Remains Lighting Presents

Lights of Marrakech

Welcome fellow travelers,

With Lights of Marrakech, I wanted to share with you my personal and thoroughly non-comprehensive selection of a few great sightings of historic and iconic light fixtures in a capital of Moorish design. You hear Marrakech and lighting and think "Lanterns". But the matter of it turned out to be a bit different than I imagined. The most interesting aspect of an investigation into lighting fixtures in Marrakech are the broad categories of lantern designs, artisanal metalworking shops, and the lighting seller's kiosks in the souk, rather than specific examples of one great fixture here or another great fixture there. To open the door to this world, we designed this custom mobile app where you can click through photos and listings, which are all linked to a live map, look at an illustrated glossary of lighting-related decorative arts, and (hopefully) find your way home afterwards.

The glossary is an ongoing project of mine that strives to contextualize many common and unusual terms from decorative art movements as they relate to lighting and lighting design.

You may want to quickly visit the tips page below for a few helpful hints about using this app first, or just dive right in and start exploring. And please let me know if you see something awesome that escaped my notice. I'd love to add it to the site.

David Calligeros
Founder, Remains Lighting

Image from Marrakech Biennale: "Loom-Hyperbolic" by Barkow Leibinger Architects. At the Koutoubia Cisterns through June 4, 2012.



About Remains Lighting

Remains Lighting is the source for thousands of vintage and custom fixtures – from six showrooms on two continents, and one solar-powered, daylit factory in Brooklyn, NY – that illuminate the world's most distinguished addresses. Follow the link below to browse through the collections and learn a bit about who, how, and where we are.

David Calligeros
Remains Lighting
21 Belvidere Street Brooklyn, NY 11206

Visit Us

Tips on using this app

As a mobile web app, Lights of Marrakech is designed to be a self contained experience you can bring with you on the go.  There are a few links that point outside the application (google maps, remains.com), but we have made sure that they will open in new windows so as to preserve your experience.


We have also included an offline mode that downloads all of the information and images for the app at once, which then resides in your browser's memory until the window is refreshed.  You can turn this feature on by toggling the button above.

This is especially helpful if you are outside your normal service area and do not wish to incur heavy data usage charges or encounter spotty reception.  Just load the app once when you are in a good wi-fi or cell reception area.  At any point you can return to that window to explore the site without having to download again, even in airplane mode.

We hope you enjoy your time exploring the Lights of Marrakech!


Menara Airport

Menara Airport Main Hall image 1 courtesy of Raymond Yiu Sing Wong

Menara Airport Airport Lounge image 1 courtesy of Eurowinter


Gueliz Streetlights image 1 courtesy of onico

Gueliz Streetlights image 2 courtesy of jorialvis

Majorelle Garden

Majorelle Garden Glass Garden Lantern image 1 courtesy of chrismecait

Majorelle Garden Brass Garden Lanterns image 1 courtesy of atheope

Majorelle Garden Brass Garden Lanterns image 2 courtesy of atheope

Majorelle Garden Brass Garden Lanterns image 3 courtesy of planetevivante

Marrakech Train Station

Marrakech Train Station location image courtesy of samueleghilardi

Marrakech Train Station Main Hall image 1 courtesy of rachee

Bahia Palace

Bahia Palace location image courtesy of Lionel Leo

Bahia Palace Glass Lanterns and Decorative Ceilings image 1 courtesy of David Calligeros

Bahia Palace Glass Lanterns and Decorative Ceilings image 2 courtesy of David Calligeros

Bahia Palace Glass Lanterns and Decorative Ceilings image 3 courtesy of David Calligeros

Bahia Palace Glass Lanterns and Decorative Ceilings image 4 courtesy of David Calligeros

Bahia Palace Glass Lanterns and Decorative Ceilings image 5 courtesy of David Calligeros

Bahia Palace Glass Lanterns and Decorative Ceilings image 6 courtesy of David Calligeros

