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Morocco

Morocco and King Mohammed VI

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, September 04, 2011 at 15:43:20 :: Morocco

Morocco officially the Kingdom of Morocco, is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara. It is part of the Maghreb region, in addition to Tunisia, Algeria, Mauritania, and Libya, with which it shares cultural, historical and linguistic ties.

The Koutoubia Mosque garden and minaret which was completed under the reign of the Almohad Caliph Yaqub al-Mansur (1184-1199) in Marrakech, Morocco


Morocco is a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy.

Morocco was a French protectorate from 1912 to 1956, when Sultan Mohammed became king. He was succeeded in 1961 by his son, Hassan II, who ruled for 38 years. He played a prominent role in the search for peace in the Middle East, given the large number of Israelis of Moroccan origin, but was criticised for suppressing domestic opposition.

After his death in 1999 Hassan was succeeded by his son, who became King Mohammed VI and was seen as a moderniser. There has been some economic and social liberalisation, but the monarch has retained sweeping powers.

Mohammed, who was born on 21 August 1963 in Rabat, has one brother, Prince Moulay Rachid, and three sisters, Princess Lalla Meryem, Princess Lalla Asma, and Princess Lalla Hasna.

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The Assembly of the Deads

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, April 22, 2007 at 05:50:32 :: Morocco

Djemaa el Fna (Arabic: جامع الفناء jâmiʻ al-fanâʼ) is a square and market place in Marrakech's medina quarter (old city). The origin of its name remains unknown : it means Assembly of the Deads in Arabic, but as the word djemaa also means mosque in Arabic, it could also mean place of the vanished mosque, in reference to a destroyed Almoravid mosque.

Panoramic view of the Djemaa el Fna square, Morocco



The place remains the main square of Marrakech, used equally by locals and tourists. During the day it is predominantly occupied by orange juice stalls, youths with chained Barbary apes, water sellers in colourful costumes with traditional leather water-bags and brass cups, and snake charmers who will pose for photographs for tourists. As the day progresses the entertainments on offer change: the snake charmers depart, and in the afternoon and evening the square becomes more crowded, with Chleuh dancing-boys (it would be against custom for girls to provide such an entertainment), story-tellers (telling their tales in Berber or Arabic, to an audience of appreciative locals), magicians, and peddlers of traditional medicines. As dark descends the square fills with dozens of food-stalls, and the crowds are at their height. (Source: Wikipedia)

The Koutoubia Mosque, Morocco


Not far from there is the Koutoubia Mosque (Arabic: جامع الكتبية), the largest mosque in Marrakech.

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In The News

Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou, Morocco

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, June 24, 2007 at 21:22:29

The ksar, a group of earthen buildings surrounded by high walls, is a traditional pre-Saharan habitat. The houses crowd together within the defensive walls, which are reinforced by corner towers. Ait-Ben-Haddou, in Ouarzazate province, is a striking example of the architecture of southern Morocco.

Aït Benhaddou, Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou, along the former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakech, MoroccoAït Benhaddou (Arabic: آيت بن حدّو) is a fortified city, or ksar, along the former caravan route between the Sahara (الصحراء الكبرى ), the world's largest hot desert with over 9,000,000 square kilometres, and Marrakech (مراكش Marakesh), known as the "Red City or Al Hamra" in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains (جبال الأطلس), in present-day Morocco (المملكة المغربية). It is situated in Souss-Massa-Draâ (سوس ماسة درعة), one of the sixteen regions of Morocco, on a hill along the Ouarzazate River and has some beautiful examples of kasbahs or Qassabah (القصبة), kind of medina (حي, مدينة), Islamic city, or fortress, which unfortunately get damaged each rainstorm. Most of the town's inhabitants now live in a more modern village at the other side of the river; ten families however still live within the ksar. The ruins display a unique geometric arrangement of the bricks at oblique angles and in zig-zag patterns.

The front parts of the village are well restored, as this has been the setting of many films, from Lawrence of Arabia (1962) to Gladiator (2000).

Aït Benhaddou is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.

UNESCO World Heritage

Morocco, Rabat, Modern Capital and Historic City: a Shared Heritage

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, January 03, 2014 at 05:41:01

Location Morocco
Coordinates N34 1 27 W6 49 22
Property 349 ha
Date of Inscription 2012

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1401 )

Located on the Atlantic coast in the north-west of Morocco, the site is the product of a fertile exchange between the Arabo-Muslim past and Western modernism. The inscribed city encompasses the new town conceived and built under the French Protectorate from 1912 to the 1930s, including royal and administrative areas, residential and commercial developments and the Jardins d’Essais botanical and pleasure gardens. It also encompasses older parts of the city dating back to the 12thcentury. The new town is one of the largest and most ambitious modern urban projects built in Africa in the 20thcentury and probably the most complete. The older parts include Hassan Mosque (begun in 1184) and the Almohad ramparts and gates, the only surviving parts of the project for a great capital city of the Almohad caliphate as well as remains from the Moorish, or Andalusian, principality of the 17thcentury.

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Hassan Tower Mausoleum of Mohammed V

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Morocco, Medina of Marrakesh

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, October 30, 2012 at 06:05:01

Location Province of Marrakesh, Morocco
Coordinates N31 37 53.004 W7 59 12.012
Property 1,107 ha
Date of Inscription 1985

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/331 )

Founded in 1070–72 by the Almoravids, Marrakesh remained a political, economic and cultural centre for a long period. Its influence was felt throughout the western Muslim world, from North Africa to Andalusia. It has several impressive monuments dating from that period: the Koutoubiya Mosque, the Kasbah, the battlements, monumental doors, gardens, etc. Later architectural jewels include the Bandiâ Palace, the Ben Youssef Madrasa, the Saadian Tombs, several great residences and Place Jamaâ El Fna, a veritable open-air theatre.

