Posts Tagged ‘Moroccan Monuments’

Must See, Top Rated Palaces in Marrakech, Your Morocco Private Tour Guide

Friday, December 23rd, 2016

Must See, Top Rated Places and Palace in Marrakech offers the perfect Insiders Guide to travelers who are visiting Morocco on a Private Tour. Don’t miss out on some of Marrakech’s Best places that range for Palaces to ancient Mosques. Known for it’s magnificent palaces and old world decor designed by the Moors with Andalusian flavor, Marrakech is a must on every travelers bucketlist.

Marrakech is home to several magnificent, must see Palaces located in the historic district, also referred to as the medina. When visiting Marrakech on a Private Tour to Morocco these Top Rated Palaces are historically significant and offer a window into the former lives of royalty who built and managed these century old lavish homes. The palaces of Marrakech are essentially riads (courtyard homes) based upon the concept of Roman villas with lush interior courtyards, ornate architecture, hand crafted cedar wood and painted ceilings and succulent gardens. Marrakech’s palaces are typically surrounded by walls given this was a tradition of protection and to prevent those passing by from seeing inside. Many of the Marrakech palaces and riads have been been transformed into boutique hotels and guest houses.

Several of the palaces such as the Bahia Palace, El Badi Palace, Dar Si Said Palace, are historic landmarks, that have remained open to the public as to visit on a Guided tour of Marrakech. These palaces are also used by art organizations such as the Marrakech Bienalle and the Marrakech International Film Festival for both public and private events.

Bahia Palace, Marrakech

Bahia Palace, Marrakech

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bahia Palace

The Bahia Palace was built at the end of 19th century by Si Moussa, grand vizier to the sultan Sidi Mohammed ben Abderahmane 1859 -1873, as his personal residence. The work on the palace was continued by his son Ba Ahmed who was grand vizier to Sultan Moulay Hassan and the powerful regent to the young sultan, Abdel Aziz. They brought craftsmen from Fes who created carved and painted and guided wooden ceilings and reception rooms and numerous courtyards. The haphazard warren of rooms is partly due the growing number of official wives and concubines with their children. The most imposing feature is the vast courtyard used for official occasions and decorated with a central basin. It leads onto to gardens and palm trees. When Ba Ahmed died all his possessions were seized by the sultan and the palace is completely empty of fixtures and fittings. The Bahia has an imposing entrance through the main gate, which is just up from the Jewish Mellah. It was the headquarters of the French military during the French Protectorate and the American novelist Edith Wharton stayed there as a guest of Marshal Lyautey in 1917. The Royal family still uses the Bahia palace for official occasions.

Ben Youssef Medersa, Marrakech

Ben Youssef Medersa, Marrakech

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ben Youssef Medersa

Visit the Ben Youssef Madrasa, an Islamic college in Marrakech, Morocco, named after the Almoravid sultan Ali ibn Yusuf (reigned 1106–1142), who expanded the city and its influence considerably. It is the largest Medrasa in all of Morocco.The college was founded during the period of the Marinid (14th century) by the Marinid sultan Abu al-Hassan and allied to the neighbouring Ben Youssef Mosque. The building of the madrasa was re-constructed by the Saadian Sultan Abdallah al-Ghalib (1557–1574). In 1565 the works ordered by Abdallah al-Ghalib were finished, as confirmed by the inscription in the prayer room. Closed down in 1960, the building was refurbished and reopened to the public as a historical site in 1982.

El Badi Palace, Marrakech

El Badi Palace, Marrakech

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

El Badi Palace

The El Badi Palace was built in the 16th century by the Saadian Sultan Ahmad al-Mansour following his victory over the Portuguese at the battle of the three Kings in 1578. This epoch making event changed the course of history as King Sebastian of Portugal and his allies were defeated and Portugal never again held sway in Morocco apart from a few costal outlets like El Jadida, Essaouira and Azemmour. The Sultanate of Morocco was at the pinnacle of its power. Portuguese ransoms and captured booty as well as Sub Saharan African gold and the sugar trade paid for the construction of the palace.
Sultan Ahmad al-Mansour died shortly after the El Badi’s completion in 1603. He had asked his court jester what he thought of his palace and the jester replied that it would make a fine ruin. By 1690 this came to pass, as Sultan Moulay Ismail stripped the El Badi completely to adorn his palace in Meknes. What you see today is a mere shell but it does give a sense of the massive proportions involved along with sunken gardens and dungeons. As so often in Moroccan history buildings were destroyed by conquerors or successors building their own stately palaces. There are fine views from the towers of the Medina and the Atlas mountains. Storks nest on the ramparts as they do along the high walls of the Royal Palace adjoining it. The Marrakech Folklore Festival Son et Lumiere with Berber dances and music takes place in July in the grounds of the El Badi and its huge ramparts and walls provide an imposing historical venue. The El Badi Palace has a museum and exhibits of which includes and a 12th-century minbar that once stood inside the Marrakech Koutoubia Mosque.

