Marrakech Medina, Morocco
Cultural Center, Conference Venue, Guesthouse, Library & Collections
… is located in the heart of Marrakech’s bustling Medina – just a few minutes’ walk from the Bahia Palace and the famous Djem El Fna Square.
Large bright spaces and several sheltered roof terraces with wonderful views of the Medina and the mighty Atlas Mountains provide our guests with many separate places to work and stay. Actually, the premises we occupy are not just one Riad – but actually three separate houses intertwined into one large unit with a capacity to accommodate over 20 overnight guests.
– Our large Golden Salon is the perfect place for seminars, lectures with video projections, cultural meetings and small concerts.
– In addition to the general collection of books on MENA countries, our specialized library contains a wealth of literature for researchers on the subjects of desert and nomadic cultures, music, dance and costume traditions, as well as on architecture and crafts from these countries.
– We also provide spacious reading room in traditional decorated style: the Andalusian Salon with several of our greatest classic books and most beautiful pictorial works on different traditions of the MENA countries – everything from the Arabian Nights to pictorial works on architectural masterpieces, books of wisdom and proverbs, philosophical and religious reflections including the Koran, the Bible and the Torah in different languages.
– On the large Sufi balcony just outside, you can talk about the essentials while enjoying a cup of tea under the richly painted balcony ceiling, whose colourful patterns take you back to similar roofs in Tibet.
– All this makes Academia Arabesca’s Moroccan headquarters a cosy, original and inspiring place to be for creative study groups or individuals for their own studies or just for relaxation.
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The MENA Library
The books about the MENA-countries (Middle East and North Africa) has progressively been transferred to Arabesca´s Friends Association´s (Academia Arabescas Vänförening) premises in Marrakech. In addition to books in French, English, Swedish, German, Arabic, Spanish, Persian (Farsi), Turkish – covering all kinds of subjects like history, religion, literature, architecture, gastronomy, travelogues – the pride of the library is its extensive collection of books on traditional music, dance, costumes, local traditions, festivals as well as desert and nomadic cultures. You will also find a small collection of books about the nomadic culture in the Nordic Sapmi region. Library students who can continue the registration work on File Maker Pro are offered free accommodation at the institute during their stay.
The Photo Collection
Gita Sellman´s 60 years of global travels also includes spending time and in almost all the MENA-countries where she documented cultural features. This resulted in a very rich collection of photos, some films, videos and other media material from 1965 and onwards. The collections are housed in the culturally protected building called The “Blue Tower (Blå Tornet)” in the center of Stockholm. It is of utmost importance to find funding to register them while Gita is still available to identify the photos.
The Collection of Traditional Costumes
Our extensive collection of traditional garments, embroidered shoes and other handicraft items from Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Syria and Palestine is also housed at the Marrakech Institute. It is a hidden treasure to be discovered and studied along with the numerous books and press-cuttings on the subject available in our library and archives. A visual documentation and register of the costumes is very much needed and would be a very meaningful task for textile students or retired costume experts. Scholarships consisting of free accommodation at the Marrakech institute is given to presumptive candidates during their work.
The Collection of Musical Instruments
The instruments from Morocco, Egypt, Turkey, Iran, Uzbekistan, Spain and Sweden available at the institute may be used by the Arabesca members during their visits. Given the difficulty and costs of transporting large instruments in air planes the guitar, the Swedish bark horn and the cajon have several times been used by Nordic musicians during their participation in Moroccan festivals.
“The visit to Marrakech was a great shock to me. This city taught me colour.”