Moroccan Medinas

My fascination for Moroccan Medinas started in 2004 when I visited the country for the first time for work. It was in 2008 when I returned to Morocco and started my photo essay . Since then, I have been there four times, visiting from north to south, west to east , around fifteen medinas allowing me to appreciate their differences and contrasts but also what they have in common. However, today I feel like the project has just started. I am in a learning process by questioning, on each of my journeys, ordinary Moroccan people about their customs, concerns and feelings about the future and every aspect of their everyday life inside the medina.

You could live your whole life without leaving the medina, a Moroccan man told me. It is a world apart from the rest of the city. A world where people live in communities. A world of tradition. A world of religion. A world of solidarity. A world of knowledge. A world of history. And each of these worlds are connected to each other by a truly unique Moroccan culture that is the centre of Moroccan roots, character and society.

However the Moroccan medinas are slowly changing, affected by tourism, a new population and a more global, individualistic and westernised culture, sometimes conflicting with a more conservative and rural mentality following years of rural exodus.

While investigating the long term impact of these changes and the changing culture inside the medinas, I have decided to approach my essay by photographing its streets, its dense social life, colours and urban layout that first attracted my attention. I am not sure if one day, I will get an answer about the future of the Moroccan medinas. Once, as I was visiting Essaouira I was told this story: One day a Moroccan man moved to the United States and never came back. Twenty years later, he decided to visit his native country and return to the place he used to live. To his surprise, he found the same grocer’s and the same baker’s where he used to go shopping, the same hamman where he used to clean himself and the same craftsman that he used to visit for a chat.