FOUM ZGUID – FROM SALT TO THREAD

The opening of the exhibition “Foum Zguid-du Sel au Fil”, a unique artistic meeting rich in color; took place on Wednesday at the “Dar El Bacha” Confluences Museum in Marrakech. Organized by the National Museums Foundation (FNM) until January 10, 2021, this exhibition presents a selection of beautiful weavings from the region of Foum Zguid, considered to be a true showcase for the know-how and life of the South of the Kingdom. This selection, it is pointed out, belongs to the collector Lucien Viola who kindly shared his passion with Moroccans and visitors to the “Dar El Bacha” Museum of Confluences.

Morocco has been at the centre of an important commercial and caravan network accross the Sahara in the past. Trade betwwen sub saharan Africa and Morocco was carried through roads traced for centuries by caravans that transported salt, ivory and gold. Throughout history, from antiquity to the Middle Ages and up to early 19th century, a large flow of people from different ethnicities resulted from this trade. Sub Saharan communities first settled in South West of Sijilmassa and Draa, in the Merzouga desert, in Foum Zguid, then thoughout Morocco. These communities introduced a pronounced African rooted style to the production of indigenous women who lived in tha Arab and Berber villages of Oulad Hlal in the Foum Zguid region. They still produce embroidered shawls, as well as woven and dyed bands and veils that bear the imprint of a spirituality originating from Sub Saharan Africa and reflect a deep historical, ethnic and artistic Afro-Moroccan intermingling.

MENARA GARDEN

The creation of the gardens of the Medina in Marrakesh dates back to the 12th century, during the reign of the Almohad dynasty, at the request of King Abdelmoumen Almohade to serve as a training ground for soldiers to bathe and create a place conducive to life residents as orchards for agriculture.

Al-Menara Park is one of the oldest gardens in Western Islamic and its first historians date back to the reign of Almohad sultan Abdelmoumen Ben Ali. The pawn indicates that the founder of the Almohad state, on his return from Sale in 1157, had planted the lake of Marrakech, a large orchard surrounded by a fence and equipped with a huge reservoir to store large quantities of water For its part, the author of foresight indicates that Abdelmoumen, west of the city, towards Nafis, has planted a garden in front of his palace, this which suggests that it is a garden of Menara and its large cistern.

The important water needs for irrigation have been blocked by the Almoravids technique created by the Almoravids since the 10th century and adopted by their united predecessors who developed the network of surface channels. According to the son of the owner of the prayer, the completion of this park was done by the scientist Haji Ibn Yaish. In addition to its role of multiple interest, the water tank was used to train members of the Almohad army to swimming in preparation for the passport to Andalusia.

During the Saadiyya period, the sources refer to the lighthouse garden in 1579, where the princes repaired and reused it as a resting place. Later, Sultan Alawi, Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdallah, built the current wing, including a rest and rest cabin.

The building is surrounded by a wall of rubble. It consists of two floors and is topped with a traditional pyramidal roof covered with green tiles. The basement dedicated to the harem and the servants is composed of four tall columns and open rooms. It leads to a balcony overlooking the water pond leading to a high terrace. They offer a superb and complete view of the garden and the cistern. The arch that leads to the outside bears inscriptions bearing the praises of the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and the date of its construction in 1286 AH (1869-1870 AD)

The building’s decoration is composed of overlapping geometric friezes, painted on the walls and polychrome wooden ceilings, as well as multicolored shapes and zigzags.

The Menara Park offers the typical and classic form of Moroccan royal gardens, similar to those of the Agdal gardens of Marrakech, the Souani cistern of Meknes and Jnane El Sabil in Fez. But it seems difficult to make a comparison with the majority of the tanks of the city of Kairouan in Tunisia, which does not look like it from the point of view of the form or the mode of preparation and construction. It seems more likely to seek out its origins and sources of influence in gardens and the main water sources in Andalusia, especially Granada and Cordoba.

As you sink into the lighthouse garden, it is full of surprises. In fact, it is a time capsule that takes you through centuries testifying to the succession of kings and dynasties, while this building is still facing changes to become a facet of the city and a pride of the people of Marrakech.