The Royal Palace, whose high walls and gates follow on from the El Badi, is also known as Dar el-Makhzen, is part of the imperial grandeur of Marrakech. It was built on the site of the Almohad Kasbah, by the Almohads in the 12th century and underwent changes by the Saadians in the 16th century and the Alaouites in the 17th century. It was one of the palaces owned by the Moroccan king, and the palace employed the most accomplished craftsmen in the city. The rooms are large, with unusually high ceilings for Marrakech, with zellij and cedar painted ceilings. At the entrance is an ancient pulley fastened to the ceiling.

Dar Si Said Palace & Museum of Arts, Marrakech

Dar Si Said Palace & Museum of Arts, Marrakech

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dar Si Said Palace & Museum of Moroccan Arts

Dar Si Said, also known as the Museum of Moroccan Arts, is located to the north of the Bahia Palace, right from the Rue Riad Ziroun el-Jedid. It was formerly the house of the brother of Bou-Ahmed, Sisi Said. The collection of the museum is considered to be one of the finest in Morocco, with jewelry from the High Atlas, the Anti Atlas and the extreme south; carpets from the Haouz and the High Atlas; oil lamps from Taroudant; blue pottery from Safi and green pottery from Tamgroute and leatherwork from Marrakesh. There is also a fine small garden laid out in classic Moroccan style but the glory of Dar Said is the carved and painted ceilings on the top floor which are the finest example of painted ceilings in Marrakech. Some of the wooden screens and frames were recovered from the El Badi palace. Today in the Middle East, Moroccan craftsmen are sought after as creators of Moroccan carved and painted ceilings in palaces and corporate headquarters. Their craftsmanship was displayed in the New York Metropolitan Museum exhibition “The Moroccan Court” in New York in 2011 and in the following year at the Shangri-La residence in Honolulu as part of a promotion for Moroccan business and cultural exchange between Morocco and Honolulu.

Dar Menebhi Palace, Marrakech

Dar Menebhi Palace, Marrakech

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dar Menebhi Palace

The Dar Menebhi Palace close to the Medersa Ben Youssef was built at the end of the 19th century by Mehdi Menebhi. The palace was carefully restored by the Omar Benjelloun Foundation and converted into a museum in 1997. The house itself represents an example of classical Andalusian architecture, with fountains in the central courtyard, traditional seating areas, a hammam and intricate zellij tile work and carvings. The museum’s large atrium (originally a courtyard, now covered in glass and fabric) contains a very large centrally hung chandelier consisting of metal plates decorated with fine geometric and epigraphic cuttings. Several features of the original courtyard, including the floor-set basins and mosaics have been retained. The museum holds exhibits of both modern and traditional Moroccan art together with fine examples of pottery and ceramics from Fes and Moroccan Jewish, Berber and Arab cultures.
Dar El Bacha

The Dar El Bacha on the Rue Bab Doukala was the palace of the Pacha of Marrakech, Thami El Glaoui, who was Pacha from 1912-1956. He entertained the cream of western high society with parties at Dar El Bacha with Winston Churchill, Colette, Maurice Ravel, Charlie Chaplin and many others. As he collaborated with the French protectorate and contrived to remove Sultan Mohamed V into exile in Madagascar, he was and remains, unpopular to this day. Although Sultan and later King Mohamed V forgave him on his return from exile, all Thami’s properties were confiscated after his death in 1956. The Dar El Bacha is now a Royal Palace and a trade union federation occupies part of its imposing edifice. It was rumored that a museum was to open there but nothing has transpired. Many would like to visit this palace but it remains closed.

For more information about Marrakech’s Palaces on a Guided Tour

Morocco’s Imperial Cities, Seaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villages, A Taste of Morocco, Magical Kasbahs, Ruins & Waterfalls, Absolute Morocco, The Best of Marrakech, Fes, and Ouarzazate

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

Travel Exploration Morocco donates 5% of our proceeds to Berber Villages through our charity organization called Project Feed. We are an ASTA approved travel agency and has won several accolades for our travel expertise.

Morocco Expert Tours, Tailor Made Luxury Experiences

Thursday, December 8th, 2016
Morocco Luxury Riad, Dar Hassoun, Tarodaunt

Morocco Luxury Riad, Dar Hassoun, Tarodaunt

For travelers interested in discovering Morocco’s Imperial Cities and the Great Desert region, Travel Exploration offers Morocco Expert Tours that custom designed with the perfect amount of luxury and authenticity. Our Morocco Expert Tours are offered on a private basis and tailored for couples, families and small groups.

Travelers will uncover the cultural diversity of contemporary Morocco on a Travel Exploration Morocco Luxury Tour and see the country through the eyes of locals. Our tours offer nothing less then the extraordinary including visits to breathtaking Architectural sites, Berber Villages, Jewish Heritage momuments, Majestic palaces, and Glorious houses of worship and opulent gardens. As a traveler you will dine on exceptional cuisine and view traditional Moroccan crafts being made by local artisans and shop in enticing marketplaces.

