Morocco’s Royal Palaces, Mosques And Treasures

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Mar 30, 2004
The royal palace in Rabat, Morocco, lies right in the heart of Rabat, and its area is open for trespassing. As a matter of fact, you can get quite close to the real palace before the guards start to feel uneasy. But quite honestly, what you see is only moderately impressive – the real beauty is behind the walls.

Fez. The Royal Palace
The Royal Place is closed to all visitors these days – which is sad because it is in little use and has a reputation of being among the mot elegant structures of Morocco. As it is today. there is little on offer except the views you get through the few open gates. Also there are the decorations around the gates, which give some indications on what is on display inside.

The Bahia Palace : Close to the Royal Palaces of the city, this enormous residence was built in the 19th century on the Sultan’s high vizir’s orders. The construction of this site lasted so long it was only completed after his death by his son. Under the protectorate, the first French resident, General Lyautey, used this fabulous palace as his residence.

Bab Ahmar : Means "The Red gateway" was built by the Alaouites in the 18th century. It was reserved for the exclusive use of the Sultan who went through it to the nearby palace. Its present location is close to the Royal Palace and the Agdal Gardens.

The Ménara : This attractive pavilion of the 19th century is one of the most famous sites of Marrakesh and it’s his symbol.. Characterised by numerous green tiles, which are reflected in its vast basin and, in the background, by the often snow-covered Atlas Mountains.

The Koutoubia Mosque : The best known landmark of Marrakesh. Its minaret, which is 77 metres high, has projected its protective shadow over the whole city for more than eight centuries. This edifice owes its name to the "Koutoubin" booksellers who displayed their books for the convenience of the students of Koranic sciences studying there.

The Badii Palace : Only the structures remain of this palace, nothing remains of the legendary edifice Ahmed El Mansour, all the onyx, marble and stucco were removed in 1696 on Moulay Ismail’s orders to decorate his Royal Palaces in Meknès.

The Saadian Tombs : At the end of the 16th century, the Saadian cemetery housed a number of mausoleums one of which was built for Sultan Ahmed El Mansour’s tomb. The burial place is exhibited in the room with twelve columns and also contains many Alaouite tombs.

Ben Youssef Mosque : Of Almoravid origins, this building was restored in the 16th century, then again at the beginning of the 19th century. Its stone minaret, mighty in both senses of the word, towers over the roofs of green glazed tiles by more than 40 metres.

Jemaa El Fnaa Square : This, the most famous square in Morocco, is often characterised by crowds of street musicians, merchants and acrobats who, from dawn to dusk, turn this unique space into a vast stage of non-stop colourful pageantry, a veritable festival providing both entertainment and refreshment.

Dar El Glaoui : This magnificent residence is surrounded by very high ramparts. It was built at the beginning of the 20th century by the pasha of Marrakesh. Part of it is used today as a library, while another one has been restored and is now used for receptions of heads of states.

Bab Agnaou : Built by the Almohad Sultan Abdelmoumen in 1150, this gateway once marked the solemn entrance to the Royal Palace. If the ancient chronicles are to be believed, the heads of those tortured to death were also displayed there. Its motifs, made up of arabesques framed with writing, bear the stamp of the Almohad dynasty.
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I wish we could get better pictures of the inside of the palaces. They have one of the most beautiful arabesque work done. I am personally obsessed by Arabic calligraphy, and one of my favourite scripts is Morrocan kufi. Is there calligraphic work in the palaces?
Thanks gusto for sharing the lovely pictures,all palaces and mosques are just sublime,i like especially the royal palace of rabat,have you some picture of the royal palace of "skhirat" and the actual palace of KM6 in"dar-essalam"?
Square Outside the Royal Palace, Fez}

Gateway to the Dar el Makhzen. Decorative mosaic-work surrounds brass doors at the Royal Palace in Fez, Morocco.}}}}}}

Geometrically patterned tilework, cusped arches and stalactite work embellishes an entrance to the Royal Palace, in Fez.}

An ornate gold colored door and archway of the Royal Palace in Fes in Morocco.}

The brass sheathed doors of a Royal Palace in the Moroccan city of Fez.}

Detail Showing Star Pattern on Moroccan Brass Doors of Dar el Makhzen}

Detail of Handles on Moroccan Brass Doors of Dar el Makhzen}}
wowowo :flower: Thanks Gusto for these beautiful pics.

The Fez Palace is one of the best...I mean its brass doors...Just MAGNIFICENT :woot:
Moroccan mystique

Purobi Menon

Morocco makes for an experience that is earthy with wonderful culinary flavours, the buzz of the souks, walled cities from medieval times, and the lilt of Arabic music.

Morocco. The very name conjures up images of a land of mystique and romance. It also calls to mind memories of the 1942 classic Casablanca starring the inimitable Humphrey Bogart and the enigmatic Ingrid Bergman. Morroco is all of this to the tourist plus an experience that is earthy with wonderful culinary flavours, the buzz of the souks, walled cities from medieval times and the lilt of Arabic music. Located in Northern Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, Morocco lies between Algeria and the Western Sahara. Its geographical highlights include the Atlas Mountains and the Rif. The peak Jbel Toubkal is the highest point in the country, standing at 4,165 m.

