Famous Cities in Morocco Series (Episode 13 of 13): Taroudant
By: Claire Boyle / Arab America Contributing Writer
The country of Morocco has so many interesting towns and cities as well as beautiful landmarks. From the astonishing city of Casablanca to Marrakech, Fes, and Rabat; Morocco has everything one might hope to experience. These places boast historical monuments, such as the Hassan II Mosque, the Jemaa el-Fnaa, and many others. In this article series, we will be featuring cities and landmarks in Morocco that are historically and culturally significant. In this thirteenth and final installment, we will be traveling to Taroudant which is also known as “Morocco’s Windy City.” We will learn about these beautiful landmarks by visiting the astonishing piece of Morocco’s architecture, the Palais Claudio Bravo and the Medina of Taroudant. Finally, we will learn about the history of the cities themselves as well as some of their famous and associated landmarks.
Historical Synopsis and Background of Taroudant:
The city of Taroudant has a very long-lived history, and that is because the city has been occupied by people since the year 1056. The Almoravids, “an imperial Berber Muslim dynasty centered in Morocco” where the original ruling family in Taroudant. Their empire stretched from western Morocco to that of Al-Andalus in Moorish Spain. Taroudant is located within the Sous Valley which happens to be situated by many major cities in Morocco including Marrakech, Agadir, Ouarzazate, and into the Sahara Desert as well. Taroudant is also affectionately known as “Morocco’s Windy City” since it is incredibly windy there and the weather is so mild and beautiful. Fast forward 500 years and Taroudant is again under a new dynastic family, and this time, they are Saadi Sultanate who was an “Arab Sharifian,” and they were largely responsible for producing some of Morocco’s greatest works of architecture. The Saadians “modernized Morocco’s army by providing them with gunpowder weapons, and they built many works of monumental architecture in the country” during their dynasty. In the modern-day, Taroudant is known for its exquisite walls which sit like fortresses and guards that surround the entire city. As for items, Taroudant is very famous for its crafts including “carpets, jewelry, and carpets,” among other things.
Historical Landmarks—Palais Claudio Bravo and the Medina of Taroudant:
Palais Claudio Bravo:
The Palais Claudio Bravo or the Claudio Bravo Palace was designed and built by the “Spanish hyperrealist painter, Claudio Bravo in the early 1970s.” Claudio Bravo has made “Morocco his place of life and creativity,” and he draws his inspiration from numerous other cities in the country including Tangier, Marrakech, and so many others. The Palais Claudio Bravo was the artist’s home as well. As one can see from the photograph, the Palais Claudio Bravo is inspired by the traditional Moroccan architecture including the arches that present more of an Eastern style, and the materials of the building appear to be clay or maybe a red granite. Additionally, the Palais Claudio Bravo’s location is situated in what appears to be an oasis of some sort judging by the wide swaths of greenery that are present throughout the area where the palace is.
The Palais Claudio Bravo also has many interesting pieces of art, vases, and exquisite gardens to traverse when you visit. The Palais also has pieces of artwork from Bravo, and masters such as Pablo Picasso. There are magnificent “stables which house 20 beautiful horses, a collection of exotic plants, and Bravo’s mausoleum which is where you find these Moroccan vases and ceramics.” Finally, if you are someone who loves Morocco’s beautiful architecture and art history, then the Palais Claudio Bravo is your go-to place if you’re ever in Taroudant.
For a quick virtual tour of the Palais Claudio Bravo, please watch the YouTube video below:
Medina of Taroudant:
In all countries throughout the Arab World, we know of the importance of medinas specifically to the cities’ cultures, merchants’ livelihoods, and how these places sell all kinds of beautiful items, some of which are handmade, and others that are unique to that location. In the case of Moroccan medinas, each souk is also unique to the specific city in which they are located in especially when it comes to what items are sold. Plus, the souks sort of add to the overall charm and mystique in Morocco.
Taroudant’s medina is not any different from the purposes with which the other souks serve within their respective cities. One could make the case that Taroudant, in all actuality, should be called the “City of Leather” because of the numerous leather tanneries that are within its city limits. They make items ranging from “leather bags, poufs, and sandals, and they do so from old-fashioned and time-honored traditions by using their bare hands.” Additionally, the Berber influence is also strong throughout Taroudant, and thus, there is a part within the medina that is called the “Amazigh souk” where items are made and sold which represents their vast culture across Morocco. Finally, the other common items one can find in Taroudant include: “crockery, carpets, lamps, various foodstuffs, and numerous souvenirs.”
In conclusion, thank you for joining me on this thirteenth and final episode of the series “Famous Cities in Morocco.” This time we journeyed to the wondrous city of Taroudant which in my opinion is one of the most stunning places on the planet due to its magnificent walls that surround the city and the fact that this part of Morocco has so much beautiful culture and architecture to offer. Thank you for joining me throughout this series as we explored the jewels of Morocco which are its amazing cities and stunning landmarks. I hope you also got to learn a little bit more about the majestic landscapes that Morocco has to offer. If you are ever in Taroudant, I highly recommend you visit the city itself, the exquisite Palais Claudio Bravo, and finally, take a stroll around the Medina and Souk of Taroudant, I promise you will not be disappointed!
This is the final installment in a series of thirteen focusing on cities in Morocco with an emphasis on its history and famous landmarks. Each article features a(n) historical synopsis about the city and 2 to 3 significant landmarks. Go to www.arabamerica.com to discover the entire series! This series covered the cities of Casablanca, Marrakech, Fes, Meknes, Essaouira, Rabat, Tangier, Agadir, Taliouine, Chefchaouen, Ouarzazate, Ifrane, and finally, it ended with Taroudant. Thank you for reading!
To read episode 12 which features the city of Ifrane, Al Akhawayn University, and the Ifrane National Park, please click here!
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