Like many of you, the last month of the year is usually pretty busy for me; so that means I do a lot of introspection but not a lot of writing. I do feel a smidgen of guilt about putting the OBG blog on hold, but I've come to realize that I'm just one little Brown Girl with a buncha projects going on and I try not to spread myself too thin. I came up with Wordless Wednesdays after seeing the concept somewhere and thought posting photos without commentary would be a great way to let everyone know I hadn't abandoned the blog during the month of December. But whether I post or not, I'm always thinking about the glory of culture and the glory of Brown. Thanks for understanding. =)
I'm not really the type to make resolutions, but I am always excited to take a look at the year ahead and make plans. Lots of 'em too. (I like change.) And while I'm known to be pretty spontaneous, I am definitely a planner because I really like having something to look forward to. This year, I plan to write more, to travel more, to create more OBG products, and to keep my other projects moving forward. We'll see how it all pans out. =)
But let's talk about The Kingdom of Morocco...my latest obssession and an exotic North African country I plan to visit for the first time later this year after I spend a week in Madrid. (So excited!) An ethnically diverse country with a rich cultural history, knock-out vistas, plentiful shopping, and yummy cuisine, I am a bit overwhelmed by what I've learned so far. (But that's a good thing.) I promise to share a bit of Moroccan culture on the blog from time to time both while I'm planning the trip and once I get there. But right now, I want to share the info I learned about riads, traditional Moroccan homes or palaces with an interior garden or courtyard.
In Marrakech, home to the largest traditional market (souk) in Morocco and one of the busiest squares in Africa and the world called Djemaa el Fna (think acrobats, story-tellers, water sellers, dancers and musicians), the trend is that riads are being refurbished by Europeans back to their original splendor and then used as hotels and/or restaurants. Awesome. Here's a photo I found on Wiki of a crumbling riad and a refurbished riad. Below those photos are some more photos of riads I've found while looking for a place to stay.
|From Wiki: Old Riad left to fall down in Marrakech. Dec 2009|
From Wiki: The [ancient] riads were inward focused, which allowed for family privacy and protection from the weather in Morocco. This inward focus was expressed in the central location of most of the interior gardens and courtyards and the lack of large windows on the exterior clay or mud brick walls. This design principle found support in Islamic notions of privacy, and hijab for women. Entrance to these houses is a major transitional experience and encourages reflection because all of the rooms open into the central atrium space. In the central garden of traditional riads there are often four orange or lemon trees and possibly a fountain. The walls of the riads are adorned with tadelakt plaster and zellige tiles, usually with Arabic caligraphy, with quotes from the Quran. The style of these riads has changed over the years, but the basic form is still used in designs today.
After learning about the historical and cultural significance of riads and looking at these fab photos and this episode of HGTV International House Hunters, it seems to me that staying in a regular hotel room wouldn't be very exotic or very authentic, yanno? What do you think? Have you ever been to Morocco? I'd love to hear about it!
Wishing you all the best in the year to come and forevermore...