Bahia Palace Architectural Details image 1 courtesy of David Calligeros

Bahia Palace Architectural Details image 2 courtesy of David Calligeros

Bahia Palace Architectural Details image 3 courtesy of David Calligeros

Dar Si Said

Dar Si Said location image courtesy of Nino Verde

Dar Si Said Gazebo Lanterns image 1 courtesy of mksfca

Dar Si Said Gazebo Lanterns image 2 courtesy of samuel_santos

Dar Si Said Gazebo Lanterns image 3 courtesy of jrgcastro

Dar Si Said Traditional Stained Glass Lantern image 1 courtesy of khowaga

Jemaa El Fna

Jemaa El Fna location image courtesy of Blaisephoto

Jemaa El Fna Streetlights image 1 courtesy of _pixelmania_

Jemaa El Fna Streetlights image 2 courtesy of _pixelmania_

Jemaa El Fna Streetlights image 3 courtesy of kxondus

Jemaa El Fna Streetlights image 4 courtesy of onico

Koutoubia Mosque

Koutoubia Mosque location image courtesy of Omar Chatriwala

Koutoubia Mosque Chandeliers image 1 courtesy of Mirjee

Koutoubia Mosque Corridor Lanterns image 1 courtesy of arsheffield


Medina/Shopping location image courtesy of Drumsara

Medina/Shopping So many lanterns to choose from... image 1 courtesy of Sunil Shinde

Medina/Shopping Lantern Rental Shop image 1 courtesy of Michele R. Unger, bellstjournal.blogspot.com


Synagogue Sanctuary image 1 courtesy of Daithai C

Synagogue Sanctuary image 2 courtesy of Daithai C

Ben Youssef Madrasa

Ben Youssef Madrasa location image courtesy of David Calligeros

Ben Youssef Madrasa Skylights image 1 courtesy of seier+seier

Ben Youssef Madrasa Skylights image 2 courtesy of David Calligeros

Ben Youssef Madrasa Architectural Elements image 1 courtesy of David Calligeros

Ben Youssef Madrasa Architectural Elements image 2 courtesy of David Calligeros

Ben Youssef Madrasa Architectural Elements image 3 courtesy of David Calligeros

Ben Youssef Madrasa Architectural Elements image 4 courtesy of David Calligeros

Ben Youssef Madrasa Architectural Elements image 5 courtesy of David Calligeros

Ben Youssef Madrasa Architectural Elements image 6 courtesy of David Calligeros

Marrakech Museum

Marrakech Museum Large Pierced Metal Lantern image 1 courtesy of David Calligeros

Marrakech Museum Large Pierced Metal Lantern image 2 courtesy of David Calligeros

Marrakech Museum Large Pierced Metal Lantern image 3 courtesy of David Calligeros

Marrakech Museum Hall Lantern image 1 courtesy of David Calligeros

Marrakech Museum Hall Lantern image 2 courtesy of David Calligeros

Marrakech Museum Tiered Chandelier image 1 courtesy of David Calligeros

Marrakech Museum Hammam Lantern image 1 courtesy of David Calligeros

Marrakech Museum Ornate Ceiling image 1 courtesy of David Calligeros


An ornamentation consisting of an interlacing design of foliage.

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A construction that spans space and supports its own weight as well as the weight of the structure above it. Arches are typically curved, though they have many variations.

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Art Deco

A style of architecture, art and decoration lasting from approximately 1920 to about 1940, this period takes its name from the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industririels Modernes of 1925. The unifying hallmarks of the period were an interest in simplified, reductivist geometric forms, speed, machine design, and products engineered for mass production. There were roughly two branches of the Art Deco movement, one interested in applying abstracting, essentializing, geometric treatment to all objects, be they teapots, book-bindings, or automobiles, and the other interested in form following function, rather than the decorative treatment of surfaces per se.

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A decorative technique of contrasting silver inlay with a dark metal ground, achieved by engraving a shallow cut in the base metal and chiseling fine silver into the prepared hollows. Originated in Bidar, India.

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An yellow-gold alloy of approximately 70% copper and 30% zinc. Brass is somewhat cold-workable, though it has brittle, work-hardening qualities. There are tens of common brass alloys, each with divergent uses and workability characteristics. Brass can be polished to a mirror-level reflective surface. Brass is highly corrosion-resistant though it does oxidize from light brown to black, in dry interior settings, to bright green in exterior settings. To complicate things, some brasses are called bronzes in trade name and industrial convention. Brass can be cast, rolled into sheets, turned on a lathe, hammered at room-temperature into shapes, etc.

