AMIDEAST Education Abroad.jpg

Merhaba!

Welcome! Our site features the work of our blog abroad correspondents and has everything you need to know about our study abroad programs!

"Religion Seen in Culture and Architecture" by Kate Meacham

"Religion Seen in Culture and Architecture" by Kate Meacham

As a religion major, I was extremely excited to come study religion, specifically Islam, in Morocco. Throughout my semester I saw the importance that Islam has on Moroccan culture in language, every-day way of life, and in architecture. This photo essay highlights some of my experiences.

The Hassan II Mosque is an element of great pride for many Moroccans. It is an enormous piece of architecture, and one of the most notable places to visit in Casablanca as it is the largest mosque in Morocco. On our first weekend in Morocco, our group traveled to Casa and was extremely excited to visit the well-known destination. Upon walking up to the mosque, I was in awe of its size. It stood in contrast against the bright blue sky and every single detail of the mosque was intricate and beautiful. I was told that it was the only mosque non-Muslims could go into in Morocco, so touring this place felt like a great privilege as a non-Muslim American. Photo Credit: K. Meacham, Fall 2018

I heard stories of the mosque before I went; many Moroccans feel proud to have contributed financially to building such a magnificent, world-renowned mosque. The detailed work of the Hassan II mosque spans the entire interior and exterior. Islamic architecture has great meaning for every choice in designs and patterns. The geometry is a theme found throughout this mosque and other Islamic architecture. This photo displays a closer view of such a large building. Both from far away and up close, the mosque is stunning. The arches are grand and feel very luxurious and even of a higher power when you walk underneath them and are able to stand and look all the way up at the towering building. Photo Credit: K. Meacham, Fall 2018

I had the exciting opportunity to tour Salé, a city tangent to Rabat. The mosque in Salé is the third largest in Morocco, behind the Hassan II. Its old architecture, again, features this theme of intricate detail, showcased in much of Moroccan architecture. This part of the mosque was used to house boarding school students who studied Quranic scripture as part of their studies. Centered in the room, an old fountain remains, and a great skylight allows light to flow into the room, highlighting each pattern and detail. Being present in a room that has such ancient architecture and history is humbling and fascinating as I learned about the history of this mosque. Photo Credit: K. Meacham. Fall 2018

In Fes, I was able to tour another dual school-mosque called Bou Inania Madrasa. I found many similarities between this mosque and the one in Salé as they were both designed for extremely similar purposes. Tucked away in the medina of Fes, visitors walk through a small door and enter into this vast, open space. Bits of green can be seen on the roof as well as in other details of this mosque because green is the color of Islam. The grand arches and tilework are magnificent and extremely well-preserved despite this building’s long history and thousands of tourists visiting each year. Photo Credit: K. Meacham, Fall 2018

Also in Fes, but in the Jewish Quarter, we visited an old Jewish synagogue. This synagogue is extremely interesting because the Moroccan architectural influences can be seen in certain tilework, but it differs from the “look” of a mosque in the format of the interior. My favorite part of this synagogue was a hole in the floor that revealed a well and a small pool of water in a room below the synagogue. We learned that this was used for women before they got married. They would go into the water while their friends and family shouted blessings and happy phrases from the hole in the ceiling above. In such a heavily Islamic country, learning about this history of Judaism particularly in this synagogue was extremely fascinating. Photo Credit: K. Meacham, Fall 2018

"Cooking & Communication," by Alexandra Hyatt

"Cooking & Communication," by Alexandra Hyatt

"Reflections on My Time in Amman," by Lindsey McGuire

"Reflections on My Time in Amman," by Lindsey McGuire