museums

Dar Batha Museum – Art, Craft and History

January 1st, 2011
By Nicola

If you have an appreciation for art, craft and history, the Dar Batha Museum located in Fez, Morocco is a must-see attraction. This excellent collection of artifacts is housed in a Hispano-Moorish palace that dates back to the 19th century – a beautiful piece of art in itself.

So exactly what sort of traditional artwork can you expect to find at the Dar Batha Museum? Most traditional forms of art were also practical in nature so they usually took the form of furniture that was given a decorative touch. Therefore you can expect to enjoy intricately carved wooden furniture, wrought iron with decorative finishing touches, carpets, embroidery and jewelry.

The Dar Batha Museum also has a great collection of ancient coins. All of these intricately worked masterpieces of functional or decorative art are beautiful to behold and visitors may find themselves struggling to decide where to start and which item to look at next.

The best part of the museum, however, is undoubtedly the pottery room where you will find an unbeatable display of ceramic objects that have been masterfully crafted by Fez craftsmen through the centuries. Of particular interest are the articles dating back to the 10th century which contain items of ‘fez blue’. At the time, this relatively groundbreaking way of coloring pottery involved the use of cobalt to obtain the bluish coloring. Typical ceramics feature a white enamel background with stylized floral motives interweaved on them in brilliant shades of blue. The floral motifs are both sophisticated and harmonious and are a delight to behold.

Also worth seeing are the astrolabes – a display featuring a variety of fascinating astronomical instruments that were created and perfected by learned Arabs. They are not only functional, but wonderfully decorative with intricately worked metal and inset jewels. You’ll find the Dar Batha Museum at Place du Batha in Fez.

The Dar Batha Museum is close to all the Fez hotels and riads listed on Morocco Gateway which you can view by clicking here.

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El Badi Palace in Marrakech

December 6th, 2010
By Nicola

Commissioned in 1578 under the Saadi dynasty in celebration of victory at the Battle of Three Kings, the El Badi Palace in Marrakech is still a popular attraction in Morocco despite its quite poor state.

It took approximately twenty-five years for the massive palace to be constructed, and the riches and decoration were so overwhelming that it took Alaouite Sultan Mawlay Ismail twelve years to destroy. Mawlay used the pieces from the El Badi Palace to create his own palace in Meknes, leaving just the shell of the palace behind, which has become a historical landmark in Marrakech.

It is said that the palace once had three hundred and sixty rooms and was decorated in Sudanese gold, ivory, Italian marble, semi-precious stones and cedar wood. Visitors to the palace will still be able to walk through the courtyard with its large pools and sunken gardens, even though the fountains that once graced this courtyard are no longer there.

The small dungeon with four cells, where the sultan kept his prisoners, has also survived and can be viewed. The palace that used to host lavish parties and royal gatherings is still the venue for music and festivities, as the National Festival of Popular Arts is hosted here annually. The entrance fee for the El Badi Palace is ten Dirham (c.€1).

The El Badi Palace is a short distance from any of the hotels and Riads of Marrakech listed here.

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