When you travel with us you will experience the authentic. At Travel Exploration Morocco our bespoke, luxury private tours itineraries are detailed. They are extensive in their coverage culled from our on the ground, expert team of licensed guides. Passionately designed and chosen by the directors each itineary includes a well balanced experience of Morocco whereby our travelers never spend more then 4-5 hours in a vehicle each day. Our staff is Moroccan, American and European which lays the ground for your insider travel experience. Our Multilingual Speaking Drivers fluent in English, Arabic, French and Berber are from Morocco’s Great South or the Marrakech region. Our drivers are deeply knowledgeable about the history and culture of Morocco. They will open your eyes and share information not found in travel books. You will have the opportunity to exchange ideas and ask them questions about aspects of Moroccan culture that is hard to access as an outsider on your own.

Morocco Luxury Guesthouse, Skoura Palmeraie

Morocco Luxury Guesthouse, Skoura Palmeraie

As Morocco Tour experts we offer stays at luxury boutique riads and hotels that are well apointed in the historic districts of each city. There’s no better place to take it all in then to stay at boutique hotels and luxurious, riads in Morocco. Riads also known for their elaborate courtyard gardens that are intimate spaces filled with lush, leafy green flora and fauna often centered around stone or marble fountain filled with rose petals. Most of Moroccan riads have courtyards or gardens where roses and oranges trees grow. A Moroccan riad experience should be part of every Morocco travelers’ vacation plan. Riads serve as the perfect escape to read a book, enjoy a typical Moroccan meal, a sunset cocktail or simply decompress and take in the sights and sounds of an exotic setting when traveling to Morocco. Our country side offering include private guests houses that have panoramic views and showcase gastronomic and farm to table Moroccan cuisine.

Morocco Luxury Desert Camp, Erg Chebbi Dunes

Morocco Luxury Desert Camp, Erg Chebbi Dunes

For your Sahara Desert adventure we offer a 1001 Arabian Nights experience, fireside with music under the stars. Our Luxury Desert Camp has inclusive access to Merzouga’s Erg Chebbi Dunes and is private, for our travelers only. Our private Sahara Desert Luxury Camp is situated southeast of the village of Merzouga. Located just one-hour drive from the city of Erfoud. The Luxury Desert camp is in the heart of the impressive Saharan sand dunes, away from the areas visited by tourists. Hotel room comfort, traditional meals prepared by our Moroccan chef, and served by candlelight are just a snapshot of this once in a life time experience.

Our luxury tours are affordable. While the rates we provide are not the least expensive, they are lower then agencies based in the USA and Europe, with an exceptional value. Travel Exploration Morocco private tours rate better then those offered in Conde Naste Traveler and Travel & Leisure magazines for their inclusion of tax free travel, upgrades at boutique riads and hotels along with exclusive access to monuments, historic sites and rural kasbahs not offered otherwise.

Travel Exploration Morocco donates 5% of our proceeds to Berber Villages through our charity organization called Project Feed. We are an ASTA approved travel agency and has won several accolades for our travel expertise.

Don’t miss out on a luxury travel experience that goes beyond your wildest dreams.

Morocco’s Imperial Cities, Seaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villages, A Taste of Morocco, Magical Kasbahs, Ruins & Waterfalls, Absolute Morocco, The Best of Marrakech, Fes, and Ouarzazate

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

Morocco’s Museum of Moroccan Judaism (Jewish Museum) in Casablanca

Monday, November 7th, 2016
Moroccan Jewish Woman, Historic Photograph, Tangier

Moroccan Jewish Woman, Historic Photograph, Tangier

Morocco is known for it’s Jewish Heritage and the abundance of rich culture, artifacts and traditions left behind when the Jews fled Morocco in the 1960’s. What remains is a rich catalog of Jewish life inclusive of architecture, monuments, zaouias, museums, mellahs, shrines and craft traditions that command great cultural significance. The collective history of Jews in Morocco is one that has a connective thread with the Berbers and Moroccan Arabs, dating back to the Spanish inquisition. Morocco’s Museum of Moroccan Judaism (Jewish Museum) located in Casablanca is the keeper of some of this prized history. The Jewish Museum has an active roster of exhibitions, a permenant collection and Jewish library which make it an important part of Moroccan history available to Morocco travelers and Jewish travelers interested in understanding Morocco’s Jewish past. Moroccan Jewish Heritage sites are well appointed in the Imperial Cities of Marrakech, Fes, Meknes and Coastal Essaouira making them key cities to visit when touring Morocco. The synagogues, mellahs and cemeteries in Fes, Marrakech and Essaouira in particular hold a special place in the hearts of many Moroccan Jews throughout the world. These cities and their Jewish mellahs are the former birth place of their ancestors. Many Jews that currently living in Israel, Canada and the United States are originally Moroccan by birth, and return on vacation to visit Jewish Heritage sites or as an homage to revisit their past home. Moroccan Jews traveling to Morocco often visit shrines or places they or their family once lived. Given the Museum of Moroccan JudaismCasablanca (Jewish Museum) is the only Jewish Museum in the Muslim world, those interested in exploring Morocco’s Jewish Heritage should not miss a tour of its private collection.

