Smara, the Forbidden City: Being the Journal of Michel Vieuchange While Travelling Among the Independent Tribes of South Morocco and Rio De Oro (Ecco Travels)

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9780880011464: Smara, the Forbidden City: Being the Journal of Michel Vieuchange While Travelling Among the Independent Tribes of South Morocco and Rio De Oro (Ecco Travels)
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Travel, Adventure, Journal

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They say all true stories end in death. Smara, The Forbidden City is a true story. In the fall of 1930, a young Frenchman named Michel Vieuchange staggered out of the Moroccan desert into the town of Tiznit where he collapsed, wracked by dysentery; a few days later, he was dead. Two months earlier, on the evening of September 10, Vieuchange had stripped off his European clothing, draped himself in the costume of a Berber woman, and set off into the unexplored regions of southern Morocco. His goal: discovering the mysterious ruins of Smara, a great walled city that had been built and then abandoned centuries before. Mentioned only as a stopping place for nomads, the city's exact location was not known, and no European had ever laid eyes on it. Vieuchange was determined to be the first.

Driven by romanticism, the poetry of Rimbaud and Whitman, and the philosophy of Nietzsche, Vieuchange sought to test himself against the dangers and discomforts of the North African desert in pursuit of a dream. At that time, warring tribes inhabited southern Morocco, and travel there was a perilous undertaking. Speaking neither Berber nor Arabic, Vieuchange wandered for weeks in the desert at the mercy of his guides. When at last he reached Smara, he could stay for only three hours. Was this brief glimpse of a ruined city worth the price of his life? Read Vieuchange's chronicle of his journey, published as Smara, The Forbidden City, and decide for yourself.

Language Notes:

Text: English, French (translation)

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Vieuchange, Michel; Vieuchange, Jean
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Michel Vieuchange; Jean Vieuchange
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