FROM GARDEN TO MEDRASSA – NOVEMBER 2006
“THE MAJORELLE GARDEN - Jacques Majorelle was born in 1886 in Nancy but settled in Marrakech in 1924 to continue his career of painter. He then created a botanical garden that displays plants from the five continents: cactus, yucas, water lilies, jasmines, bougainvilleas… and hosts more than 15 bird species, which can be found only in the area of North Africa. Since 1947 the garden's doors were open to the public. In 1980 Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent purchased the garden and restored it”
“ISLAMIC MUSEUM – In 1931 Paul Sinoir created a workshop for Jacques Majorelle, painted in the special shade of bold cobalt blue which is named after him, «Majorelle bleu». It now houses the Islamic Art Museum, displaying the personal collection of Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Lauren, including North African textiles and carpets, as well as ceramics and potteries, weapons, jewellery, woodworks, and paintings by Majorelle”
“MAJORELLE BLUE - Majorelle was one of the more important collectors of plants of his era. The originality of the garden lies in the combination of a luxurious plant life and architectural elements allying sobriety and traditional aesthetic Moroccan, and always showing the magnificent Majorelle Blue”
“BAMBOO – Since the main residence, created in the image of Marrakech palaces and currently private property of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé, was not available, we had to satisfy ourselves with the bamboo forest for the picture…”
"MINARETS - Basically consisting of three parts: a base, shaft, and a gallery, the Moroccan minarets are usually square. Their main function was to provide a vantage point from which the muezzin can call out the faithful to prayer. The first one pictured may be found close to the Saadian Tombs, the second in the Medina"
"SOUK - A rather quiet part of the Marrakech souk"
"DYEING - Fantastic colours"
"HERBORISTE DU PARADIS - Care for some spices, cosmetics or white magic against evil eye?"
"BEN YOUSSEF MEDRASSA - The Koranic School, founded by the Merinid sultan Abu al-Hassan, was named after the Almoravid sultan Ali ibn Yusuf who reigned between 1106 and 1142. The current building dates from the 16th century, as it was re-constructed by the Saadian Sultan Abdallah al-Ghalib in 1565. The School having been closed in 1960, the building was refurbished and reopened to the public as an historical site in 1982"
"THE INNER COURTYARD with columnade, windows and the water tank. The largest Medrassa in Morocco and one of the largest in North Africa may have housed as many as 900 students"
"COURTYARD - Richly carved in cedar, marble and stucco, the carvings contain no representation of humans or animals, and consist entirely of inscriptions and geometric patterns"
"CELL - Its 130 student dormitory cells cluster around the courtyard"