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Moroccan Architecture

Moroccan Architecture

History and Style

Moroccan architecture is rich, alluring, and as varied as the landscape of the country itself. Its long history of indigenous Berber people and a series of foreign invaders as well as religious and cultural influences have shaped the countries architectural styles. The architecture can range from ornate with bold with colors to simple, clean lines with earth tones. Morocco’s architecture has been described as exotic, majestic, eclectic, contemporary and traditional a true mix.

Influences from the Arab world, Spain, Portugal and France are still can be seen in Moroccan architecture, both on their own and blended with Berber and Islamic styles. Among the buildings, and old Kasbah walls, sit French style-towns left behind by colonization and intersect with intricately detailed mosques and riad-style homes. Still, sleek, modern designs are being constructed in cities like Rabat and Casablanca that give no particular homage to any of the past Moroccan architecture styles.

Some distinctive features of Moroccan architecture include geometric patterns and bright colors, most notably in the tiles known as zelij; ornamental Islamic calligraphy, open court yards with lush gardens; and U-shaped entries and large domes. Travelers most often note the finest architecture in the country would be found in Fes and Marrakesh, especially at the mosques with the imposing minarets, elaborate madrassas and palaces. A few places to take in the best examples of Moroccan architecture in these cities include El Bahia Palace and the Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakesh, Nejjarine Square, Saadian Tombs and Andalous Mosque in Fes. The Museum of Moroccan Arts in Fes is also highly recommended, as much for the building as for the exhibits themselves.

Experiencing Moroccan architecture in other places is as easy as walking down any street in the city or towns. From government buildings that have stately and ornate outer appearances with imposing Romanesque columns and intricate ornamentation to a walk through one of the ancient gates with its smooth, red clay walls and tall U-shaped arches. Excellent examples of varied styles of Moroccan architecture in Rabat can be found in the Mohammed V Mausoleum, the Kasbah of the Oudaias.

The oldest examples of Moroccan architecture are found among the Atlas Mountains in the ancient Kasbahs and old villages. The walls of the Kasbahs, once used as forts and later becoming palaces are made of sun-dried brick in rich red clay tones, similar to the many gates found in some of the larger cities along the coast. Although the walls and buildings are massive, they manage to become part of the landscape rather than arresting it.

Perhaps the strongest influence on Moroccan architecture, both old and more modern is the Islamic design elements. Sweeping calligraphy of Quranic verses, extremely detailed friezes of flowers and geometric patterns are unique features, not only of mosques but many other types of buildings as well. Even in the mosques, where Islamic influences reign; the traditional Moroccan tiles with their own design and color aesthetic are incorporated into the fountains used for purifying the body for prayer and in other parts of the building.

Hispano-Moorish architecture has also made deep roots in Moroccan architecture. Brought into Morocco during the Almoravid dynasty over the straight of Gibraltar, its distinctive style is characterized by sharp white walls, green stucco roofs among the arches and domes seen in other typical forms of architectural works.
 
The architectural elements of Moroccan design do not stop at the exterior building design or interior works of the walls and ceiling. Every door, surface and piece of furniture placed inside the home can be of the highest art qualities. Made using the finest earth elements such as iron and wood, using paints and natural colors of the landscape surrounding the place, Moroccans place a great deal of emphasis on all aspects of their constructed spaces.
 
Even on some of the plainest homes, a finely carved wooden door with elaborate is a work of art and invitation to the home of its dwellers. Inside, even more intricate wood carvings are found on the visible platforms that hold sadari, the long, soft cushions used as couches and beds. In the same respect, complex crown moldings and ceiling medallions made of plaster add a decorative element to every inch of the interior design.
 
Both the exterior and interior components of Moroccan architecture are painstakingly produced by hand by crafters from generations of Moroccans who pass their craft down from father to son. While the next generation make sure to add some of their modern ideas, the sense of tradition in how they are crafted will never die.

Moroccan Architecture Pictures

Bahia Palace Architecture Marrakesh

Hassan II Mosque Rabat

Mohammed V Mausoleum Rabat

Morocco Design Architecture

 

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