What sets Morocco’s architecture apart is not only its exceptional blend of different design elements but also the unique features of each of its traditional buildings. Mosques, riads, souks, ramparts, kasbahs, palaces and medersas are all different types of buildings found throughout Morocco: they have different purposes and very different architectural designs. We will cover some of them below.Mosques
Mosques are arguably Morocco’s most important structures. In every city, village, or town – no matter how small – you will find at least one mosque with a tall minaret towering over the city. With walls and fountains covered in green and white zellij and a beautifully adorned mihrab (a niche indicating the direction to Mecca) in stucco and marble, it is no wonder visitors find Moroccan mosques to be the epitome of Moroccan architecture. For some of the most exquisite examples of Moroccan mosques, visit the spiritual city of Fez, particularly Al-Qarawiyyin Mosque. Keep in mind only the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca and Tin Mal Mosque in the rural High Atlas Mountains are open for non-Muslims to tour inside the buildings.Riads
Traditional homes and palaces in Morocco are called riads. As private residences, they were built with seclusion in mind. They are focused inward with a courtyard in the center, which allow for both family privacy and protection from Moroccan weather. All rooms open to this courtyard and feature windows only towards this central space. Courtyards are often decorated with a fountain and orange or lemon trees. Depending on the family’s wealth, the riad might be decorated with magnificent zellij and stucco work. Many ancient riads have been renovated recently in Marrakesh and Essaouira and plenty have been repurposed today as hotels and restaurants.Kasbahs
A type of medina, the kasbah is a fortified city built for defensive purposes. Besides their extraordinary size, kasbahs are quite impressive and were typically built in harmony with their surroundings. The massive outer walls and all the buildings inside easily blend into the background with their tan-colored exterior. The simple construction materials used enabled the interiors to stay warm in winter and cool in summer. The Kasbah des Udayas in Rabat in particular is quite an interesting sight to behold.