Marrakech Moorish Architecture Tour
Study Architecture in Morocco
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Your tour into the wonderful delights of Moorish architecture begins here in the lovely city of Marrakech! After your group checks into your accommodations, a guided tour of the Medina awaits you. Medina is the term used to describe the ancient walled city in many Arab countries. Walk through the ancient streets and enjoy all the sights and scents, and perhaps try some delicious street food available in markets, also known as souks. Take this free time to visit Project Soar, an NGO that works to keep girls safe and out of child marriages. They provide programs to help further girls’ education and improve their quality of life.
Your second day in Marrakech begins with a delicious breakfast. Your first stop of the day is the Dar si Said Museum, which regularly holds exhibitions of historic and modern Moroccan art. The building itself is a wonderful Byzantine structure that boasts beautiful outdoor areas. No trip to Marrakech is complete without a visit to its lovely gardens. Your group will go to the Majorelle Gardens, founded in 1923 by French artist Jacques Majorelle. The garden is over two acres and includes Majorelle’s former residence. Today, the villa houses the Islamic Art Museum of Marrakech, the Berber Museum, and has recently opened the Musee Yves Saint Laurent. Finally, you will head to the Souk Semmarine to shop and enjoy the food and culture of Marrakech.
After breakfast, your group will head over to the Badi Palace complex, which was built in 1593 by the Sultan Ahmad al-Mansur of the Saadian Dynasty. Today it sits in ruins after the Sultan Ismail Ibn Sharif of the Alaouite Dynasty ransacked it for its valuables and decorations. It still is a beautiful castle, with many wonderful areas to explore. Your group will return to the Medina to explore the famous Jemaa el-Fnaa market. Enjoy all the sights, delicacies and wares that you can buy to take a small piece of Marrakech home.
For your fourth day in Marrakech, your group will head to the beautiful Marrakech Museum in the Dar Menebhi Palace, which was constructed by Mehdi Menebhi in the 19th century. It was converted into a museum in 1997, and serves as a prime example of traditional Moorish architecture. The museum hosts exhibits of both modern and traditional Moroccan art together with fine examples of historical books, coins, and pottery of the Berber, Moroccan Jewish and Islamic cultures.
The next stop for your group is at the Saadian Tombs, sepulchers dating to the time of the Saadian dynasty sultan Ahmad al-Mansur. They are located on the south side of the Kasbah Mosque, and remained abandoned until they were rediscovered in 1917. They have since been renovated, and the mausoleum holds about 60 members of the Saadi Dynasty that came from the valley of the Draa River. Among the graves are those of the aforementioned Ahmad al-Mansur and his family. The building is composed of three rooms, with the most famous being the room with twelve columns. This room contains the grave of the son of the sultan’s son, Ahmad al-Mansur.
Your tour of Moorish Architecture in Marrakech continues with a visit to the beautiful Medara Garden. The Gardens are botanical gardens established in the 12th century by the Almohad Caliphate ruler Abd al-Mu’min. Beautiful orchards and olive groves surround the pavilion and lake. The next stop is the historic Koutoubia Mosque, founded during the reign of the Berber Almohad Caliph Yaqub Al-Mansur from 1184 to 1199. The Koutoubia Mosque and tower make up the oldest and most complete structure of the Almohad period, making it an important historical landmark. The final stop for today in the Souk Place de épices, considered by many to the smaller counterpart to the Jemaa el-Fnaa. Less frequented, it serves as the perfect place to sit back and relax for the final day of the tour.
Your final day in Marrakech will start with a tour of the magnificent Bahia Palace. Built during the 19th century for Si Moussa, it beautifully highlights the characteristic elements of Moorish architecture, with its lush decorations, fountains, gardens, and tile work. The next stop is the Ben Youssef Madrasa. Madrasa is the word for an Islamic school that focuses on teaching, worship and community interaction. They teach a variety of subjects, including literature, science, history, and Islam. The madrasa that stands here today was built during the rule of Sultan Sidi Abdallah al-Ghalib during the 16th century, and it also serves as an excellent example of this style of architecture.
Your group will have one final delicious breakfast before heading out. Take this time to do some last-minute sightseeing or shopping before your group leaves for the airport to make the voyage back home.
Marrakech is a beautiful city steeped in rich history. The incredible intricacies of Moorish architecture are truly a sight to behold. Join us on this trip abroad to discover the wonders of this Moroccan city while helping girls develop and reach their full potential!
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