"Fantasia" fair in Ben Gerir

disegno di "Fantasia"


Fantasia is a typical Arabic fair. In a very large square, or in the open country, village men are the actors of the show. They wear traditional white dresses, and hold very old fashioned long barrel muzzle loading muskets. They ride dressed up horses, and stay in groups of 10-20 horsemen each. At a point, the group reaides for start, the horses line up pawing the ground, impatiently waiting for the go sign. When the Caid, the seremony master, gives the start signal, horses are launched for a brief but crazy gallop which lasts only for one to two hundred meters (a few seconds, indeed). In the end, the horses are stopped all of a sudden, with the horses prancing up, and the horsemen shoot a salvo with their muskets, trying to do it synchronously. Everything is finished in a few very intense moments, but a second group is ready for starting while the first group is coming back in order to recharge their muskets and be ready for another round. The public chats, cries, laughs, gets excited, makes comments, as in any popular fair in the world. The show is very dramatic, and you would like to see one more run, and one more, and so on. I was able to get inside the riding square (probably thanks to my camera giving me a professional reporter look smile) and I tried to take to shoot as fast as I could, because I had little time to stay there. Anyways, The results are here and I hope you enjoy them.

An important note: Every tourist in Morocco is lead to see a Fantasia show. This is in a all-in-one tourist package which is offered tourists in Marrakech, including a moroccan dinner in a fake Berber tent, a fake bellydancer show and a fake Fantasia show with some horsemen. We are not talking about this. Me and my family decided not to go to the "Berber evening" in Marrakech, we don't like that kind of things. This is the real thing, which we had the chance to come across during our bus trip. It was the last day of the organised tour, and we were riding the bus from Casablanca to Marraech. Everyone waas quite tired, but, passing thru this little village called Ben Gerir, we noticed something was going on. Our guide confirmed that it was a Fantasia fair, but the time was late and he suggested we should carry on towards Marrakech because we were late. Some woman in the bus said yes, we already had our Fantasia show in Marrakech, why bother stopping in this dirty place? Well, fortunately almost everyone else was stepping up and starting a mutiny to take control of the bus. So we convinced the guide to convince the driver to stop. After a few hundred meters of reverse driving (!) the bus stopped in front of the Fantasia place, but we were asked to be back in a few minutes. That was the only time I was the last to get up the bus... but I sure enjoyed avery second of the Fantasia show!





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The audience is gathering


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  Water vendor in action
for a thirsty knight


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Audience and horsemen


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  A Horseman


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  A Horseman


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A Horseman


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  Horsemen


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The group is ready to start


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Waiting for the go signal


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  Horsemen and people


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Go!


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The gallop


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After the salvo shooting,
back to recharge


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  Gallop again


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A Horsemen group




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