Jewish Museum, Historic Casablanca

Jewish Museum, Historic Casablanca

The Museum of Moroccan Judaism of Casablanca was created by the foundation of Judeo-Moroccan Cultural Heritage in 1995 and opened its doors in 1997. The creation of a Jewish Museum in Casablanca attests to the plural identity of Morocco, a country revered for its tolerance, symbiosis and of harmonious coexistence between the Jewish and Muslim communities of the Moroccan people.

The Museum of the Moroccan Judaism of Casablanca is the only Jewish Museum in North Africa and the Middle East. Its permanent collection, constantly enriched by new acquisitions, renders a few parts of the daily life of Moroccan Jews of different regions. The museum demonstrates the remarkable Jewish community and their high level of strata, wisdom and knowledge. The Jewish Museum houses, scriptures, objects of worship, tools of arts and crafts, old books and a history of the traditional costumes worn. These Jewish artifacts illuminate to Moroccan travelers how Jews lived. The artificats also show the connective cultural traditions between Jewish Moroccans and the Berbers. Many of the items featured in the Jewish Museum’s jewelry and craft collection are tribal. Travelers will find similar tribal pieces in the Majorelle Gardens, Berber Museum.

About The Museum of Moroccan Judiasm in Casablanca:
The Museum of Moroccan Judaism of Casablanca is a museum of history and ethnography, created by the Jewish Community of Casablanca in 1997 with the support of the Foundation of Jewish-Moroccan Cultural Heritage. The Jewish Museum in Casablanca is in a residential neighborhood called Oasis and holds a treasure trove with it being the Arab region’s only Jewish Museum. It uses world-class standards of conservation for its national and international collections. The Museum of Moroccan Judaism presents religious, ethnographic and artistic objects that demonstrate the history, religion, traditions and daily life of Jews in the context of Moroccan civilization. The Director of the Jewish Museum is Zhor Rehihil, a Muslim woman, who has a PhD in Jewish Studies.

Jewish Museum, Casablanca, Tora Ornaments

Jewish Museum, Casablanca, Tora Ornaments

The Jewish Museum in Casablanca covers an area of 700 square meters, is the first of its kind in the Arab world. It consists of:

► A large multipurpose room, used for exhibitions of painting, photography and sculpture
► Three other rooms, with windows containing exhibits on religious and family life (oil lamps, Torahs, Chanukah lamps, clothing, marriage contracts (ketubot) Torah covers… and exhibits on work life;
► Two rooms displaying complete Moroccan synagogues;
► A document library, a video library and a photo library.
► The Museum offers guided visits, sponsors seminars and conferences on Jewish-Moroccan history and culture, and organizes video and slide presentations. On special request, it organizes group visits in Arabic, French, English or Spanish.

Casablanca Jewish Museum, Silver Fibulas, Jewelry

Casablanca Jewish Museum, Silver Fibulas, Jewelry

The collection of Museum of the Moroccan Judaism consists of Morocccan Judaica which consists of cultual objects and objects of worship of Moroccan tradition. The collection was culled from donations and research:

– Traditional Seating Area of old Synagogues
– Circumcision Chairs
– Moroccan Hannukkah, Menoarah Lamps
– Tora Ornaments & Torah Covers
– covers of the Thora
– Jewish Cemetery Tombstones
– Jewih Prayer Books
– Ceremonial Bar-Mitvah objects

Where is the Moroccan Museum of Judaism (Jewish Museum)located in Casablanca?

Jewish Museum Address & Contact:
Address: 81, Rue Chasseur Jules Gros, Oasis-Casablanca
Phone: +212-5-22-99-49-40

Jewish Museum Casablanca, Opening Hours to the Public:
Monday – Friday: 10:00am – 5:00pm/ 6:00pm
Saturday – Closed for Shabbat
Sunday: 11:00am – 3:00pm

For more information about Contemporary Jewish Life in Casablanca, Morocco or to take a Jewish Hertiage Tour

Morocco First Country to Recognize America, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Sunday, December 20th, 2015
Ibn Mohammed Ben Abdellah of Morocco

Ibn Mohammed Ben Abdellah of Morocco

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Kingdom of Morocco became the first country in the world to recognize America as an independent nation on December 20th, 1777. A year and a half after the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1786, United States Minister Thomas Barclay and Sidi Muhammad Ibn Abdullah, the Sultan of Morocco, penned a treaty of friendship. This treaty of friendship between American and Morocco is now lauded as the key longstanding agreement of peace that remains unbroken between the United States and another country. Morocco then became the first Arab, African and Muslim state to sign a treaty with the USA.

Morocco, America Treat of Friendship

Morocco, America Treat of Friendship

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first piece of American real estate in Morocco and abroad was the Tangier American Legation Museum. Gifted to the USA by Sultan Moulay Sulliman in 1821, The Tangier American Legation Museum is the oldest diplomatic property in the world. This five-story mansion is registered as a national treasure of historic places and has an impressive collection of paintings along with a bookshop dedicated to Paul Bowles.

Tangier Legation Museum

Tangier Legation Museum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1912, Morocco became a French protectorate. Certain portions of Morocco also came under Spanish control, including the province of Tangier. However, the United States did not recognize the French and Spanish protectorates until October 20, 1917, when Secretary of State Robert Lansing sent a letter formally acknowledging the protectorate to Jean Jules Jusserand, French Ambassador to the United States.