WHAT IS A RIAD?!

The word “riad” (Arabic: رياض) comes from the Arabic plural of “garden” (rawd), in Morocco in particular it indicates a form of traditional dwelling, built around a garden or an internal courtyard. In recent years, many of these houses have been restored and transformed into accommodation for tourists: the riad is now internationally known as a typical Moroccan hospitable structure.
So how are these “riads” made? What are the differences compared to a normal hotel? Below we will try to explain in a simple way what are the characteristics and the charm of the riad, together with the differences between the riad and the hotel.

THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE MOROCCAN RIAD

In the building there is a garden or an internal courtyard
It is possible to live the unique experience of staying in a typical traditional Moroccan house, in a historic building with an internal courtyard. The courtyard is located in the center of the building and is a pleasant space to relax, often enriched by the presence of a large number of plants, flowers and fountains.

It is located in the medina (historical center of the city)
The riad is a form of traditional Moroccan spontaneous architecture, born in the city, which is why it is usually located in the medina. Undoubtedly it deserves to be considered by those interested in traditional culture and architecture.

The property is quite small
Initially, all riads were private houses of various sizes with rooms that developed around the courtyard. Nowadays, however, they are relatively small hotels (usually 4 to 9 rooms).

The relationship with the staff is very close
Since the structure is small, the owner himself can meet you at the front door. Compared to the hotel, the riad is a place where you can feel at home and receive warm hospitality. Often the staff of the riad is available to provide tourist information and “tips” on how to move through the narrow streets of the Medina, with courtesy.

The riad sometimes has an international flavor
As sometimes happens, the revaluation of the riad is partly due to the rediscovery intervention by foreigners: the old palaces of the Medina have been valued mainly by Europeans, in particular by the French, which is why the riad often has a taste international, consisting of a sort of mixture between Morocco and Europe.

There are numerous luxury riads
Having been originally built as a mansion, the riad already has a great architectural value in itself, which has been further enriched by the fusion with modern comfort.

It is not possible to find a riad in all areas of Morocco
The cities in which it is possible to stay in a riad are limited in number: the prezenza of the riad is a characteristic of the historic city with great urban and architectural value. There are numerous riads in cities that are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as Marrakech and Fes.

ASPECTS TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT IF YOU WANT TO STAY IN A RIAD

It is not always easy to reach the riad
The riad is like a common home: there are not always signs outside the building. Contrary to what happens for the hotel, it is possible that a taxi driver will not be able to get to the front door and finds himself in difficulty if he is only told the name of the riad: it would therefore be necessary to have the precise address.

There is no division into categories
It is not easy to understand the level of a riad, since there is no star rating used for hotels. They have a first or second class classification issued by the bodies responsible for issuing the operating license: first class riads usually have the swimming pool and the wellness center (hammam and massage area). Sleeping in a riad can be an unforgettable experience if you choose a characteristic and stylish one.

It is not said that the service is completely dedicated to comfort
Even if the building is beautiful, you cannot always expect a service that matches a hotel. For those looking for absolute comfort and modernity, a hotel in the new area, outside the medina, would probably be more appropriate.

Each riad has a unique style
The style of the riad can be very varied depending on the taste of the owner. It is advisable to consult images, location, guest reviews, etc. when making your choice.

EL BADII PALACE

El Badi Palace (sometimes spelled El Badiî or El Badia, literally “palace of the incomparable”) is an architectural complex built in the late 16th century and located in Marrakech, Morocco. Former palace, it was built by the Saadian sultan Ahmed al-Mansur Dhahbi to celebrate the victory over the Portuguese army, in 1578, in the battle of the Three Kings with more than 300 rooms decorated with the best materials of the time: gold, turquoise and crystal. Today, only a huge sculpted garden remains, sprinkled with orange trees and surrounded by high walls. The decline of the palace came at the end of the 17th century, when Sultan Moulay Ismail decided to move the capital of Marrakech to Meknes, completely sacking the El Badi Palace.

