of riads

“To truly experience Morocco, you should stay at a RIAD in the Medina. Staying at a Riad will be an experience you will not forget!.

A Riad is a great way to experience life in the bustling medina, in a property that was used by the affluent in former times“

Morocco Medina Riads

Medina RIADS offer the unique chance to stay or live within ancient historic city walls.

Marrakech Medina – A Unesco World Heritage Site

The Marrakech Medina consists of thousands of RIADS all connected together.

Marrakech RIAD “guest houses” currently number around 1,500.

Riad History

Riads take their name from the Arabic word for garden.

Riads are only found in the medinas (old walled centre) of a Moroccan city.

Riads are generally built upwards, rather than outwards, allowed families to enjoy more living space in areas where land was scarce or at a premium.

The fact that riads have no outer windows meant that properties could be built adjoining each other on up to three sides.

This is a large reason why the medinas are often a web of interconnected buildings and narrow passageways.

The architectural design of riads can be traced back to the Roman era.

It is thought that the riad is an adaptation of a typical Roman villa.

Artisans from Andalusia provided the inspiration for the design of gardens and decorative features.

Historically, riads were the city bases for wealthier families, like courtiers and tradespeople.

Riads usually have less than 10 rooms, and are either personally run by the owner or by a small staff who look after guests personally.

Generally, they are multi-level in design, built around an open stairways or courtyards with plants and a rooftop terrace.

They are made to offer more peace, calm and tranquility amidst the havoc of the city.

Riad generally has two or more levels with the terrace overlooking the lower floor and always have one or more gardens. 

Large Riads have an interior garden, usually with trees and a fountain and a terrace garden.  Boutique Riad’s always have a terrace garden

Popularity of Riads in Moroccan society

The inward-focus of life in a riad let families enjoy privacy.

This was especially important given the Islamic beliefs of much of Moroccan society; women could enjoy solace within the walls of their home, with no outer windows to threaten their private life.

This is also why terraces had high walls; to allow women to work, wash clothes, or relax freely with some mint tea on the rooftop.

Riads have seen many alterations and renovations over the years – with one of the main changes including the addition of modern kitchens and bathrooms.

Article Sources

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