If you’ve ever been to Morocco, you probably know how much the locals enjoy sharing their history, culture and art with visitors. In fact, you cannot walk through Marrakech, Tangier or Rabat and not be awe-struck by the sheer historical beauty that the buildings themselves emanate there. And wait, there’s more! Morocco’s museums are so well-tended and fascinating, that they should not stay under the radar. For this specific reason, we are going to explore some of the most exquisite of them! Stay tuned!
1. Mohammed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art:
Located deep within the heart of the Moroccan capital city of Rabat, the Mohammed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art is one of the most important art museums in northern Africa. Pertaining to the National Foundation of Museums of Morocco, it is a relatively new addition to the beauty of the country for it has only been inaugurated in October 2014. Known also as “MMVI”, the establishment primarily harbours works from artists living in the 20th and the 21st centuries. Welcoming more than 160,000 visitors in its first year, it is the first public institution in Morocco to meet the strict international museum standards. The building in which it is housed represents a fine blend between the elder days and contemporary times for the subtle nuances of the Moorish and the Arabic architectural styles are combined in a seamless yet intricate fashion. Exhibiting more than 400 art pieces pertaining to approximately 200 artists, the museum has three floors for you to explore. Notable artists whose works can be found on display include: Safaa Erruas, Ahmed Yacoubi, Batoul Shimi, Meriem Meziane, Lamia Naji, Abbes Saladi, Mohamed Sarghini, Hassan Hajjaj, Mohamed Hamri, Mounir Fatmi, Tayeb Lahlou, and Younes Rahmoun. Definitely a must-see for art-buffs – especially for those ones who are interested in Arabic art.
2. Majorelle Garden:
This is an interesting addition to the list as it is not entirely a museum – it is a botanical garden to begin with but it does contain the Islamic Art Museum of Marrakech (which includes ceramics, paintings by Majorelle, jewellery, and a set of North African textiles from Saint-Laurent’s personal collection) and archaeological sections. Designed and built by the aforementioned expatriate French artist Jacques Majorelle between the 1920s and the 1930s, the establishment occupies a total exhibition space of 5 hectares. What’s interesting here is that the blue colour with which most walls and fountains are coloured is currently known as Majorelle Blue. Its distinctive tinge can easily be discerned and it blends in well with the rest of the edifice.
3. Photography Museum of Marrakesh:
Located within the bounds of the Medina district of the city of Marrakech (the oldest section of the pride of Morocco), the Photography Museum of Marrakesh is one of the most important cultural establishments of the country. Harbouring photographs from 1870 to 1950, it truly is a gem worth checking out – you know, not many museums have photos from the 1800s (wink). Opened in April 2009 and housed within a renovated funduq (that would be something like an inn for merchants and travellers), it was founded by Patrick Manac’h and Hamid Mergani so that local photographers could expose their works to the public. With over 4,500 masterpieces within its halls, the establishment also serves as an educational centre aiming to preserve the cultural significance of Morocco. Photo-buffs, rejoice!
4. Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies:
If you happen to find yourself in the city of Tangier, be sure to check out the Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies in the medina district for it is simply fabulous. The first American community property outside of the territory of United States, the establishment commemorates the relationship between the two countries (The Kingdom of Morocco and the United States of America). Opened in 1821 and housed within a building that adheres to the standards of the Moorish architectural style, it is now a cultural centre, a museum, and a research library, focusing on studying the Arabic language. What’s interesting about it is that its halls are decorated with the paintings of Marguerite McBey and other artists. If you are up for a multi-purpose institution, be sure to check this one out!
Did you enjoy our list? How many of the aforementioned cultural establishments have you already braved and how many of them are you planning to visit? Hit the comment section below and tell us all about you experiences! Also, do not forget to check back from time to time for some interesting updates! Safe travels!