Posts tagged ‘North Africa’

Bahia Palace

Built in the 1890’s by a powerful grand vizier, the Bahia Palace in Marrakech isn’t particularly large, but its interior decoration of zellij tiling, stucco plaster-work and carved/painted cedar-wood is nevertheless beautiful. It’s not difficult to see why the Riad style complex of interconnecting courtyards, private rooms and passageways stirred such feelings of jealousy in Abdel Aziz, the ruling sultan, that he had the palace stripped and looted upon the death of the grand vizier.

© Mark Simms Photography (2015)

Saadian Tombs

As the ruling dynasty in Morocco for much of the 16th and 17th centuries, the Saadians were noted for their extravagant tastes. Their tombs in Marrakesh, which were only re-discovered in the 1920’s, are testament to this fact with plenty of ornate decoration: carved cedar, stucco work and colourful mosaic tiling.

© Mark Simms Photography (2015)

Koutoubia Mosque

The Koutoubia Mosque is one of Marrakech’s oldest buildings, dating back to the 12th century. It’s minaret formed the blueprint for the Giralda in Seville, which I posted about a couple of years ago.

Unfortunately, as with nearly all mosques in Morocco, non-Muslims are not allowed to enter the Koutoubia. To be honest I found this mildly annoying……we’ve visited mosques in Cairo, Jordan, Istanbul and Old Delhi before now, without any of the restrictions that apply in Morocco.

Koutoubia Mosque, Marrakech, Morocco, North Africa

Koutoubia Mosque, Marrakech, Morocco, North Africa

Koutoubia Mosque, Marrakech, Morocco, North Africa

© Mark Simms Photography (2015)

Souks of Marrakech

The souks are the beating heart of Marrakech. This labyrinth of alleyways and small squares cover much of the northern half of the medina (or old town). It’s a real hive of activity with thousands of market traders, stall holders, craftsmen and workshops all vying for space and attention.

It’s a fascinating place to wander around, but as a tourist it can also be a bit of an endurance test – you will get lost and you will get hassled. But if you can stay patient, try to maintain a sense of humour and keep your wits about you then the experience will be rewarding: 

© Mark Simms Photography (2015)

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