Friday, 28 October 2016

The arches of Marrakech

Arches, arches, arches, in Marrakech you find them everywhere you turn! Some are pointy and some are round, some are much decorated and some are just plain. Walking in the intricate maze that is the medina you pass so many beautiful ones. They really create that distinct characteristic Moroccan architecture and Marrakech wouldn't be Marrakech without them.

Night time in Marrakech, there is always an arch nearby!

One of the typical arches is called the Horseshoe arch that was developed in Northern Africa and Spain several hundred years ago and was influenced by the Berbers and involves a lot of symbolism and superstition. One belief is that the horseshoe arch will protect you from the evil eye and bring you good luck.

A beautiful horseshoe arch at the Ben Youssef Medersa in Marrakech.

And there are even more arches surrounding the inner arch!

Some arches are very decorative, and they can go on forever!

Like this one!

Then there are the plain ones!

But even the plain ones can go on forever!

Sometimes you see pointy ones!

Then there are the curvy ones!
 And then you have the double ones!

 Or maybe it is just this one!?

This is the classical entry gate to Marrakech, also with an arch of course!

Many homes have beautiful arch doors!

Inside the Riads you find arches everywhere!

 And the lounge areas also have arches! 

 Even the fountains have arches!

And the arches are also sometimes used in marketing campaigns!

The arches are simply great, so useful, beautiful and great to take photos of! What would Marrakech be without them?

See you soon,

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

TEDxMarrakesh and Coexistence

The 5th edition of TEDxMarrakesh is over and WOW, what a fantastic time we had! We had planned the event for months trying to find the best venue, the best speakers and the best entertainment to make this day into something extraordinary. With the theme "Coexistence or no existence" discussing topics like tolerance, acceptance and diversity we felt it was extra important to create an unforgettable day.

The iconic TEDx X is arriving at Es Saadi Palace.

Preparing the conference room at Es Saadi Palace.

In this time and age it is all about how we coexist in the world; with the environment, with artificial intelligence and, maybe most significantly, with each other. And what better place to talk about this than Morocco? This country has been all about coexistence throughout the history where Muslims, Jews and Christians have lived side by side without conflicts. A little known fact is that the Moroccan king protected the Jews in Morocco from the Nazis during World War 2!

The TEDxMarrakesh team and all the brilliant speakers. Vanessa Branson, Kamal Hachkar, Jochen Wermuth, Alice Morrison, Frank Sonder, Tina Meier, Najat Kaanache, Maryam Montague, Kerstin Plehwe, Imad Morchid, Elisabeth Bouchet-Bouhlal, Gary Martin, Meryanne Loum-Martin, Maha Alouani-Bibi and Hindi Zahra.

The TEDxMarrakesh team, Abdelhamid Boussadi, Patrick Benjaminsson, Andrea Bury & Per Sjödell together with Jochen Wermuth, one of the speakers who talked about the environment, climat change and sustainability.

And this year Marrakech hosts both COP 22 (UN’s Climate Change conference) and the Tolerance Conference with hundreds of Muslim scholars and leaders from all religious groups from 120 countries discussing how to protect religious minorities in Muslim countries. So we were definitely in the right context to discuss coexistence!

There were approximately 250 people attending this year.

So, since it is more important than ever to spread ideas how to look at coexistence we really wanted to find the best speakers and as many interesting angles of the topic as possible including religion, political views, climate change, sexuality, sports, music, art, animals and food. And we found them! We are so happy about our list of brilliant speakers. We are also so pleased that we found a perfect mix of Moroccans, expats living in Morocco and Europeans.

Maryam Montague was one of the 14 amazing speakers; her speech was all about tolerance and science fiction.

Imad Morchid is a young Moroccan inventor who talked about his latest creation, an environmentally friendly car.

Vanessa Branson talked about how art has played such an important role in her life and her views on coexistence.

Kerstin Plehwe had a speech about coexistence with elephants.

Gary Martin and Meryanne Loum-Martin did a duo speech.

The singer/songwriter Hindi Zahra and the manager of the Heritage Museum, Maha Alouani-Bibi were two of the speakers. Here posing with the TEDxMarrakesh team.

Filmmaker Kamal Hachkar talked about his controversial documentary about Jews in Morocco.

The Es Saadi family with the matriarch Elisabeth Bauchet-Bouhlal (in white) together with the speaker Najat Kaanache who talked about her life story that was all about food.

The Scottish adventurer Alice Morrison talked about coexistence and sports. (And figs...)


Tina Meier talked about coexistence with the desert during the Dakkar rally.


Frank Sonder's speech was all about coexistence with artificial intelligence.

During TEDx-event the speeches are always mixed up with TED-videos and entertainment. We had devided the day into three segments so we wanted three different artists. We decided to invite Kenza Mouahidi, a talented dancer, Alaa Zouiten, a great oud-player and Faty.S Project, a new group with a fantastic new sound, and all of them were absolutely amazing.

The event took place at the beautiful luxury resort Es Saadi Palace who was the main partner of TEDxMarrakesh this year. We just love this place; we have been coming here several times a week for 18 months now since this is also our gym! Es Saadi was such professional partner and so great to work with on this project where they constantly gave us more than we expected. Thanks to them our TEDxMarrakesh project turned out to be even more fantastic.

The beautiful Es Saadi Palace was the main partner and the venue for the 5th edition of TEDxMarrakesh.

There were lots of breaks between the speeches so everybody could mingle and get to know each other a little better. For the lunch break we had this cool decoration.

And the coffee breaks were also in full X-style


We enjoyed these stylish cupcakes from Amandine for the afternoon coffee break

So that's it for this year's edition but now the work starts for the 6th edition that will take place October 14, 2017 at Es Saadi Palace. We will soon have a kick-off together with our TEDxMarrakesh team to talk about the theme and what great speakers we want to invite for next year. So, stay tuned for updates!

See you soon all TEDx lovers!