morocco’s architecture & interiors

Moroccan architecture is an exotic mixture of Islamic influence and Hispano-Moorish style.  Islamic motifs include elaborate geometric patterns, Quranic verses in Islamic calligraphy, and zellij, or ceramic tile mosaics.  Hispano-Moorish style is reflected in white walls, stucco roofs among arches, and large domes.

Arches are common features in Morocco, especially clover-shaped horseshoe and rounded keyhole arches. These are found everywhere, in doors, entrances, windows or niches. Doors are often adorned with delicate metal work, carving or color.

Interiors are lush with luxurious textiles, rich paint colors, ornate tilework, and terra-cotta tile floors covered with a hodge-podge of colorful rugs.

The country is dotted with mosques, marked by minarets that reach for the clouds, walls and fountains covered in green and white zellij, and an adorned mihrab, a niche indicating the direction to Mecca in stucco and marble.

Riads are traditional homes focused inward with courtyards in the center. Built in the heart of the courtyard, living room or guest room, a marble or cement fountain is a conspicuous feature.

A kasbah is a a fortified home made for a ruling family.  A ksar is a fortified tribal village with tan building exteriors that blend into the surrounding desert landscape. They are massive structures, often built with mud-clay from riverbanks.

The Hassan II mosque in Casablanca was built by the late King Hassan II to commemorate his 60th birthday.  It was built in six years, from 1987-1993.  The 210-meter minaret is the tallest building in the country and the tallest minaret in the world.  In the mosque’s vast prayer hall are amazing wood carvings, zellij and stucco molding.  A team of over 6,000 master craftsmen carved intricate patterns and designs in cedar from the Middle Atlas, marble from Agadir, and granite from Tafraoute.


Hassan II mosque in Casablanca


inside Hassan II mosque


inside Hassan II mosque


inside Hassan II mosque




post office in Casablanca










Hotel Madrid in Chefchaouen


restored kasbah in Chefchaouen












mudbrick ruins in Tinghir

The ksar is a group of earthen buildings crowded together within defensive walls, reinforced by corner towers. Aït-Ben-Haddou, in Ouarzazate province, is a striking example of the architecture of southern Morocco.


Aït Ben Haddou



Bahia Palace is a palace and gardens in the Marrakech medina.  It was commissioned sometime between 1859-1873 and was completed in 1900.


Bahia Palace Marrakech


Bahia Palace Marrakech


Bahia Palace Marrakech


Bahia Palace Marrakech

Near the famous square Jemaa el-Fna is the largest mosque in Marrakech, Koutoubia Mosque; it is ornamented with curved windows, a band of ceramic inlay, pointed crenelated parapets, and decorative arches.  The minaret tower is 77 meters, or 253 feet, and includes a spire and orbs.  It was completed under the reign of the Berber Almohad Caliph Yaqub al-Mansur (1184-1199).


Koutoubia mosque in Marrakech


interior courtyard at a riad in Marrakech

Since I was on an economy-style G Adventures Tour, our accommodations sadly didn’t include any riads.  I was disappointed in this regard.

*April 4-23, 2019*


“PHOTOGRAPHY” INVITATION:  I invite you to create a photography intention and then create a blog post for a place you have visited. Alternately, you can post a thematic post about a place, photos of whatever you discovered that set your heart afire. You can also do a thematic post of something you have found throughout all your travels: churches, doors, people reading, people hiking, mountains, patterns, all black & white, whatever!

In my case, my intention was to look for thematic possibilities during my trip to Morocco. As Morocco has very distinctive architecture and interiors, I tried to capture the essence of architectural and interior design in photos.

You probably have your own ideas about this, but in case you’d like some ideas, you can visit my page: photography inspiration.

I challenge you to post no more than 20-25 photos (I have more here!) and to write less than 1,500 words about any travel-related photography intention you set for yourself. Include the link in the comments below by Wednesday, December 18 at 1:00 p.m. EST.  When I write my post in response to this challenge on Thursday, December 19, I’ll include your links in that post.

This will be an ongoing invitation, every first, second, and third (& 5th, if there is one) Thursday of each month. Feel free to jump in at any time. 🙂

I hope you’ll join in our community. I look forward to reading your posts!