 

American Legation Museum, Black & White

American Legation Museum, Black & White

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The United States recognized Moroccan independence from French sovereignty on March 7, 1956, in a statement of congratulations regarding the Franco-Moroccan declaration of March 2, wherein France had recognized Moroccan independence.

As 2015 comes to an end we celebrate a historic time frame of 238 years of friendly relations between Morocco and the USA.

For more information about America and Morocco or a Taniger Tour

Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villagesA Taste of MoroccoMagical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best of MarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We offer Private Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

Top 5 Things to do in Marrakech, Off the Beat Morocco

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015
Majorelle Gardens, Top 5 Things Marrakech

Majorelle Gardens, Top 5 Things Marrakech

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marrakech, referred to as the “red hamra” city is a major city in Morocco known for it’s magnificent ochre color and is an attraction in itself. Marrakech boasts a vibrant street life and a rich array of drought tolerant flora and fauna, magnificent scents, exotic street food and bustling souks. Marrakech is a lively city where the traditional collides with the contemporary. A travelers experience to Marrakech can be highlighted by visiting UNESCO Heritage sites, sprawling gardens, mysterious palaces with majestic mosaic zellij tile work along with glorious houses of worship. The Top 5 Things to do in Marrakech are those that combine new trends with tradition along with off the beaten path experiences. For those who want a touch of local culture and authentic of city life our take on the Top 5 Things to do in Marrakech are stand out choices.

The Top 5 Things to do in Marrakech, Off the Beat Morocco – Recommended by Morocco Travel Designer Alecia Cohen:

#1: The Majorelle Gardens & Berber Museum – The Majorelle Gardens, previously the Jardin Bou Saf, bears its name from its original creator, Jacques Majorelle, the French expatriate artist who was born in Nancy, France, in 1886. Jacques Majorelle was the son of the celebrated Art Nouveau furniture designer Louis Majorelle. In 1947, the son opened his gardens to the public and, during this time, also painted a magnificent ceiling at La Mamounia, a five-star hotel with exquisite gardens and the place where Alfred Hitchcock wrote The Birds. Jacques Majorelle studied at the École des Beaux Arts in Nancy in 1901 and in 1919 went to Marrakech to recover from heart problems. He built the garden during those years, using a special blue color that he used extensively in the garden and that is named after him, Majorelle blue. Majorelle returned to France in 1962 after a car incident and died later that year of complications from his injuries. As a collector of unique plants from five continents, Majorelle left to Yves Saint Laurent one of the more unique collections of flora and fauna of this era as well as a place of inspiration and contemplation. Even though Morocco is no longer under the French protectorate, this original French creation is one of the most beloved areas in Morocco. The Majorelle Gardens also houses a 200 meter squared Berber Museum with its spectacular collection of Berber Silver and an exclusive collection of over 600 objects from diverse regions of Morocco. Visit the Majorelle Gardens  during the early morning to take advantage of the Marrakech sunlight.

Amal Women's Training Center, Top 5 Things to do in Marrakech

Amal Women’s Training Center, Top 5 Things to do in Marrakech

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2: Amal Women’s Training Center – Perfect for Couscous on Fridays, a Cooking Class and mingling with women – The Amal Womens Center & Moroccan restaurant is a non-profit organization that empowers disadvantaged women by training them in traditional and modern cuisine. Founded by Nora Fitzgerald, an American born and raised in Morocco, this fabulous small house is located in the new city of Gueliz. The Amal Center offers cooking classes and is the prefect place for couscous lunch on Fridays.

#3: Café Clock – A Camel Burger and Hikayat Storytelling Experience – Mike Richardson, owner of Café Clock in Fes launched a Mararkech offshoot that is the ideal place to go for lunch. Cafe Clock is trend setting with its fine get up of retro and vintage style Berber decor where young Moroccans, foreigners and expats can commence together to meet and enjoy Moroccan cafe fare while participating in variety of activities such as the Art of Hikayat Storytelling.  Café Clock is off the beaten path in the Kasbah region of the Marrakech medina and embodies the diversity of which Morocco is celebrated. The oral storytelling of Hikayat can be heard at Café Clock twice weekly. Hikayat is over 1000 years old and the oral culture of storytelling encompasses everything from love to recipes, legal agreements and daily life. Visit Cafe Clock at sunset for a camel burger and Hikayat Storytelling. The perfect evening for those wanting an insider experience of Marrakech.

La Maison Photographie, Top 5 Things to Do in Marrakech

La Maison Photographie, Top 5 Things to Do in Marrakech

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#4: Maison de la Photographie – A visit to Marrakech is not complete without a visit to La Maison de la Photographie which is close to the Medersa Ben Youssef. It is truly one of the wonders of Marrakech. Housed in a converted three story Foundouk (the old inns and storage houses for camel trains coming to sell their wares in the souks) which Patrick Man’ach and his Moroccan business colleague Hamid Megrani converted in to a photographic gallery in 2009. There are photographs of Morocco from the 1860’s at the very dawn of photography when intrepid adventurers had to carry heavy equipment into what was still a largely closed country up until the 1950’s and Morocco’s independence in 1956. The exhibitions are arranged on three floors, with large size portraits and scenes from the 1860’s and 70’s to the early20th Century and the late 1950’s. The third floor has a video room showing the films of Daniel Chicault who took his cine camera to the Atlas Mountains to film in colour unique dance scenes and the village life of the Berber tribes in 1956 and 1957. Don’t miss this boutique museum or the chance to purchase one of their fabulous vintage prints.

