The Arabic term for Morocco, Al Maghrib, etymologically means “the place where the sun sets”, “the west”. In this eastern Finistère, the ancient Arab geographers have given the name of “Extreme West”. it would thus be the West of this Orient, still a little mythical in the eyes of the European traveler. A Morocco that we therefore expect to find familiar.
However, as soon as you set foot in it, the feeling of being truly elsewhere is essential. This strangeness is also inscribed in the root of the word Al Maghrib, which evokes, at the same time as the setting sun, distant travel and exile. Today’s Morocco lives in a time of globalization and technological progress, while retaining its own political, social and cultural heritage. In this, he continues to respond to the meaning that his Arabic name carries: close and foreign at the same time. Like a medal, it has two sides.
The medina, which constitutes the initial urban core, has retained its traditional layout and architecture. It remains the privileged place of the small souks and in kissaria, that is to say in corporations of traders and craftsmen; its living quarters are arranged around the four essential points of the mosque, the fountain, the hammam and the oven.
However, if the tradition remains alive, it does not exclude the penetration of certain forms of modernity into everyday life. Whether we rejoice or deplore it, the medina of today sees the often very cheerful coexistence of age-old pottery with plastic, of djellaba with the copy of what is becoming more fashionable in occident, from the chanting of the Koran with the latest successes of rai, rock or techno music, or even minarets decorated with copper balls with terraces bristling with satellite dishes.
A very open place, therefore, despite the walls that surround it and separate it from the modern city. This opening up to the world of public space does not in any way alter private space. Whether they are modest dwellings or rich palaces, the privacy of families is preserved from the outside gaze by blind facades and door sills in the shape of a chicane. Abandoned by the big city families, who prefer huge, sometimes flashy villas, in the upscale districts of the modern city, the old beautiful residences of the medina are either occupied or occupied by families from a popular background, often of origin. rural, who live in several, without means to maintain them.