Maison de la Photographie Marrakech
MAISON DE LA PHOTOGRAPHIE IN MARRAKECH, close to Riad Chi-Chi
Tucked away near Medersa Ben Youssef, a relatively new museum offers a unique perspective of Morocco, and it’s well worth a look. The “Maison de la Photographie” first opened its doors in April, 2009 and isn’t as well-known as it really should be, yet. Housed in a gorgeous fondouk, or caravan boarding house, the extensive photography collection is truly impressive.
The collection was assembled by Hamid Mergani and Patrick Manach and includes 5000 photos and 2000 glass plates, which were collected over a period of nearly fourteen years from the archives of the French Protectorate. The images cover the period 1862 through 1950 and offer a rare glimpse of Moroccan life in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The photos themselves are impressive feats in the early art of photography. The life they depict is an intensely interesting portrait of Moroccan history.
A warm welcome awaits you upon entering. Staff at the museum will take a few minutes to explain what is currently on display, and can do so in a number of languages. Then you are welcome to meander through the museum viewing the gorgeous collection at your leisure.
Take time and wander the museum’s galleries, spread over the fondouk’s three floors and sunny inner courtyard. Exhibits are organized thematically and change every two to three months. Next to each photo is an information plaque. Notice the year each photo was taken and marvel at the similarities between then and now –Morocco still celebrates many of the same cultural traditions as fifty, eighty or even one hundred years ago. Near the entrance of each gallery you’ll find another plaque, only in French, that gives insight into the exhibit. -French speakers can ask questions of the friendly and knowledgeable staff who are well versed in what is on display.
On the third floor visitors will find a media lounge showing films about the Berber people of the High Atlas. The documentaries, shot by Daniel Chicult in 1957, are the first color movies filmed in the High Atlas. The films, called “Landscapes and Faces of the High Atlas”, play on continuous loop and offer a rich and colorful view of Berber daily life and festivities.
Finally, head up to the terrace on the top floor. Here you will find an amazing view of the entire medina and a small cafe offering teas, coffees, juices and light lunch options. Relax, enjoy the view and a new perspective on Moroccan life
Price of Entry: 40 dirhams, free for children under sixteen. You can also go back using the same ticket.
Hours: Everyday from 9:30 until sunset
Address: 46 Rue Ahel Fes, Marrakech medina, 40000
Telephone: +212 5 24 38 57 21
Source: Moroccan Culture, Art and Travel