Mosques, Palaces, Monuments, Fountains:

Marrakech



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The Koutubia square and Minaret.
The Koutubia is the
main Marrakech Mosque

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Koutubia Minaret


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Great inner court,
Bahia Palace - Marrakech

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Two fountains in the court
Bahia Palace - Marrakech
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Moorish Decorations in a cloister
Bahia Palace - Marrakech

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Cloister fountain
Bahia Palace - Marrakech

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Internal wall decorations
Bahia Palace - Marrakech

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  Cloister
Bahia Palace - Marrakech

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A bedroom
Bahia Palace - Marrakech

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Saadian Tombs - Marrakech

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  Saadian Tombs - Marrakech

 


Fes


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Koranic School in Fes
Cloister with pool

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Cloister
Koranic School in Fes

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Decorated wall
Koranic School in Fes

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  Noble Palace in Fes
Cloister

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  A public fountain in
Fes Medina

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  Great Doorgate in a
Fes Mosque

 
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  The Seven Golden Doors
of the Royal Palace - Fes


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Golden Doors of the Royal
Palace in Fes

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  Bab Boujiloud - The Blue Gate
Fes



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Fes Kasbah



Volubilis and Moulay Idriss
Volubilis is an archeological site located near to Fes. This town was a rather important Roman settlement of Imperial age. Its name comes from the abundant presence in this place of morning glory plants (Ipomoea Violacea). "Volubilis" does in fact mean "twining", which is what morning glory plants do to grow. As a Roman archeological site this is all but impressive for an Italian touris, but it's nevertheless an interesting place, with a beautiful Arch, a nice view over the surrounding countryside and on the small town of Moulay Idriss, clinging onto the hill facing the ruins.



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Volubilis ruins

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Volubilis ruins

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  Three columns in Volubilis,
Moulay Idriss in the background.
Seen the stork nest on top?

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 The ancient Roman road
to Volubilis

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  Caracalla Arch in Volubilis

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  Public fountain in
Moulay Idriss


Meknes


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Bab el Mansour Gate

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Bab El Mansour Gate - Detail

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  Bab El Mansour Gate - Detail

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  Another monumental Gate in Meknes

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El Hedim Square - Meknes
The busy side of it

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  El Hedim Square - Meknes
The quiet side of it

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 Meknes - The ancient Royal Stables
Their roof came down due to the
great Lisbon Earthquake in 1755

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  Meknes - Ancient Royal Stables

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  The ancient Royal
Grain Warehouses(*) in Meknes

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  A tourist group in the
warehouses


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  Warehouses - Inside view
(without tourists)

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  Moulay Ismahil Mausoleum
Meknes
 
 
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   Moulay Ismahil Mausoleum
Meknes

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  Moulay Ismahil Mausoleum
Praying Niche


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  Meknes - The "Corridor"
between the outer walls and
the Royal Palace walls



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Meknes - Another Gate




Rabat


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  Mohammed V Mausoleum
Rabat

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  The thousand columns of the
unfinished Mosque. The Hassan Tower
in the background 

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  A beautiful fountain
close to Mohammed V Mausoleum


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The Royal Palace, current
residence of the King of Morocco


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  The Royal Palace


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  Entrance Gate to the
Royal Palace




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The square facing the Royal
Palace at sunset



Casablanca, Hassan II Mosque

This really impressed me. This Mosque is noteworthy both under an artistic and an engineering viewpoint. Over 25.000 people can fit inside the Mosque, and almost 100.000 may stay in the attached external Square. Crafting the Mosque costed something around one billion Dollars at the time of building, and most of the money was collected as spontaneous donations of the Moroccan common people. More than 10.000 craftsmen worked for over 13 years to build and decorate this piece of artwork. Its 200 mt high Minaret is the talles in the world. This building may stand besides St. Peter in Rome or Notre Dame in Paris without blushing.

But what impressed me most is that it was built in the eighties, and opened to the public in 1993. I don't want to draw political or ideological conclusions out of this, anyone can think what they want. I don't think our western civilisation might build something comparable today. We can build the Channel Tunnel, the Messina Bridge, but not a similar Church. I don't say it's good or bad, as I don't think it's a simple judgement. Make a judgement about it yourself.




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  Hassan II Mosque: an attempt to a
total view. It's made stitching two pics
together, as I couldn't get far enough...

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  The Minaret

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  The Minaret (different view)

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  The Mosque's basement

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A partial view of the great
square facing the Mosque

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  The back part

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Two monumental Doors
(See the dimensions!)

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Inside the basement, under
the main Aisle

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A Hammam (turkish bath) inside
the Mosque

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  Hassan II Mosque: The
main Aisle

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Hassan II Mosque: a view
of the side Aisle

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Hassan II Mosque:
Internal details

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The huge metal gate portal
opens automatically sliding
upwards!

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Hassan II Mosque: detail
of a ceiling and chandelier

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Hassan II Mosque: the balaustrade
leading to the exit

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Hassan II Mosque: internal
view of the basement

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   Hassan II Mosque: internal
view of the basement

Tafraout
We arrived there after an exhausting four hours drive thru the Atlas mountains. Delusion was the first feeling: "There's nothing to be seen!" But after a while you discover those pinkish-ochre-red buildings immersed amidst a chaos of pinkish-ochre-red massive granite boulders which seem to have been scattered there by an uncaring giant hand. This is the reward for your trip: not Tafraout as such, but the amazing surroundings where the small village is laying.

A few (but very hard) unpaved kilometers apart from Tafraout there's the artwork of a Belgian ambient artist. You can see that here.


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Tafraout: Buildings and rocks

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Tafraout: The Mosque

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Tafraout: A Palace




(*) The royal warehouses in Meknes is a huge building attached to the ancient royal stables. The 1755 earthquake which destroyed the stables' roof, did nothing to the stout structures of this building. Walls are so thick that the internal temperature is constant the year round, fixed at 13 Celsius. The warehouses were built to stock huge quantities (see the pics...!!!) of grains and other foodstuff (like olives), which could preserve for a long time thanks to the stable (and rather low, for that climate) temperature.

This kind of buildings is quite common throughout Northern Africa because Berber people needed to stock food from the good years to preserve it for the bad ones. Another example are the Medenine (Tunisia) warehouses, which you can see in a picture down here, which I took during a recent trip in Djerba. They were "family" warehouses, so they are considerably smaller than the royal Meknes ones. Nowadays, they are used as  souvenir shops...


i granai di Medenine
Family grain warehouses in Medenine, Tunisia


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