Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Marrakech in March 6 :Secret Lives

Behind the red walls of Marrakech lie hidden treasures.

Open the door and walk into a calm courtyard with a fountain or pool, surrounded by walls lavishly decorated with ornate calligraphic stucco,

floral painted cedarwood ceilings

and geometric tiles.
I love this blend of spirals and chequers.

The only connection to the outside world is the
Moucharabia, a high window where the occupants can 'see without being seen', covered by ornate grids of metal.
This one is at the Bahia Palace where 24 concubines lived in rooms around a large courtyard.

We were taken by our guide to a traditional house called a Riyad.
This one had been turned into a museum of Morroccan life by a Dutch man called Bert Flint
Its crammed full of artefacts such as these camel bags,
used by nomads

and old wooden doors.
This is the view from one window across the courtyard .

Some of these Riyads have been converted into beautiful small hotels.
(But not for us....our holiday was cheap!)
As we walked through souks we passed large studded doors hiding who-knows-what beautiful architecture.
I peeped through a crack in one such door ,and although I don't have a photograph, its my abiding magical memory.
I saw a cool long corridor lined with rugs in muted natural colours, perhaps bamboo.
Striped sunlight trickled from above, and at the furthest end of the room one man dressed in a pale garment knelt and touched the ground with his forehead.
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