Photos from Landolia

Houses, Medina of Marrakech Alley, Medina of Marrakech

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Morocco, Archaeological Site of Volubilis

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, October 30, 2012 at 05:51:05

Location Wilaya de Meknès - Province Meknès El Menzeh Meulay-Idriss Zerhoun, Morocco
Coordinates N34 4 26.004 W5 33 24.984
Property 42 ha
Date of Inscription 1997

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/836 )

The Mauritanian capital, founded in the 3rd century B.C., became an important outpost of the Roman Empire and was graced with many fine buildings. Extensive remains of these survive in the archaeological site, located in a fertile agricultural area. Volubilis was later briefly to become the capital of Idris I, founder of the Idrisid dynasty, who is buried at nearby Moulay Idris.

Photos from Landolia

Triumphal Arch, Volubilis Volubilis

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Morocco, Medina of Tétouan (formerly known as Titawin)

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, October 30, 2012 at 04:45:48

Location Region Nord-Ouest, Wilaya de Tétouan, Province of Tétouan, Medina of Tétouan, Morocco
Coordinates N35 34 14.988 W5 22 0.012
Property 6.50 ha
Date of Inscription 1997

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/837 )

Tétouan was of particular importance in the Islamic period, from the 8th century onwards, since it served as the main point of contact between Morocco and Andalusia. After the Reconquest, the town was rebuilt by Andalusian refugees who had been expelled by the Spanish. This is well illustrated by its art and architecture, which reveal clear Andalusian influence. Although one of the smallest of the Moroccan medinas, Tétouan is unquestionably the most complete and it has been largely untouched by subsequent outside influences.

Photos from Landolia

Medina of Tetouan

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Morocco, Historic City of Meknes

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, October 28, 2012 at 04:20:00

Location region centre sud, Wilaya de Meknes, Morocco
Coordinates N33 52 59.988 W5 33 29.988
Date of Inscription 1996

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/793 )

Founded in the 11th century by the Almoravids as a military settlement, Meknes became a capital under Sultan Moulay Ismaïl (1672–1727), the founder of the Alawite dynasty. The sultan turned it into a impressive city in Spanish-Moorish style, surrounded by high walls with great doors, where the harmonious blending of the Islamic and European styles of the 17th century Maghreb are still evident today.

Photos from Landolia

Bab Mansour, Historic City of Meknes Dar El Makhzen palace, Historic City of Meknes Bab el-Khemis, Historic City of Meknes

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Morocco, Medina of Fez

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, October 27, 2012 at 05:02:58

Location City of Fez, Morocco
Coordinates N34 3 39.996 W4 58 40.008
Property 280 ha
Date of Inscription 1981

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/170 )

Founded in the 9th century and home to the oldest university in the world, Fez reached its height in the 13th–14th centuries under the Marinids, when it replaced Marrakesh as the capital of the kingdom. The urban fabric and the principal monuments in the medina – madrasas, fondouks, palaces, residences, mosques and fountains - date from this period. Although the political capital of Morocco was transferred to Rabat in 1912, Fez has retained its status as the country's cultural and spiritual centre.

Photos from Landolia

Medina of Fez Fes el Bali

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Morocco, Portuguese City of Mazagan (El Jadida)

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, October 26, 2012 at 12:20:31

Location Doukkala-Abda, Province El Jadida, Morocco
Coordinates N33 15 24.012 W8 30 6.984
Property 7.50 ha
Date of Inscription 2004

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1058 )

La ciudadela de Mazagán –que hoy forma parte de la ciudad de El Jadida– está situada a unos 90 kilómetros al sudoeste de Casablanca. Este fuerte colonial construido por los portugueses a principios del siglo XVI en la costa del Atlántico fue tomado por los marroquíes en 1769. Sus bastiones y murallas constituyen uno de los ejemplos más tempranos de la arquitectura militar renacentista. Entre los edificios portugueses aún en pie figuran la cisterna y la iglesia de la Asunción, construida en estilo manuelino (gótico tardío). La ciudad portuguesa de Mazagán fue una de las primeras factorías creadas en las costas del África Occidental por los exploradores portugueses que buscaban la ruta marítima hacia la India. Constituye un ejemplo excepcional de la mutua influencia entre las culturas europea y africana, que ha quedado patentizada en la arquitectura, la tecnología y la planificación urbanística.

Photos from Landolia

Portuguese City of Mazagan Walls, Portuguese City of Mazagan

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Morocco, Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, October 26, 2012 at 06:17:22

Location Morocco
Coordinates N31 2 49.992 W7 7 44.004
Property 3.03 ha
Date of Inscription 1987

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/444 )

The ksar, a group of earthen buildings surrounded by high walls, is a traditional pre-Saharan habitat. The houses crowd together within the defensive walls, which are reinforced by corner towers. Ait-Ben-Haddou, in Ouarzazate province, is a striking example of the architecture of southern Morocco.

Photos from Landolia

Ait Benhaddou Kasbah, Ait Benhaddou

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Morocco, Medina of Essaouira (formerly Mogador)

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, December 10, 2009 at 11:55:23

Location Province of Essaouira, Tensift Region, Morocco
Coordinates N31 31 0.012 W9 46 9.984
Type Cultural
Property 30 ha
Date of Inscription 2001

Brief Description (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/753 )

Essaouira is an exceptional example of a late-18th-century fortified town, built according to the principles of contemporary European military architecture in a North African context. Since its foundation, it has been a major international trading seaport, linking Morocco and its Saharan hinterland with Europe and the rest of the world.

Photos from Landolia

Remparts, Medina of Essaouira Portuguese ramparts, Medina of Essaouira Rue du port, Medina of Essaouira

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