Hassan II Mosque
Discover the delights of Marrakesh, including the 16th century El Badi Palace
Explore the citadel of the Chellah and the Kasbah des Oudaias in Rabat
Take an excursion into the High Atlas mountains, their peaks capped with snow
"Andrew always judged the right amount of information to give in an appropriately informative and interesting style. We liked his little quotations from appropriate sources."
- ACE customer on 2018 Morocco: Archaeology of the Western Kingdom tour
The spread of Islam, combined with the spirit of al-Andalus, gave birth in Morocco to an artistic and architectural legacy of enormous diversity. Meknes, founded in the 11th century and revitalised by Sultan Moulay Ismaïl in the 18th, reflecting his imperial ambitions, is an especially attractive example of the harmonious blending of the Islamic and Spanish styles.
Fez, founded in the 9th century, is perhaps the most enchanting of all Arab cities. The custodian of the world’s oldest university, Fez reached its zenith under the Marinids, as witnessed by the elaborate profusion of souks, madrasas, mosques and minarets that date from the 13th century.
Marrakesh charms every visitor with its exuberantly Andalusian madrasa and its breathtakingly intricate 16th century Saadian tombs. The town will be our base for an excursion into the snow-capped High Atlas, where the villages are strongly reminiscent of the settlements of the Alpujarra mountains of Andalucía.
Rabat is a captivating mélange of Moorish and European influences, and home to a wealth of monuments from the 12th to the 14th centuries, including the mosque and fortifications initiated by the great Almohad ruler Yacoub al-Mansour. The tower of this spectacularly sized mosque is similar in design to Seville’s Giralda.
We will also visit the walled citadel of the Chellah, an abandoned ancient port that was transformed in the 14th century into a burial ground for the Marinid dynasty, and which today forms one of Morocco’s most beautiful ruins. We will then enter the medina through the 17th century Andalusian walls, and walk to the Almohad citadel known as the Kasbah des Oudaias, with its impressive 12th century gate and enchanting Andalusian-style gardens.
El Jadida boasts a superb Portuguese citadel from the 16th century whilst the Atlantic port of Essaouira, formerly Mogador, is the site of one of Morocco’s most splendid fortified quarters.
As well as investigating Morocco’s bustling, labyrinthine medinas, we will unravel the mysteries of Volubilis, the capital of ancient Mauritania and one of the country’s most important ancient sites, with extensive remains dating from the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD.
All hotels are of a good standard and some offer considerable splendour. The El Minzah Hotel in Tangier is an elegant Moorish residence overlooking the Strait of Gibraltar, whilst our base in Marrakesh, the Hotel Es Saadi, stands in a 20 acre park planted with bougainvillea and palm trees.
Tour Director Andrew Wilson, BA, BD, FSAScot, studied archaeology then theology before working overseas as an archaeologist, specialising in Roman frontier systems and Byzantine mosaics. He is a member of the Society for Libyan Studies, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and the Classical Association of Scotland, and a member of the Hadrianic Society.
Included: return airfare, accommodation based on sharing a twin or double bedded room, breakfast, four lunches, dinner with water & coffee, excursions & admissions, gratuities & all taxes.
Not Included: travel insurance, double room for single use supplement £650.