Posts Tagged ‘Moroccan Museums’

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’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

The Moroccan Art Scene, Post Independence Moroccan Artists

Friday, January 15th, 2016
Hassan Hajjaj, Marrakech Artist

Hassan Hajjaj, Marrakech Artist






The Moroccan  Contemporary Art Scene, post-independence, is much sought after and has gained popularity over the recent years given its varied mix of forward thinking and experimental painters, sculptors, fashion designers, and craftsmen. Morocco’s contemporary art scene had a boost with the opening of some significant public-funded and private galleries as well as some key exhibitions showcasing Moroccan modern art abroad. Although foreign and diaspora collectors have always been important, Nadia Echiguer, Director of UK-based art dealers, Moroccan Fine Art, explains the role of a developing economy in the promotion and sale of contemporary artwork in Morocco itself. “Before, only private and public institutions were buying artworks. The trend has changed as private Moroccan collectors are showing a keen interest in art,” thanks to a booming economy that has seen an increase in the size and the wealth of the Moroccan middle class.

Mohammed Melehi, Asiliah

Mohammed Melehi, Asiliah






Reflecting the increasing domestic interest in contemporary art, two large projects opened in Rabat and Marrakech. The MMVI Mohammed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art opened in Rabat, in October 2014 with an exhibition of over 400 works by more than 150 Moroccan artists, entitled “1914-2014: One hundred years of creation.” Over in Marrakech, seen by many as a more creative centre compared to Rabat, the Marrakech Museum for Photography and Visual Arts (MMP+) opened in September 2013 in temporary accommodation at the Badii Palace. A purpose-built venue designed by British architect Sir David Chipperfield is due to open in 2016, the same year as the 6th Marrakech Biennale (24 February – 8 May 2016).

Fatima Ettalbi, Essaouira Artists

Fatima Ettalbi, Essaouira Artists






Following Moroccan independence in 1956, many artists and intellectuals sought to claim a modern Moroccan cultural identity to banish the euro-centrism of the French colonial power or an orientalist over-emphasis on the naive or folkloric aspects of Moroccan art. At the same time, many artists could not and would not deny the influence of these more traditional arts and crafts on their work. As the swinging 60s drew on into the 1970s, despite the former colonial experience, there was much intellectual and artistic interchange between Morocco and Europe, in particular France. In addition, Moroccan artists exchanged ideas and philosophies with visiting Beat Poets (for example, in Tangiers) and international musicians and artists who passed through the country (including the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix and others). Slowly, however, Moroccan artists developed an “exploratory intuition” according to Moroccan philosopher El Jabri and a “modernity” in the Moroccan artistic experience was born.

Myriam Mourabit, Casablanca Artist

Myriam Mourabit, Casablanca Artist





During the 1980s, these issues of collective identity became less evident as Moroccan artists gained the confidence to forge their own styles and open their horizons beyond questions of a Moroccan or Arab style. At the same time, they left behind occidental models and themes and began to explore their creativity as individuals. This desire to carve one’s own niche as an artist, one who happens to be Moroccan, characterized strongly the closing decades of the 20th century.

Today, at the start of the 21st century, many young Moroccan artists are experimenting with new twists on old techniques and traditions against the backdrop of greater use of modern communications technology. Key themes in this era reflect the realities of modern life for young Moroccans: immigration, globalization, urbanization and the cultural references of the past.

The Moroccan art scene has a number of key creative centers. Many artists have emerged from the large conurbations of Casablanca or Marrakech or the traditional heartland of Moroccan crafts, Fes. However, Tetouan – with its Institute of Fine Arts – and Essaouira – with its nexus of auto-didactic artists are two particular poles.

Written by Lynn Sheppard 

Lynn Sheppard has lived in Essaouira, on Morocco’s Atlantic Coast for more than 2 years, supporting local non-profits, writing and becoming an expert on all things Swiri (ie. Essaouiran). She blogs at and for other travel industry clients.

For more information about the Moroccan Art Scene or a Morocco Art Private 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.

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.