Art Deco Casablanca

 

A walk around the central area of Casablanca in Morocco reveals a treasure trove of Art Deco architecture and design. Many of the Art Deco buildings are in a poor state of repair but overall it is an adventure exploring the streets to see what gems you can find.

Art Deco wrought ironwork

What really caught my eye were the many fine examples of wrought iron security doors and grilles. Every second building had these wonderful works of art in their doorways. Here a a few exceptional examples of Art Deco wrought ironwork I discovered.

29 Rue Abderrahem Sahraoui

29 Rue Abderrahem Sahraoui

Art Deco design found at 95 Rue Chaouia

Art Deco lyre bird design found at
95 Rue Chaouia

Art Deco Hotel Rialto at 9 Rue Salah Bee Bouchaib

Art Deco Hotel Rialto at
9 Rue Salah Bee Bouchaib

Classic design at 40 Rue Moulay Abdullah

Classic design at 40 Rue Moulay Abdullah

The Moroccan Minaret Jamour

A minaret jamour sits on top of the tower adjacent to a mosque which is used to call Muslims to prayer five times daily. This tower is called a minaret. In Morocco the tower (minaret) is square with a spire on top which has a number of spheres attached. This spire is known as a jamour and it can symbolise the sun, moon and stars or the four elements – earth, wind, fire and water.

The minaret jamour

In addition to the spheres, a minaret jamour can have a crescent moon on top, a five pointed star (representing the five pillars of Islam) or a combination of both. The crescent moon atop a minaret jamour indicates that the calendar in Islam is based on the lunar cycle and not the Gregorian calendar as used in the West.

Here are some examples of the Moroccan minaret jamour illustrating the different styles.

Minaret jamour with single sphere

Single sphere jamour seen on the Road of 1000 Kasbahs

Minaret jamour with two spheres

Two sphere jamour in Fes

3 sphere minaret jamour

3 sphere jamour on the Hassan II mosque in Casablanca

Four sphere minaret jamour

Four sphere minaret jamour in Rabat

3 sphere minaret jamour with crescent moon

3 sphere jamour with crescent moon in Casablanca

3 sphere minaret jamour with star and crescent moon

3 sphere jamour in Fes with star and crescent moon

Chinese Islamic Decor

Typical modern Chinese house - seriously

Typical modern Chinese house - seriously

The bus trip from Mount Huangshan to Hangzhou is a great way to see the Chinese countryside. The one thing that I found curious was the stainless steel spires atop many of the houses we passed by. They consist of two or three stainless steel spheres of different sizes mounted on a spire. Some fancier versions sported rings around the larger sphere like an armillary sphere. They remind me of the space-age Oriental Pearl TV tower in Shanghai.

I asked our guide if they represented anything and he told me they were just decoration for the houses. They are such a striking addition to an already striking house design (to Western eyes!) I am curious if there is some other meaning attached to them rather than just decorative.

The photo above shows a spire on a house which is typical of many of the modern houses that abound in the Chinese countryside.

I recently discovered similar decoration used in Morocco on the minaret towers adjacent mosques. The spires are called jamours. I think it likely this was the inspiration for the decoration and that the owners are Muslim. I would be interested to hear what others think. Better still would be to hear from someone who has one installed on their home.