech, the Drâa valley still exerts an indefinable attraction by preserving the traces of its Berber kingdom, now almost gone,” wrote the author of this intimate article, the writer and journalist Aatish Taseer, who returned on his spiritual journey to the door of the Moroccan desert.

“We climbed the Atlas towards the south-east via Tizi n’Tichka, a road renowned for its panoramic landscapes and its steep spiral slopes”, says the adventurer who was accompanied by a local guide after landing in Marrakech, noting that “the Atlas belt that gives Morocco its twisted thorn also serves as a barrier between the worlds”.

Describing Morocco, the author writes that “half of this country faces the sea, under the influence of Phenicia, Carthage and Rome; the other half contemplates an ocean of sand, a world in its own right,” adding that “Arabia and Islam, from the east, have merged into the oldest element of the syncretic character of Morocco, the Berbers”.

Referring to the words of the South African writer JM Coetzee, who had declared in 2001 that “there is no simple landscape”, the traveler confided that in “Morocco, I understood the meaning of these words, because the landscape had become so diverse that it almost seemed to be a sort of shorthand of the myriad of natures of the country.”

“The ferric red of Central Africa appeared in furrowed hills covered with emerald herbs. In the same setting was a Swiss pine forest that led to high, steep mountains, with waxy, sunny snow peaks. The hills covered with burnt shrubs of a Greek island were home to large stocks of flowering cacti,” said the author.

“These impossible combinations, this endless variety – all of this, and not just one thing, was Morocco,” he added.

“It was as if the earth was being torn apart, revealing the full extent of its possibilities, continents colliding with each other, all in anticipation of the nullity and the open sky of the desert”, remembers this traveler amazed by the “magic of Morocco” reflected in the series of photos of natural landscapes which illustrates the long article of the prestigious publication. The Top 10 destinations recognized by the New York Times also include Tirana, in Albania, the island of Milos, in Greece, or even Antigua, in Guatemala.

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