Fondouk el-Nejjarine in Fez, Morocco

An illustration of the Fondouk el-Nejjarine in Fez, Morocco showing the ancient woodwork and craftsmanship of this UNESCO city

The ancient city of Fez houses within its walls an exquisite collection of monuments and sights that showcase the rich history and traditions of the Moroccan people. One of these monuments is Fondouk el-Nejjarine: an 18th century roadside inn transformed into a museum dedicated to the wooden arts and crafts typical of Morocco.

Fondouk el-Nejjarine proves to be a unique experience that reveals the past and present simultaneously: while inside you’ll be able to view beautiful pieces of wooden art on display; once you step outside you’ll have the opportunity to witness modern-day carpenters chiseling and carving their own creations. (more…)

Forget Me Not: Morocco’s Tin Mal Mosque

Tin Mal Mosque in Morocco

Leave the busy streets of Marrakesh for a day and venture off into the Atlas Mountains – what you will find may certainly surprise you. Tucked away in the vast North African mountain range is a minor tribute to what was at one time the most significant spiritual center of the glorious Almohad dynasty – the Tin Mal Mosque (or Tinmel Mosque). It was once a vital stronghold hidden in the mountains with political, military and religious significance, but it stands in slight ruin and devoid of many tourist visitors; all of these reasons you should take a visit.

The Tin Mal Mosque can now be found just off of the Tizi ‘n’ Test road that crosses the High Atlas Mountains; it’s about one-and-a-half hours from Marrakesh. It offers the unique opportunity for visitors to look into what was once a magnificent mosque. (more…)

Medersa Bou Inania: A Moroccan Gem in Fez

Medersa Bou InaniaAlthough Sultan Abou Inan wasn’t the most pious of men (having killed his father, brutally murdered his rivals, and fathering over 300 offspring), he was able to devote some time towards developing one of Morocco’s most beautiful medersas, the magnificent Medersa Bou Inania (also known as Madrasa Bou Inania or simply Bu Inaniya). Built between 1351 and 1358, the medersa stands today as one of the most stunning examples of Merenid architecture in the world. Initially, it functioned as both an educational institute and a mosque. Today it is still an active religious building, and it is one of the few mosques in Morocco that remains open for all to visit, including those that are not Muslim, providing a unique experience for tourists. (more…)

Bahia Palace: Awe-Inspiring Opulence

A hand-drawn illustration of Bahia Palace in Morocco.
The Bahia Palace is both a palace and a set of gardens situated in the medina of Marrakech, Morocco, just along the northern edge of Mellah, also known as the Jewish Quarter. While the exact dates for the construction of this palace are not known, records indicate that it was commissioned between 1859 and 1873. It was completed in 1900.

The construction was the work of a father and son, Si Moussa and Ba Amed. The two were vizirs to Alawid Sharifs, Moroccan sultans. The name Bahia means “brilliance.” The building incorporates beautiful and intricate stucco work and a form of polychrome mosaic known as zellij (or zellige), which was topped by painted, inlaid woodwork ceilings.