Morocco is a photographer’s dream. There is so much to capture, especially the architecture that reflects Morocco’s rich cultural and historical heritage. The French, Moorish and Islamic influences are very evident in doors across the country, whether they are heavily embellished horseshoe arches or simple wooden doors with peeling, decades-old paintwork and simplistic latches.
In Ait Benhaddou:
And in Casablanca:
In El Khorbat in the Todra valley:
From Marrakech: The first, brightly coloured door is in the Jardin Majorelle, the twelve-acre botanical and artist’s landscape garden, owned by Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé.
From the hillside hamlet of Moulay Idriss:
And I haven’t even got to the port city of Essaouira yet 🙂
Although Moulay Idriss is an important religious site in northern Morocco, what I loved the most is the way the town tumbles down two hills and how, traversing a winding labyrinth of alleys that lead to spectacular vantage points from the top, it appears that life in this picturesque little hamlet hasn’t changed for centuries.
The town is the final resting place of Morocco’s religious and secular founder, Moulay Idriss el Akhbar, a decendent of the Prophet Muhammad who brought Islam to Morocco. It is said that five pilgrimages to Moulay Idriss are the spiritual equivalent of one to Mecca, earning it the nickname the poor man’s Mecca. Until 2005, non-muslims were not allowed to spend the night in town.
Here, as in many other hillside settlements where space is tight, the humble donkey is the only way of getting things up or down the hill.
Moulay Idriss is an easy day trip from the Imperial city of Meknes and close to the Roman ruins at Volubilis, an archeological UNESCO World Heritage site.