Moroccans rate their cities according to their functions. Therefore Rabat is considered the administrative capital where the Royal Palace and Mosque are located and from where the current monarch Mohammed VI functions. Casablanca, with its European façade and modern office buildings, is considered the economic capital, Marrakesh the cultural capital, and Fez the spiritual capital since it is the oldest city in Morocco and its medina dates from 9th century A.D. Rabat is a quiet bureaucratic city with none of the buzz of Marrakesh. By nine in the evening, its streets are deserted. One enters the Royal Palace grounds through the Ambassador's Gate so called because of the various representatives who must drive through if they are to have an audience with the monarch. The king does not reside in the Royal Palace; it is only the seat of government and the political centre. The royal city is a city within a city — 44 acres of which the Royal Palace covers 10 acres. On the main gate of the Royal mosque are scallop shells on either side — symbolic of life as in Botticelli's Venus born from a shell. This is the Christian influence on Moorish architecture. Between the two shells is a small medallion with Allah inscribed in Arabic.

Another emblem of Rabat is the Hassan Tower with the Mausoleum of Mohammed V by its side that also contains the tomb of Hassan II, father of the present king who passed away in 1999. Mosques in Morocco follow their own architectural style. There is always one single square minaret with a small round dome on top. This single minaret drives home the point that they were never under Ottoman rule — lapis-coloured blue domes are a distinct feature of Ottoman architecture. In Morocco, the colour green is used because it is considered to be the colour of wisdom and the colour of Prophet Mohammed's cape.

Casablanca, which is the modern face of Morocco, is the country's largest city. The Spanish settled here at the end of the 18th century and from Dar el Beida, Arabic for white house, christened it Casablanca translating to the same in Spanish. Whatever problems may lurk under Casablanca's urban fabric, the memories of its clean whitewashed buildings remain. The city became the base for the penetration of French colonialism into Morocco when nine port workers were massacred in 1907 and blockade of the French Consulate provided the pretext for military intervention. In 1912, the French Resident Lyautey decided to make Casablanca the principal port of Morocco and the main seat for the European populace. It still retains this status and today from Casablanca home products are shipped towards other countries and all banks and international companies have a presence in this city.

Because of Casablanca's exclusively European façade with the Park of the Arab League fanning out in the city centre, Hassan II decided to bequeath it an Islamic structure. So he built the Hassan II Mosque, inaugurated on August 30, 1993, and built next to the waters of the ocean. Designed by French architect Michel Pinseau, it possesses the tallest minaret in the world standing at 200 metres. 20,000 worshippers can be accommodated inside the mosque at the same time and another 80,000 in the courtyard. The marble for the mosque came from Agadir, the granite from Tafraoute, and the glass was imported from Venice. The mosque was funded by donations from all over the country.

The city in Morocco that would capture the tourist's heart is Marrakesh. It is a walled city surrounded by 10 gates and most of the buildings are pink. The terrain is very flat and is surrounded by the Atlas mountains which give it its picturesque advantage. Due to the hot summers Marrakesh has a large number of town houses — a house with a garden and a fountain — known as Riyadh in Arabic. There are more than 200 of them (riyadhs) in Marrakesh. The Bahia Palace in Marrakesh is one such residence. Built by the black slave Abu Ahmed towards the end of the 19th century, it is representative of Moorish architecture. The palace walls are stucco on plaster, the tiles are worked piece by piece on the lower half of the walls and on the floor. The ceilings are made beautiful with motifs such as the Tree of Life but keeping in mind Islamic tenets only floral and geometric motifs are portrayed. The fountains within the courtyards are made from Carrara marble and in the earlier days one kilo of sugar was bartered for a kilo of Carrara marble.

In fact one element that strikes a tourist in Morocco is the vocabulary of selling while walking the souks. Bargaining and barter are a way of life here, perhaps even now. In Marrakesh, the marketplace is the Jemaa l Fna. If one's eye happens to fall on an object the shopkeeper is quick to catch it and take you up on it — three hundred dirhams, one hundred you say, one fifty, one twenty-five, okay take it. In Ourika Valleym a village outside Marrakesh, a trader offered all his items for my watch. That's Morocco for you even today!

In many ways Morocco lives by its own sense of time. The oldest and largest living medieval city exists in Fez dating from the 9th century A.D. Today its occupants number a little over half a million. As one deftly escapes the path of the mules and the horses, sights do come up. For one, there is the hand of Moulay Idriss, founder of Fez. Legend has it that if you place your palm over the hand of Idriss and utter a sincere prayer it will be answered. But we couldn't afford the time as the medina has 9,000 streets and seven gates to it. So, we moved on to the Bab Boujeloud or the Blue Gate built in 1913.

The Suuq Dabbaghin or the tanneries area is where the leather that Morocco is well-known for is treated in a rather primitive manner — in stone baths with various dyes. The Suuq Dabbaghin is situated close to the Karouyine Mosque, which has 14 gates, 275 works and where 25,000 people can pray together at one time. The Karouyine Mosque is now acknowledged as one of the oldest universities in the world. As with most mosques in Morocco, entry is restricted.