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A light source of wax or tallow, usually cylindrical shaped, accreted around a yarn or cord wick, which when burning, provides steady light by drawing the molten wax up towards the flame. The wick burns only incidentally as the true source of combustion is the wax.

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The word derives from candle-maker (chandler). A ceiling-hung lighting fixture designed usually with multiple projecting arms. Chandeliers are more often designed to spread light horizontally for general room illumination, as opposed to vertically, as in the case of a pendant. Chandeliers are commonly used to illuminate dining rooms, living rooms, large processional and ceremonial spaces, and large foyers.

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The finishing steps in producing finely detailed metalwork, most commonly used in cast objects. The surface of the metal is hammered by the craftsperson, or chaser, with hundreds of different minute chisels each producing finer definition in lines, accentuating beading, or hatching and matting background surfaces, etc.

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A chemical element (symbol Cu). Copper is a metal of peachy-red color. It is very malleable at room temperature and workable into many forms (sheet, wire, plate, rod) with most common manufacturing techniques except casting which is of more than average difficulty for this metal.

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An element with a concave section. In lighting design, a cove is a channel, high on a wall, that conceals indirect lighting.

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A pattern of regular openings and raised sections (saw-toothed or flat-topped) such as were made on fortified walls for the purpose of defense.

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A decorative technique of contrasting silver inlay with a dark metal ground, achieved by chiseling fine silver a steel or bronze sheet, prepared by roughing the surface overall with sharp, fine chiseled cuts. This allows the soft silver wire to be hammered anywhere on the prepared ground.

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A partial or full-hemisphere for diffusing or reflecting light. See also “Bowl” and “Inverted Dome Chandelier”.

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A method of producing a design with shallow cuts made by fine grinding wheels or by hardened steel scratching tools (in glass or metal).

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A finial is any of a variety of usually upward-pointing ornaments found, among other places, at the top of a chandelier body or armback or sconce backplate.

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Ornamental coating of gold leaf, electrolytically deposited gold, or gold dust. Also known as gilded or gilt.

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A period of architecture and decorative arts beginning in the 12th century and ending in the 16th century across Europe. Characteristics include the pointed arch or lancet, the trefoil, quatrefoil, and other lobed patterns, and repetitive geometric tracery.

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A decorative element whose chief characteristic is open spaces "cut out" and opposing the solid material (which can be anything from metal to wood to plastic).

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A banding design of overlapping scrolled lines.

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Form of decoration that involves cutting small pieces of ivory, precious metals, mother-of-pearl, or wood which are then fitted into carved-out recesses of the same shape on a contrasting base material to create a picture or geometric design.

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Inverted Dome Chandelier

A glass or stone dish that is open at the top and suspended from a stem or chains, providing semi-indirect light. Inverted Dome Chandeliers sometimes incorporate projecting, candle-bearing arms.

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One of the two major schools of Islamic calligraphy, Kufic scrip is characterized by blocky geometric characters as opposed to sinuous, curving, cursive scrip of the Naskh family.

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A modern term for a bulb or other light source.

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Unlike chandeliers which are most often oriented radially, lanterns are oriented vertically. They are typically designed with metal frames holding glass panels or an infill-panel such as mesh, beaded prisms, or fabric. Lanterns may occasionally have projecting arms.

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An openwork criss-cross pattern.

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Leaded Glass

Small pieces of glass joined at the edges with metal, traditionally with lead although zinc and copper are also common. The term does not refer to the presence of lead in the composition of the glass itself.

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An architectural decorative treatment of vaults, domes, and niches appearing like a regular geometric progression or honeycomb of small corbels, coves, and pendants.

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Oil Lighting

Oil or “fluid-fuel” lighting has its origins in prehistory. There are examples of oil lamps from some of the earliest human civilizations. The basic form of the oil lamp was, for thousands of years, a shell or stone dish of molten animal fat or vegetable oil with some vegetable wick such as papyrus, rush, or linen. As in a candle, the heat of the flame draws the fuel up the wick through capillary action where it is burned. Oil lamps went through many improvements over the centuries, but leapt forward with Aime Argand’s invention of the circular tube wick that drafted air from underneath, both around and through the wick tube. The additional oxygen at the flame produced an intense bright light.

