Sunday, 28 July 2013

The alleys of the Kasbah of Tangier

A Kasbah is a quarter of North African cities in which the citadel is located. In the old days it was the fortified area townspeople would run to when the city was attacked, much like the forts in old Europe. The kasbahs were built in a time when there were no motorised vehicles and the streets are narrow so that only pedestrians and small animal-drawn carriages can get though. 

The streets of the Kasbah are really tantacle-like alleys, some ending at front doors like here. The old facade on the right contrasts with the renovated one at the end of the lane. While rather decrepit it gives an authentic old oriental feel to the alley.

This small dead-end was closed with a delicately designed wrought iron gate. Again the contrast between old and new.

This one ends in a sort of common shaded patio.

The white washed walls sparkle in the summer sun. The cloth hang out to dry in the alley.

A more colourful covered alley. The ceiling is actually the floor of the house above. Houses are often divided into smaller spaces to accommodate multiple heirs: one brother may have the lower floor and part of the second floor while the other gets the other part and the floors above. It makes for interesting floor plans.

Always the unusual mix of colours, each owner painting "his" wall as he chooses. The result is a modern painting in soft tones. There is true beauty of the Kasbah.

Images: Joelle Desparmet

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