The Arches of Marrakech

I am not sure that the depths of travel had fully resounded with me until I started sewing together my experiences in words, photographs and memories here on the blog.

It took hours of curious immersion into other travel blogs, into your blogs, to realise that some see the world through the story-filled faces of local people. And some see it through the cracks in the walls of dilapidated architectural foundations.lamp post arch Marrakech Some of you taste the world through potent spice racks and vividly stained fruits of the forest. Some of you ascend bold terrains and plummet into lucent water, the palms of your hands and soles of your feet directly in contact with the elements, like a new baby to a mother’s breast.arch architecture Marrakech

I am yet to discover my own lens. Perhaps I superficially skim the collective surface of several facades but in Marrakech, I saw a city through its arches. wpid-20150208_150407-01.jpegWithin hours of arriving, these flirtatious arches lured me into Marrakech’s tapering streets and bustling souks.arches Morocco I found them to be simple and understated on the front doors of family homes and cosy Riads and I marvelled at the ornate detail of the arches of Ben-Youssef Madrasa.doos MarrakechRiad Alnadine decoraerial view Medersea Ben Youssef MarrakechI frolicked in the splash of colour at the summery arches of the Marjorelle Gardens and once I spotted the first arch, the rest followed suit like a loyal shoal of arch Marjorelle gardens Marrakech

I couldn’t help but wonder what the arches concealed. Some were opaque and deadlocked to the interfering eyes of a tourist. Others allowed in a breadth of natural light and air, oxygenation to those of us with a thirst for discovery.flowery arch door Moroccoarch shaped door Marrakech I felt a nosy urge to swing through them in monkey-like fashion, to shuffle timidly up the blocked staircases, to snoop into the struggles and joys of the family lives and business skills they were masking.stairs through an arch Marrakech

Marrakech archI cannot explain to you the physics behind an arch and I have no understanding of the structural properties that keep an arch standing but somehow, I was drawn to these semi-elliptical shapes and in almost an instant, as I touched down back in England, the arches were gone. I imagine there just aren’t many around – or perhaps the hurried routine of daily life means that I merely fail to notice them but the pointed sharp corners I keep spotting in London seem uninviting  and clinical in near Koutoubia mosque

Pumpkin sneered a little when, in the middle of a dusty side road in Marrakech, under the stony shade of an arch, I blurted out, “I’m going to do a post on arches in Marrakech.” wooden arch door MarrakechHe thought it unlikely that I’d be able to gather enough images on such a specific theme but when I started work on this post and he realised how much trouble I was having scaling down my arch photos, he was soon swallowing his words…white stone arch Marrakechsunlight on arch Morocco

Have you ever viewed a city through its shapes or colours? Do any of these arches catch your eye?


28 thoughts on “The Arches of Marrakech

  1. Although I didn’t love Marrakech as much I thought I would it was so photogenic! Love these photos!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) April 23, 2015 — 3:46 pm

      Thanks so much Becky – so pleased you like the pics! I must admit I enjoyed Marrakech but am not sure I loved the city it as much as some friends of mine have done so I can relate to what you’re saying but yes, it is just SO photogenic – all the colours and textures etc.

  2. Wow, it looks so pretty! Marrakech has always been on the list of places I want to visit, but I havent yet made it yet. I’m intrigued by it!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) April 23, 2015 — 3:49 pm

      It’s just a complete assault to the senses – so much going on and just full of culture and beautiful architecture! Also very easy and quick from England and often there are great deals to Marrakech so you should definitely keep it in mind for a future break Laura ☺

  3. Beautiful photos of amazing architecture. And such variety, too.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) April 23, 2015 — 3:50 pm

      Thank you so much for the kind words! Really appreciate it and yes, I think you are absolutely right about the variety. All of the arches looked so different that I just couldn’t help but stare at them curiously and snap away ☺

