Morocco is undoubtably a beautiful country. From the delicious food, warm people, and stunning architecture, there is something for everyone to enjoy and appreciate. What struck us and totally mesmerized us during our 17-day holiday were the beautiful mosaic tiles. These ceramics, commonly called zellige, made every single place we visited a total charm. It’s just one of the 1,001 reasons we loved Morocco.
This type of tile dates back to the 10th century, the zellige is a piece of historic art that originated in the old city of Fez, in Morocco and parts of Spain. In fact, Fez is still known to produce tons of tiles and ceramic pieces that are sold all throughout Morocco and the world. For our trendy readers, the tiles have actually made a comeback over the last few years, so feel free to decorate your whole place in intricate geometric patterns and vibrant colours. We know we sure will when we have another home one day.
We say the tiles are mesmerizing, because the signature Moroccan look is a web of complex geometric shapes in vivid colours, placed in a geometric pattern. They incorporate a variety shapes that join together in a mathematical fashion, often, surrounded by a very symmetric frame. They create a hypnotic effect, almost like a kaleidoscope. Why all these mosaic patterns? Because according to Islamic tradition, you could not portray living things in the rules of design. Plus, the mosaic tiles act as an beautiful backdrop for meditation and religious ceremonies. Win-win!
Back in the day, the colours were your basic white and brown. But today, you find mosaics, tiles and ceramics in all the colours of the rainbow. Or actually, mainly in the colours that represent the four elements – fire, water, wind and earth, so basically, in tones of brown, white, green, saffron, blue and black being the signature hues.
Zellige is known as “the prince of tiles,” and can be viewed inside ancient tombs, palaces and temples throughout Morocco. Still today, these patterns are regarded as a symbol of sophistication, wealth and power for royalty and religious establishments. We sure saw a ton of it throughout the country, and can’t wait to decorate our next home in this style.
The beauty around Fes
Bahia Palace, Marrakech
Hassan 2 Mosque, Casablanca
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