To build this palace, the Sultan chose an ancient Almohad garden, near his private apartments. The astrologers and religious personalities consulted approved the speedy and fixed the start of the works in December 1578. The palace complex is a precious testimony to the knowledge of Moroccan architecture of the sixteenth century. The contributions and foreign influences are numerous: in fact, the general layout of the building and the decorations attest to the influence of Granada. The main access to the palace was from the southwest, through the gate of “Bab Al-Rokham” (marble gate). The plan is organized around a vast rectangular courtyard of 135 meters by 110 meters. The center of the latter was decorated with a basin of 90 meters by 20 which had in its center a monumental fountain. Around the large central courtyard, on the east and west sides, two pavilions faced each other: the “crystal pavilion” and the “audience pavilion” of almost identical plan. The north and south sides were occupied by the “green pavilion” as well as that of the “heliotrope” which had two open galleries.

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KOUTOUBIA MINBAR 
To make the palace more interesting is the Minbar (pulpit) of the Koutoubia displayed inside. It is carved in cedar wood, with inlays and engravings in gold and silver made in the 12th century by the artisans of Cordoba.

APPROXIMATE TIMETABLE: 7/7 from 8h45 to 12h45 & from 14h30 to 18h00

FIND THE PALACE ON THE MAP

MADERSA BEN YOUSSEF

Located in the heart of the medina of Marrakech, the Koranic school was founded at the beginning of the 14th century by the Moroccan monarch Abu el Hassan. Only with the reign of the Saadians who enlarged and redecorated the building in 1570, Madrasa became the largest Islamic college in the Maghreb. Region.Up to 900 students would have lived there to study law and theology. The monarchy supported them by providing food and lodging – the kitchen, however, had to be done by the students themselves. Madrasa Ben Youssef was transformed into a museum in 1960 and, since its renovation in 1999, it is one of the most popular sites in Marrakech. The bronze doorway at the entrance to the college, adorned with beautiful cedarwood and mosaic carvings, is an impressive masterpiece of its time.

Through a passage, you reach the interior with its large, marble patio with a water basin artistically decorated in its center. The entire inner courtyard is lined with beautiful mosaics, its walls and columns are adorned with exceptional sculptures and stuccoes. Enjoy a fabulous view of this masterpiece of oriental architecture from the second floor where you will also find college student rooms arranged around small courtyards and the large patio. Next to the patio, there is a prayer room characterized by three marble columns. Looking up, you can see the awesome dome – cleverly crafted from cedar wood with 24 small mosiac windows in it.

The medersa revolves around a large courtyard with a central pool for ablutions. The buildings are covered with an abundance of decorations: carved cedar wood, elegant stucco and colorful zellige tiles. Some elements of the medersa are remarkably similar to the Alhambra Palace in Granada, indicating that Andalusian artists were probably brought from Spain for the project. At the end of the courtyard is a large prayer hall with the most elaborate decoration. The interior is covered with an abundance of patterns of pine cones and palm trees, which are used around the mihrab to create a three-dimensional appearance. Throughout the Madrasa, there are many Arabic inscriptions in stucco and zelliges, the most common being the invocation of bismillah: “In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful”. Above the central courtyard are the tiny windows of the tiny student dormitories. The rooms are arranged around small courtyards lined with fine wooden balustrades. Nearly 900 students have been housed here, and it’s hard to imagine how they all snuck together. Through the staircase in the entrance vestibule, visitors can explore all the rooms and enjoy beautiful views of the courtyard.

WHERE IS THE MADERSA

TRAVELLER’S CHOISE 2020

It was a great emotion to have received the “Traveller’s Choise 2020” Tripadvisor award for the first time. Riad Miral has been awarded thanks to reviews, ratings and profiles saved by travelers from around the world and which Tripadvisor uses to reward the best in the travel industry. Today Riad Miral has joined 10% of the best hotels in the world. THANK YOU SO MUCH TO ALL OUR CUSTOMERS WHO LEAVE A POSITIVE REVIEW ON TRIPADVISOR !!! Without you this dream would not have come true!