  4. I loved the architecture in Marrakech! I stayed in a riad and everywhere there were beautiful arches and ornate carved wooden doors. So much more exotic that what we have in London.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) April 23, 2015 — 3:52 pm

      I know exactly what you mean Laura! My front door feels so boring now! The slightly black and white photo in this post was the Riad we stayed in and once I found the first arches in the city, I just kept seeing them everywhere I went! Such ornate architecture out there, it was lovely walking by and taking it all in ☺

  5. Everyone seems to be blogging about Marrakech. So much beauty there and I love your theme. I’ve always found arches to be a nice way to frame photographs. Sometimes it doesn’t work out as well as I’d like, but never mind!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) April 23, 2015 — 9:33 pm

      Thanks Frankie! I’d never actually even noticed arches in most places but they were so abundant in Marrakech that it was impossible not to! Marrakech is full of beautiful architecture, souks and colours!

  6. Takes me back to my visit to the Majorelle Gardens, loved the Moorish architecture of Marrakech!

    Suze | LuxuryColumnist

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) April 23, 2015 — 9:43 pm

      The architecture is beautiful there isn’t it Suze?! I really enjoyed the Marjorelle gardens too – I might even write about it one of these days if I can get up to date ☺

  7. travelingsaurus April 24, 2015 — 3:16 am

    I definitely have Marrakech on my list. These arches remind me very much of Tunisia, too. I really like your photo montage, it’s so interesting to see all the intricacies and variation!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) April 27, 2015 — 9:42 pm

      Thank you Heather ☺ I’ve never been to Tunisia but I can imagine the architecture being quite similar. All those intricacies really were so impressive and were easy to find all over the city, which was fascinating because I had never really known of Marrakech for its architecture prior to visiting.

  8. Great post! I agree that it’s great to read blogs and see how different people see places through unique lenses. I love that you chose to highlight the arches in Marrakech. They’re so lovely!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) April 27, 2015 — 9:43 pm

      Thank you Julie! It was the first time I had really noticed a place specifically by a particular aspect of its architecture and it really got me thinking how different people see places in their own very individual ways. All the arches were so beautiful that my front door feels rather boring now :mrgreen:

  9. I was totally obsessed by archways and doorways in Morocco! So beautiful

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) April 27, 2015 — 9:45 pm

      I completely agree Katie! I think I could quite happily have spent an entire day just walking around the city photographing doorways, which isn’t something I’d ever have imagined myself saying before this trip!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 1, 2015 — 10:03 pm

      I’m so glad you like them too! They’re just gorgeous aren’t they?! Thanks so much for reading ☺

  10. Katie@From Shores to Skylines April 26, 2015 — 12:24 pm

    Gorgeous shots – love all of the photos and I can see why you struggled to narrow it down 🙂 italy was a place that really struck me with all of it’s doors, so I completely understand!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 1, 2015 — 10:16 pm

      Thank you for the kind words Katie! I’m glad you’ve given me some heads up about the doors in Italy because I’m visiting Italy later in the summer for the first time in yearsso I’ll be sure to look closely at the doors ☺

  11. What a great perspective to take on a destination. The variety of arches is magnificent. I love how you’ve captured the essence of the city’s architecture, it is an angle not many would focus on.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 15, 2015 — 7:09 pm

      Thank you for this lovely comment! I just kept stumbling across so many arches and once I started noticing them, I realised just how many of them were there on every alleyway and corner and I loved the range from simple to ornate. I’d never really heard much about Marrakech’s architecture from friends who had previously gone so it came as a lovely surprise!

  12. Great photos, many of the arches look familiar.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) June 3, 2015 — 3:33 pm

      Thanks so much Miranda! It’s funny, since writing this post, when I have seen fellow travellers and travel bloggers share their own Marrakech photos, I often recognise some of these same arches in their photos too! I loved the architecture out there! Thanks so much for reading ☺

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) September 7, 2015 — 8:06 am

      Merci Beaucoup Emma! The Moorish architecture is so detailed and ornate isn’t it?

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