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Term used to describe a darkened, worn appearance formed on the surface of objects due to wear, age, exposure, and hand-rubbing. Patinas vary with the materials, finishing process, and environment of an object. With copper-alloy metals such as bronze, the colors range from light brown to black to green. With iron alloys, the colors range from bright orange to blue to black. With silver and nickel, the color ranges from amber to light brown to black.

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1. A light fixture that hangs from the ceiling with a single or several closely coupled chains or stems, has a main body element that is compact, and does not have any projecting light sources such as a chandelier arm.
2. A downward hanging decorative element such as a tassel, bell, loop, or spear. It differs from a finial, which typically points up.

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Pierced Work

A decorative technique of cut-out patterns in sheet metal. The cut-outs were effected with chisels or saws traditionally or with abrasive jet and lasers in recent times.

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Literally, many-colored, or an ornament in several colors.

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Ornamental relief work on sheet metal where the design is pushed out by hammering from the reverse side in a technique similar to embossing and used extensively in Spanish art.

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A ring is a circular metal or wood frame of any profile used to hold an array of candelabra arms or the lens of an inverted dome chandelier. Also referred to as a "rim".

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A chemical element (symbol Ag). A soft, white metal that is highly workable for decorative and industrial uses through casting, rolling into sheets, spinning, as well as hand-working such as repousse, wire-work, and raising. Silver can be polished to a mirror-level reflective surface.

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Stained Glass

Glass colored with various metalic compounds for decorative effect. The glass is "stained" throughout, while melted, not in a film applied over a clear base.

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A type of floor lamp equipped with a decorative glass or metal reflector bowl designed to throw light upward.

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The ability of a material to allow the passage of light (ant. Opaque).

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Marrakech Menara Airport

When you touch down in Marrakech Airport, spend a minute looking at the openings piercing the walls and ceiling. Do you see echoes of Edward Durell Stone's now destroyed 2 Columbus Circle in this lacy white concrete? While there's not a lighting fixture per se to speak of here, the envelope of this building, and the arabesque grilles in the diamond-shaped openings remind me of the delicate panels of a lantern; in this case letting light in.... Or alternately I'm reminded of the wooden screens over the windows of private house in narrow, winding streets.

As an added layer of interest, the openings are tiled loosely with photovoltaic cells that not only cast geometric patterns of shadow on the walls but harness some of the abundant sunlight to meet the building's energy budget.

The building was completed in 2008 and was designed by a team of architects led by Casablanca's E2A Architecture.

Main Hall

The main terminal space with shadows of the photovoltaic cells on the walls and floor.

Pyramidal skylights overlaid with geometric grids of PV cells.

The use of the PV cells additionally cuts the intensity of light to the interior, and keeps the building cool. The photovoltaic tiles are designed to evoke traditional Islamic architecture while allowing light to enter through the skylights.

Airport Lounge

For those not impressed with the modern architecture of the airport, the lounge offers some traditional decor; wooden carts and all.

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Gueliz - Ville Nouvelle

Marrakech is seemingly obsessed with lantern-y streetlighting. There's a fertile assortment of high and low examples, even these of more recent vintage in Gueliz, the modern, Art Deco (rather, not medieval) part of Marrakech.

Most of the drinking, and many of the shopping and eating establishments are here.


Modern streetlights in Gueliz.

Fake antique streetlights in Gueliz, likely in cast aluminum with a bronze finish, sporting gothic arches in the lantern bodies.

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Majorelle Garden - Le Jardin Majorelle

The Majorelle Garden is a major sight - no highpoints of lighting fixture design, but the 12 acres of gardens are excellent. And the Boutique and Cafe are worth a stop as well. Jaques Majorelle designed the garden and landscape in the 1920s, he was a painter of some note, though is largely forgotten on that score now. His property however is a lasting and current civic contribution. It has been open to the public since 1947 and was bought by Pierre Berge and the late Yves Saint-Laurent in 1980.

Of particular note are, in no special order: amazing botanical specimens, bubbling fountains, incredibly vivid cobalt blue international Style-meets-Morocco house, and a museum of Berber culture and craft.

Glass Garden Lantern

A pleasantly plain white leaded glass geometric lantern in the gardens.