Ben Youssef Medersa, Top 5 Things to Do in Marrakech

Ben Youssef Medersa, Top 5 Things to Do in Marrakech

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#5 Ben Youssef Medersa – Visit the Ben Youssef Medersa, one of Marrakech’s leading mosques of magnificence. Not far from Djemaa El Fna Square is the Ben Youssef that was built between 1121 and 1132. A former theological university the mosque faces towards Mecca. Each wall is marked with zellij tile work and entering in the Ben Youssef takes you back to another century and makes one feel as if they are on a pilgrimage. This dynastic mosque is one of Morocco’s greats and worth the sight and the photo-op in front of its massive shallow pool and columns in the morning or early afternoon.

For more information about the Top 5 Things to Do in Marrakech 

Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villagesA Taste of MoroccoMagical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best of MarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We offer Private Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

Marrakech Museum Awarded Best Emerging Culture Destination Prize

Monday, October 26th, 2015
El Badi Palace, Marrakech's Museum of Photography & Visual Arts Home Until 2016

El Badi Palace, Marrakech’s Museum of Photography & Visual Arts Home Until 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Marrakech Museum for Photography and Visual Arts (MMPVA) has been awarded the “Best Emerging Culture Destination Africa” Prize, by the Leading Culture Destination Awards 2015. The Marrakech Museum for Photography and Visual Arts has featured the work of Don McCullin, Lewis Morley, Magnum and Moroccan photographers inside its temporary home at the Badii Palace. The El Badi Palace, originally commissioned by Ahmad al-Mansur, is this progressive museums home until new construction is complete  by Sir David Chipperfield in 2016.

Renowned architect, Sir David Chipperfield is the creating a distinct and contemporary building for the MMP. The Marrakech Museum for Photography (MMP) offers a rich program of exhibitions, education and cultural exchange will making it a first example of this kind of artistic institution on the African continent.

David Knaus is the Marrakech Museum for Photography and Visual Arts Managing Director. Inclusive in their programming is educational scholarships, exhibitions that are contemporary and showcase a host of Moroccan and non-Moroccan talent.

Marrakech Museum of Photographie and Visual Arts Website

Marrakech Museum of Photographie and Visual Arts Website

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The MMP’s website offers showcases its events, an online gallery, a Collector’s program along with information that is up-to-date on current exhibitions. Established in 2012 as a non-profit institution, the Marrakech Museum of Moroccan Photography prides itself on being dedicated to exhibiting the best of Moroccan, North African and international0lens-based contemporary arts.

Visit the Marrakech Museum of Photography & Visual Arts

Address: El Badii Palace, Place des Ferblantiers, Marrakech

Hours: Wednesday to Monday 9:00am – 5:00pm / Closed Tuesdays

For more information about Marrakech Tours and the Museum of Photography & Visual Arts

Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villagesA Taste of MoroccoMagical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best of MarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

Casablanca Port Tours, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015
Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca

Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When traveling to Morocco on a cruise ship there are many escorted, port tour excursion options. Casablanca has much to offer does its sister city Rabat. The best Casablanca port tours are those that include an English, Multilingual Speaking driver who is an expert on Casablanca and can serve as your guide for the day. Cruise ships that dock in Casablanca offer a full day at leisure for travelers who want to sightsee with others on board the ship or arrange for a private, escorted tour of Casablanca on their own.

There are many websites that offer valuable information for those interested in taking a private, Casablanca Tour or Casablanca Jewish Heritage Tour such as Trip Advisor and Cruise Critic.

The Best Casablanca Port Tours are those that offer the highlights of the city along with options to visit the Grand White Hassan II Mosque, the Museum of Moroccan Judaism along with the Marche Centrale, the Medina, Corniche and Markets.

Casablanca Port Tours and Shore Excursions are the perfect opportunity to begin an exploration of Morocco. Our Casablanca Port Guide can offer ideas for how to spend your day on a Private Tour of Casablanca.

Hassan II Mosque Interior

Hassan II Mosque Interior

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Casablanca Port Guide: Site seeing Recommendations on a Private Casablanca Tour

Visit the Port of Casablanca – a surprise for travelers along with the Corniche. Casablanca’s cornice is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and people watching at one of its charming, street side cafes.

Take a Private, Guided Tour of the Hassan II Mosque, the third largest in the world. The Hassan II Mosque sites on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean and is one of the leading architectural splendors of Morocco. Renowned for it’s magnificent interior and roof that allows an open-air view of the sky, Casablanca’s Hassan II Mosque is an architecture landmark designed by the architect Michel Pinseau. The mosque is situated on a promontory looking out to the Atlantic which can be seen through a gigantic glass floor. The Hassan II Mosque can accommodate 25,000 worshipers on the interior and an additional 80,000 on the courtyard’s exterior facing the front of the mosque.