THE SEVEN SAINTS OF MARRAKECH

The Seven Saints square in Marrakech is located near the Bab Doukkala gate. Seven are the towers spaced about 20 meters from each other on the top of which there are 7 olive trees.
The seven saints of Marrakech are:
Sidi Youssef Ben Ali
Fall Ayyad
Sidi Bel Abbès
Sidi Ben Slimane al-Jazouli
Sidi Abdelaziz Tebbâa
Sidi Abdellah El Ghazouani
Imam Souheili
All these saints were great scholars in Islamic theology or great Sufi mystics. It should be remembered that the holy term does not refer exclusively to a person of faith who has performed miracles, but also to very pious people who during their life have done good to others, teaching morals and religion. The most important of these saints is certainly Sidi Bel Abbès, considered by the inhabitants of Marrakech as the true and only patron of the city.
The Medina houses the tombs of the seven patron saints of Morocco. The annual pilgrimage brings together thousands of faithful. The devotional circuit has an unchanging path through the Medina, from south-east to south-west, passing through the north. It always starts on a Tuesday and ends the following Monday, and every day a saint is visited. The “ziara” is made in this order: Sidi Youssef Ben Ali on Tuesday, Cadi Ayyad Benmoussa, entering through the door of Bab Aghmat on Wednesday, Sidi Bel Abbès on Thursday, entering through Bab Khemis, on Friday passing through Bab Tarzoud leads to the mausoleum of Sidi Ben Slimane, on Saturdays Sidi Abdelziz Tebbaâ, on Sunday it is Sidi Abdellah El Ghazouani’s turn and on Monday, passing through Bab Robb, the pilgrimage ends at the tomb of Sidi Souheili. According to tradition, these saints are believed to sleep alone and will wake up one day to resume their good deeds. A pilgrimage to the tombs offers an alternative to hajj in Mecca and the Medina for people from western Morocco who were unable to visit Arabia due to the arduous and expensive journey.

THE AROMATIC BIO GARDEN OF OURIKA

It is at the foot of the High Atlas, at an altitude of 840 m and 35 km south-east of Marrakech in the Ourika valley, that since 1998, the first Biological Garden of Aromatic and Medicinal Plants has been installed. Morocco. On 1 hectare, there are about fifty aromatic, medicinal and ornamental plants. Discover the richness of the botany of Morocco and the region, learn to spot plants, taste them, smell them, touch them. The Ourika Bio-Aromatic Garden was created in 1998 by two specialist and passionate brothers:
– Dr Jalil Belkamel, Phyto-Aromatherapist, specialist in essential oils
– Dr AbdelFattah Belkamel, Dr in Pharmacy, specialist in essential oils
They then decide to transform a field of potatoes into a garden, to set up a production unit for natural cosmetic products (Nectarome company), to carry out tests for science and international research on plants, and to ” bring to all this a dimension of awareness and awareness by opening it to the public. Open to the public, the Bio-Aromatic Garden of Ourika, unique in Morocco, was designed to inform and educate its visitors but also the inhabitants of the region to various causes:

– First of all, the importance of preserving our environment and our planet. This by limiting, for example, the use of chemicals and pesticides, but also by learning to live with Nature.

– Phytotherapy and Aromatherapy: The interest and virtues of aromatic and medicinal plants from the region and elsewhere. Their different traditional and modern uses in various fields: beauty, health, religion and traditions, culinary, …

– Teach the individual to reconnect with his five senses in an environment dedicated to Nature and in which Man has his place to be in harmony with her and with himself.
More info: https://www.jardin-bioaromatique-ourika.com

MACAAL: MATERIAL INSANITY EXPOSURE

Located at the Golf Al Madeen, the MACAAL Museum opened more then a year ago and is already considered one of a major exhibition space in Marrakech! Gathering more than 30 artists from the continent and its diaspora, Material Insanity explores the material and its symbolic significance in a plurality of dimensions and formal experiences. Through installations made from everyday objects or materials, the exhibition combines various discourses in the service of a new aesthetic.

With an immersive scenography created by the architect and artist Zineb Andress Arraki, the artworks of Material Insanity question the relationship between form and meaning, while sublimating the potentialities of the medium itself.

Tradition, hospitality and quality in a unique place for a unique occasion

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