A golden rule in Morocco is not to eat off the streets but the cuisine sampled at a restaurant in Marrakesh was quite divine. A soup of lentils and chickpeas called Harira Marrakchia, a soft pigeon pie called b'stilla and of course so was Couscous (the national dish made of steamed semolina, wheat, maize or rice flour) with chicken and seasonal vegetables. Moroccan sweets are made of almonds, figs and dates and very sweet. The breads are very much like the Indian paratha and naan. And mint tea with sugar is the anytime drink.

Morocco is a cultural experience if you open your heart to it. Shukran as they say or thank you with a hand placed over the heart.
Neolithic Era skeleton discovered near Rabat Morocco, Local, 6/1/2004

A skeleton dating back to the Neolithic era (6,000 years BC), has been recently discovered in the Skhirat-Temara region, outskirts of Rabat.

The presence of this skeleton in a cavern reveals the existence of other relics of the past that have not yet been discovered, Moroccan geologist and searcher, Abdeljalil Hajraoui, told Monday the national TV "TVM."

Concerning the skeleton whose characteristics provide some indications about the history of ancient Morocco and its environment, Aich Boujaa, professor at the Rabat-based National Institute of Archeology and heritage (INAP), said it measures 1.80 meters, just like the three other skeletons of men discovered in the same cavern.

Culture Minister, Mohamed Achaari, noted that "technological progress in excavation will enable to make even more important historical discoveries."

The first excavations carried out in Temara, one of the richest archeological caves at the national level, have so far enabled to discover 12 skeletons, remnants of elephants and gazelles belonging to disappeared species.

Gate to the Ro;yal Palace in Marrakech}

Royal Palace Gala Dinner - Marrakech Film Festival 2003
Guests in the dining room of the Royal Palace.}

Detail of Entrance to Royal Palace in Fez}

The palace Bahia was set up since 1880
Last edited by a moderator:'s beautiful.can not muslim go to mosque, i know they can't to mekka
I think that the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco
is the most beautiful Masjid!

Morocco is my dream destination. I'm not what you would say would be a "typical-looking" (ie...middle eastern or indonisian) Muslimah (I'm American of Native American and European descent) but it would be wonderful to pray in the Hassan II Masjid
gusto said:

All are beautiful and have to say only this Morocco is a Beautiful country with a beautiful Culture. I'm glad to be neighbours with Moroccan ;) :p
I would also love to visit Hassan II Masjid. It looks so beautiful and open and clear. It's absolutely breathtaking.
Does anyone know which palace Salma and the King live in? Do they stay at the other palaces? And are there any interior pictures of the palace? Thanks:)
HRHAmy said:
Does anyone know which palace Salma and the King live in? Do they stay at the other palaces? And are there any interior pictures of the palace? Thanks:)

They don't have a specific palace , they live all around the country ...but most of the time they're between Rabat and Marrakech
So there is no official residence, like a Buckingham Palace, Winter Palace or White House? just alternated stays between palaces?
I read somewhere, it was eithe here or a page on Yahoo! that the King's officail residence is the Palace in Rabat but it didn't say anything about Salma or his son. Maybe they weren't married at the time?
According to the interview that he gave to the french press after the birth of his son, he said that when salma and him got married, they lived in the same palace that he used to live because they were waiting for their new palace to be finished, and when his son was born they moved. One of the reasons was 'space' because he said "after 8PM, everyone has to keep their voices down so the baby can sleep";)
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Is there any information on how many people related to each other actually live in the Palace? I mean, when the King and Princess are home, is part of their entourage the parents, sisters and brothers etc or just the most inmate group like Lalla Salma, the King and their son?
That is an impressive gift, indeed. Wall decor is stunning
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Well let's hope the King will do some redecorating because that giant bed in the fourth pic is slightly over-the-top!
It definitely looks like a place that was owned by the Saudis, quite typical of the decor in palaces in the Gulf.
it's indeed very typical Saudi Palace.:D
it's very nice gesture from Sheikh Tamim, the palace have pretty view on sea too but I doubt King Mohammed VI will use it very often as he have his own prefered Palace in Agadir.
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A very big gift :) the palace is very very beautiful
Is there any information on how many people related to each other actually live in the Palace? I mean, when the King and Princess are home, is part of their entourage the parents, sisters and brothers etc or just the most inmate group like Lalla Salma, the King and their son?
just saw this Question and I wonder wich Place you are talking about,but here what i know about King,Princes and princess living:
basically each one have his own residence they are not living in same palace and they rarly do spend alot of time in same palace exept when they travel together for hoiday ir so,King and Lalla salma live in their Private Residence called Dar Essalam they are not living in palace and usually for Mohammed VI and Lalla salma the official Place is place for work and not living.
I hope my post help:)
Thanks for the photos!
Wall decor is magnificent.
I find it interesting that the Persian Gulf rulers present palaces to the members of the royal family.
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