Brass Garden Lanterns

A series of fine brass pierced-work lanterns hangs around the house

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Marrakech Train Station - Gare de Marrakech

The Marrakech train station is in Gueliz. It was built originally in 1923 and an additional building was put up in 2008 with echoes of its Art Deco past. You can get directly to Casablanca and Fez from here.

The main entrance arch to the station is punctuated by this large round clock, practically and symbolically a must-have for any self-respecting train station.

Main Hall

This fixture in the new station has quite a pointed look. The very subtle patterned panels are translucent and show up in contrast to the plain gilded surfaces at night when it's illuminated.

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Bahia Palace - Palais de la Bahia

The Bahia Palace and Gardens has extensive rooms and grounds all dressed up in traditional pan Islamic decorative arts. The arabesques in this site have a distinct Persian or Indian flavor (in my opinion) that sets them apart from a lot of the other, older material. The complex dates to the 19th century and was a private "palace" including a harem for Bou Ahmed, Grand Visier to the sultan.

I'm reminded of John Coltrane's "Bahia" here but I have a strong suspicion that he was thinking of Na Baixa do Sapateiro, not Morocco when he wrote that tune.

Glass Lanterns and Decorative Ceilings

Traditional pierced-work and stained glass lanterns adorn many of the rooms.

Against the wild ceilings, the fixtures can occasionally pale in comparison.

Architectural Details

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Dar Si Said Museum

The Dar Si Said museum was a 19th century palace. In the 1930s it was given to the state to exhibit local, traditional craft and art.

It has an extensive collection of textiles, leather, ceramics, and especially woodwork. The courtyard holds the standout masterpiece of this site: The nearly 1000 year old marble fountain brought back from Cordoba, Spain, then under Muslim rule.

Gazebo Lanterns

The archways to the courtyards are dressed with these traditional pierced metal and stained glass lanterns.

There are tiled niches and arch supports filled with polychrome muqarnas vaulting in the interior rooms

The carved and marquetry-detailed woodwork in the museum uses many of the same details as the tiles and metalwork do: chevrons, chessboards, arabesques, interlaced complex polygons, etc.

Traditional Stained Glass Lantern

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Jemaa El Fna

Jemaa El Fna Square "the Square at the End of the World" has very little to do indeed with lighting fixtures. It's just a site one ought not miss. Approach it at night when it's aglow with small lights from the food stalls and enter the din and smoke looking for a plate of lamb and rice.


An unusual assortment of street lights near the square includes this T-arm example with rampant lions around a star and a crown.

This three headed streetlight, each lamp resting on a floating Corinthian capitol.

A scene making lantern of a humble, traditional Moroccan form.

A lobed-top torchiere-form over the square. Under the playful lobed top are two areas of latticework, one regular and diamond-patterned, the next, more sinuous.

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Koutoubia Mosque - Mosquee de la Koutoubia

Adjacent to the Djemaa el Fna is the nearly 900 year old Koutoubia Mosque and minaret. The minaret is a major landmark in Marrakech as it's one of the few tall buildings in the old quarter.

The structure is a largely monochromatic (with the exception of two blue and white friezes at the top of the minaret) buff colored brick and stone with the decorative scheme realized in low relief geometric patterning (arches, diapering, etc).

As the interior is open only to Muslims, many of its splendors are appreciable only in photographs... and my prose. However, the exterior and the gardens around the mosque are both beautiful and accessible.


A series of large, beautiful brass chandeliers which perhaps had candles arrayed around the ascending crenellated tiers.

Corridor Lanterns

The interior halls are beautiful plain spaces illuminated with inverted dome, basket-like small chandeliers and traditional octagonal lanterns. I'd love to see the brass chandelier at the end of the corridor in person.

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The Medina - Shopping in the Souks

In the lighting sellers' and metalworkers' stalls in the souk there are more repousse, pierced, engraved, chased, leaded-glassed objects than you can shake a stick at. This is the center of the target, or the belly of the beast, depending on your appetite for rich surfaces, of this particular style of decor.
There is beautiful design and examples of great craftsmanship. The skill is in the sorting.

Who will bring one back?

So many lanterns to choose from...

Lantern Rental Shop

If you just want a lantern for a few hours, or you're not sure quite which lantern you want to bring home, you can rent one from this shop without entangling commitments.