Visit the Notre Dame de Lourdes, a Roman Catholic cathedral and one of a kind in Casablanca. It was built in 1956 and has significant European influences. There are over 20,000 Catholics who are said to worship at the Notre Dame de Lourdes.

Casablanca Jewish Heritage, Temple Beth El

Casablanca Jewish Heritage, Temple Beth El

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Explore the Museum of Moroccan Judaism of history and ethnography, created by the Jewish Community of Casablanca in 1997 with the support of the Foundation of Jewish-Moroccan Cultural Heritage. The Jewish Museum in Casablanca is tucked into a residential neighborhood and holds a treasure trove with it being the Arab region’s only Jewish Museum. It uses world-class standards of conservation for its national and international collections. The Museum of Moroccan Judaism presents religious, ethnographic and artistic objects that demonstrate the history, religion, traditions and daily life of Jews in the context of Moroccan civilization. The Jewish Museum in Casablanca covers an area of 700 square meters and is the only Jewish Museum in the Muslim world.

Shop in Casablanca’s medina, at the souvenir market or explore the Habous Quarter with its attractive Islamic architecture. Discover Berber carpets, quality leather goods, crafts and ornately designed pottery, silver jewelry, and metal wares.

There is also an Exposition Nationale d’Artisanat located in the city center of Casablanca that offers excellent prefixed prices on carpets and other goods such as embroidered clothing and leather.

Rick's Cafe, Casablanca

Rick’s Cafe, Casablanca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Casablanca is also known for it’s popular restaurants that offer Moroccan and International cuisine for all budgets. La Squala is perfect for those looking to dine on light fare in a traditional Moroccan setting with a garden and courtyard. This charming restaurant while touristic is located in an old fort within the city center. For those who are fans of the film, Casablanca, Rick’s Café is perfect fit  and designed by Bill Willis, a renowned Interior with a penchant for Moroccan architecture and 10001 Arabian Nights themes. For those looking for something charming and upscale with a sea view try La Mer or Cabistan on the Cornice.

For more information about Casablanca Shore Excursions or Casablanca One-day Tours 

Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villagesA Taste of MoroccoMagical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best of MarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

Islamic Architecture in Morocco, Your Morocco Travel Guide

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

Saadian Tombs, Marrakech

Morocco has the richest Islamic architectural heritage in North Africa. Key to this was the influence of Muslim Andalusia, as Muslims were expelled from Spain as a result of the Christian Reconquista led by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella in 1492. This Andalusian style, which was a rich fusion of European and Arab creativity had a far greater architectural influence, than the Middle East.

Morocco was at the centre of the Hispano-Moorish architectural movement for almost six centuries (11-17th Century). Algeria and Tunisia came under the Ottoman empire but Morocco maintained its independence and withstood the Ottomans. Morocco’s early Islamic architectural heritage was  enriched by  the Arab conquest in the seventh century and the indigenous Berber culture which continues to thrive today.

Due to Islam’s forbidding of all human representation, most decorative art was based on geometric patterns, arabesques and floral motifs. Cursive or Kufic script also features prominently.

Such motifs can be found in stone, brick or wood, but Hispano-Moorish art particularly favored two materials. The first, stucco, was applied in plaster form to surfaces covered in nails and sculpted while still damp, often into stalactite forms. The second, zellij tiling on panels, is a Moroccan decorative feature.

The basic layout of the mosque has not changed since the beginning. It always faces Mecca, the direction of which is shown by the mihrab, an alcove in the middle of the qibla wall. Next to it is a minbar , a platform or pulpit, made out of wood or marble, on which the spiritual leader stands to deliver his sermon. In Morocco, the minaret is a square-shaped tower, topped with a battlemented platform where the muezzin stands to call the faithful to prayer five times a day.

Ben Youssef Medersa, Marrakech

A madrasah is a college of theology. The building’s specific function gave birth to an equally specific architectural style. An elaborately decorated door with awning, opened onto a narrow central courtyard surrounded by classrooms and a prayer room. The masters and students lived in cells on an upper gallery overlooking the central courtyard. The courtyard contains the madrasah’s sophisticated decorative features: central fountain, zellij floors, intricately carved stucco fanlights, carved cedar wood corbels and cornices. The Ben Youssef Medersa in Marrakech was the largest theological college in North Africa. It was founded during the Merinid dynasty (14th century) by Sultan Abu al-Hassan and allied to the neighboring Ben Youssef Mosque. The building of the madrasah was re-constructed by the Saadian Sultan Abdallah al-Ghalib (1557–1574).

A koubba, better known as a marabout, is a mausoleum built for pious Muslims who had achieved something approaching sainthood on their deaths. Their distinctive white domed roofs – koubba originally meant dome – and little cubic buildings are a familiar sight throughout the Moroccan countryside and they are the object of pilgrimages.

