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Culture in Morocco
 
 
 

General

The almost medieval-like hustle and bustle of Morocco is for most travellers a world away from their own cities and towns. The culture and people are usually so completely different from what they know that they often find themselves in situations to which they have no idea how to react. The art of this country is truly special. Many historical examples are on display at the local museums. More modern examples are on display at art galleries and in souks.

Souks are a way of life in Morocco and you usually wont have to go far to find one. You can often get good bargains here, but remember that most Moroccans will have a lot more experience than you will when it comes to haggling the price so you will seldom find yourself able to get better than that which is offered.

Architecture

Architecture in Morocco is a blend of Black African and Islamic design styles, with the Islamic styles dominating in this combination. This is not only viewed in the building itself, but the lavish gardens, extravagant decorations and elaborate use of deep and contrasting colour. Turbulence in the history of Morocco is clearly seen in the strong desert fortifications and the well-protected palace walls. It is also the style with which Moroccans choose to decorate the interiors of buildings that gives these architectural wonders a unique and majestic atmosphere.

There are a few dominant characteristics in regard to the architecture of Morocco. Most buildings feature large, intimidating archways and beautiful domes that complete them. It is also common to find enchanting courtyards, sprawling gardens and the use of ornaments to decorate the exterior of the building. Moroccan architecture also makes use of Islamic calligraphy as decoration, opposed to pictures and as mentioned before, the use of colour is also significant to their designs. Geometrical patterns are also commonly found in the architecture of Morocco.

Noteworthy buildings to visit while in Morocco would include the Royal Palace, the Mohammed V Mausoleum and the Kasbah des Oudaias. While in Fez, it is recommended that tourists visit the Museum of Moroccan Arts, not for what it exhibits, but the museum building was constructed approximately one hundred years ago. The city of Marrakech is home to the Palace of the Dead, the Saadian Tombs and the Bahia Palace.

Many cities have spectacular examples of Moroccan architecture and visitors will be amazed at the diversity and uniqueness of each building. Morocco has been loyal to its age-old traditions and cultures, not only in lifestyles, but in its architectural style. They have managed to modernize their cities without losing the richness and beauty of the past.

Literature

Moroccan literature has been delivering wonderful pieces of poetry and writings for centuries. The University of Al Karaouine, for instance, was established in the year 859. This university can still be visited in the city of Fez today, but played a vital role in the development and education of literature in Morocco many years ago. It has a proud history and nurtured talents such as Ibn Harazim, Ibn Khaldoun and Ibn Wazzan. But the most prolific and celebrated literary mind and an iconic Moroccan figure is Ibn Battuta. He published his narrative called "Rihla", meaning "Travels", in 1356, after he had toured from Mali through to India and even visited China.

Poetry and literature also found its way into the royal family, with Ahmed al-Mansour being famously known as the “Poet King”. This amazing Saadian ruler was in power between the years 1578 to 1603, and was one of the biggest contributors to the Taroudant library. Another significant library in Morocco, is the Moroccan National Library that was established in 1920. It was constructed in Rabat and is still functioning as a leading library. The University Library in the city of Fez and the Library of Casablanca are also amongst the most important literary establishments in Morocco.


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