Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Morocco: Day 5 Marrakech

200 posts! I didn't think I'd make it. Day 5 was my culture day. More photos at Shutterfly.

First I hit the Badi Palace, built between 1578 and 1602, and stripped for the next 12 years. Apparently they didn't think of charging admission (invented by the Presley family, roughly 32 min after finding Elvis dead on the toilet). Now there's not much left but walls & a few scattered tiles. It's still impressive, much like the Colisseum is just a shell of its former glory.

Next up is the Saadian tombs, which contain the remains of the guys who looted the Badi Palace. They had the good sense to give a good sprinkling of superstition to their tombs to prevent the locals (but not the French colonists) from cracking them open and selling tickets to visiting yahoos (like me).

The Bahia palace is a well-preserved home of later rulers. The unbelievable tilework, carving and ceilings are amazing, which was the thought at the time it was built; it was looted the day the owner died. My favorite part is the sublime arabic seamlessly worked into the carvings along the wall. While there's no formal representation of people or animals in Moroccan artwork, the delicate scrolling writing more than makes up for it.

The Museum of Morocco is basically another fabulous home open to the public, with both contemporary and modern crafts and arts on the walls. The home itself is the centerpiece. For the same 5 euro entry fee you get a trip through the former mosque school, too. It's peaceful, though the rooms are tiny -- no more than 60 sq. ft.

Of course, the Koutubia mosque looks good all day & night.

I finished the day with another tasty meal at the main square. Another day in the Red City (because of the walls, not the communist leanings) was done -- though the grills were still running, as I could see from the roof of my hotel.

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