Very little remains architecturally of the first two or three centuries of Islam in Morocco, of the 8-10 centuries. The excavations of the ancient city of Sijimassa and the former royal city of Aghmat near Marrakech by a team was led by Professor Ron Messier, from Vanderbilt University USA and Professor Abdallah Fili faculte des letters Universite d’El Jadida. They found that the mosques in both locations were extensive with a mobile minbar, which could be moved on rails. When these locations began to decline because of factors like loss of water and population change. Their buildings were dismantled to create new structures nearby in time honored Moroccan fashion and as communities changed buildings also changed their functions. The hammam at Aghmat became a pottery.

The two most important mosques of Fès, the Qarawiyin and the Andalusian Mosque were both founded in the mid 9th century, were the work of immigrants from Andalusia.

The  Almoravid dynasty  (1070-1147).

Desert nomads, the Almoravids clearly had no architectural traditions and naturally enough adopted those of Andalusia, which they had just conquered; hence the term “Hispano-Moorish” given to this art symbolized by semicircular Moorish arches and a decorative style.

The Almohads’ hatred of the Almoravids led them to destroy all Almoravid works, which were considered too frivolous; consequently, almost nothing remains of the Almoravid edifices in Morocco itself: exceptions being some parts of the Qarawiyin Mosque in Fès, extended in 1130 and the Koubba Ba’Adiyn rediscovered in 1950 in Marrakech.

The Almohad dynasty was influenced by Andalusia, like the Almoravids and was responsible for one of the greatest artistic movements of Morocco’s history. The scale of design and the sobriety of the decoration, the handsome proportions and pure lines characterize Almohad architecture.

The fortifications and Great mosque at Taza, together with the superb funereal mosque at Tin Mel, recently restored, date from this period.

Almohad mosques have grand proportions and impressive minarets. A typical Almohad minaret is somewhat squat and square-shaped: its height is equal to five times its base, and it is constructed from freestone. The Kotoubia mosque in Marrakech was completed in the 1190’s during the reign of the Almohad Sultan Yusuf El Mansour. (1184 to 1199). Its minaret, which is 253 feet high, inspired the Giralda at Seville and the Hassan Tower at Rabat. This iconic minaret is the greatest testament to Almohad religious architecture. Moroccan square minarets continue to be built today and are unique to Morocco.

The golden age of the Marinades (1278-1358)

The Merinids’ reign, up until the mid-14C, was one of the most fertile periods of Moroccan architecture. Ornamentation became more important, even in edifices such as fortifications. The main door of the wall around Chellah (Rabat) built in 1339 is a fine example.  Abu el-Hassan and Abu Inan, the two main Merinid sultans and patrons of architecture built many mosques and madrasas. Merinid madrasahs include the Bou Inania, Attarine and Sahrij at Fès, Abu el-Hassan at Salé and Bou Inania at Meknès are among the best known.

A continuing tradition of Hispano-Moorish art persisted under the Saadians and the Alawites (16th -present). In the 20th century, the last manifestation of Hispano-Moorish art to be built was the Hassan II mosque in Casablanca.

For more information about an Imperial Cities Tour and the architecture of Morocco

Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villagesA Taste of MoroccoMagical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best of MarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel.  We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

Travel the Roman Ruins of Volubilis on a Tailor Made Morocco Tour

Saturday, March 7th, 2009
Roman Ruins, Volubilis

Roman Ruins, Volubilis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Streams of light illuminate the elaborate the Romain ruins of Volubilis accentuating each crevice line and jagged edge with a stream of shadows. As the sun sets the ivory Corinthian columns slowly fade from sepia tones to midnight black silhouettes. On a crisp day in Volubilis tourists snap a series of photos to capture the site’s magnificence. The ruins and mosaics of Volubilis harbor a rich and compleix. Archaeological traces in Voubilis have determined that the Romans occupied the area during the 3rd century BC and established a city of nearly 200,000 people. During this time the city served as the heart of Roman administration. It was an active part of Roman, North Africa producing grains and olive oil exports in the surrounding fertile regions which contributed to its immense prosperity.

Volubilis, Roman arches

Volubilis, Roman arches

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Volubilis is easily accessible as a day trip from both Meknes and from Fes and a must see historic destination on a Tailor Made Morocco Tour. This area among other nationally recognized attractions in Morocco is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Voubilis is an archaeological thrill for those passionate about exploring some of the best preserved Roman remains in the world.

Mosaic Art, Volubilis

Mosaic Art, Volubilis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The dusty roads leading to Voubilis, also referred to as Walili, weave through the winding countryside. The ruins are deep within the gentle rolling hills and flush mountain terrain. The site covers around 800 by 600 metres. Surrounding the ancient remains is a garden of wild plants, and the sound of roaring waters from nearby streams invoke a feeling of serenity. Standing from a distance travelers can look onto the horizon towards the vibrant blue skies and see the elegant temple remains, pillars and the dominant Triumphal arch.

Having survived a few massive earthquakes throughout ancient times, there remain over 30 well-preserved mosaics revealing scenes of ancient Roman culture and mythological creatures.

For more information about the Roman ruins of Voubilis.

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Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Google on call Travel Exploration at (917)703-2078 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.