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Lazama Synagogue

I thought it would be a fun contrast from the mosques and minarets to check out the ancient Jewish district in Marrakech. A notable difference is that you can enter the synagogues, if you can find them. There has been a population of Jews in Morocco since shortly after 70AD. It was hugely increased after the loss of Andalusia in 1492 when Jews fled along with their Muslim neighbors from the specter of Christian persecution. The old Jewish district of the Medina is called the Mellah. The name may derive from the Hebrew for salt.

There are several surviving synagogues in Marrakech, though only one that I understand is still functioning, called Lazama. You will definitely need a guide to find its unmarked door down along a narrow alley. You enter into a courtyard detailed in blue and white with Hebrew inscriptions on the first floor frieze.


The interior of the synagogue is a double height space with large windows in the upper half of the wall. The lighting here is a big mix of traditional local Moroccan lanterns and a surprising double row of mod pendants. Of particular interest is the row of glass oil lamps (most converted to electricity) in the back. From the Israel Review of Arts and Letters: "One characteristic common to all Moroccan synagogues is the abundance of qandils (oil lamps in memory of the deceased) suspended by chains and ending in a silver or copper ring in which the lamp is set. The wick has been replaced in many lamps by electric light bulbs which remain lit all day."

A view to the front of the synagogue.

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Ben Youssef Madrasa

I imagine that we'll all stop by the Ben Youssef Madrasa at some point during our time in Marrakech. It is not a center for lighting fixtures, but nonetheless, the high state of restoration/preservation of the building, its age, and the breadth of the decorative vocabulary merit a few words.

This was originally a college, one of the largest in north Africa, founded in the 14th century and housed hundreds of students. It was closed in the 1960s and the building restored and reopened as a cultural site in the 1980s.

You can walk through the courtyard, through rooms and under skylights detailed in a dizzying profusion of tile, stucco, and carved wood detail. In many of the rooms, the transitions between wall and ceiling are eased with honeycomb-like pendants and coves called muqarnas vaults. For a surprisingly exhaustive resource on muqarnas vaults, see http://www.tamabi.ac.jp/idd/shiro/muqarnas/

There is a Koranic injunction against representation of humans and animals, most strongly observed in religious buildings, and a concomitant flowering of nonrepresentational surface decoration. A professor of Islamic architectural history with whom I studied made the case that the hubris of building per se was a motive behind the mass-dissolving character of the overall surface decoration. Here the walls, floors, and ceilings are covered in repeating patterns of straight edged polychrome geometric patterns, bands of vine and flower arabesques, and kufic inscriptions that make evanescent the bulk of this old masonry and wood structure.


A skylit courtyard in the Madrasa Ben Youssef.

Another skylit courtyard in the Madrasa Ben Youssef.

Architectural Elements

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Marrakech Museum (Dar Menebhi Palace)

Large Pierced Metal Lantern

In the courtyard of the Marrakech Museum you'll find this large dome shaped hanging fixture of ochre-painted brass and iron. I'm unclear whether there's an illuminating element in it, but it's quite lantern-like. The bottom panels are delicate pierced-work sheets of metal held in tapering frames. The zig-zag concentric tiers above are crowned with little inverted saw-teeth finials. It's knit together by tons of domed fasteners and little turned pendants.

Detail of courtyard lantern in Marrakech Museum.

Hall Lantern

Now this is something I can sink my teeth into; and don't get started with the jokes about udders or anything else. This fixture is fun and bizarre, and well made. It appears that there's some Damascene-work or Bidri silver inlay in the darkly patinated brass base metal. The pierced teardrop shaped top is detailed with bands of arches, arabesques, and guilloches. The broad pan below holds 8 amber globes, each with what looks unfortunately, like a compact fluorescent lamp.

Tiered Chandelier

Hammam Lantern

This image shows a great coordination between the surface decorative scheme, the architecture, the directed natural light, and the lighting fixture. Through a field of dark-colored, busy geometric patterning, small round openings in the vault send starlight-like beams through the still air. The bold red outlining of the spandrels and the dappled colored light emanating from the stained glass in the lantern accentuates the structure of these plain shapes. The fixture itself hangs there between them like a celestial body.

Ornate Ceiling

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