Page:Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Volume 1 (2nd edition).djvu/166

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136
Geographical Notice of the Empire of Morocco.
 

thirty feet high[1], with foundations of masonry; square towers about every fifty paces; the whole nearly six miles in circuit, entered by eleven strong double gates. But this vast area is far from being generally covered with buildings; it comprises large gardens, and open spaces from twenty to thirty acres in extent; the Sultan's

Palace stands on the south of the city, facing the Atlas, outside the main wall; but enclosed within walls of equal strength, is a large space of about fifteen hundred yards long, by six hundred wide, divided into squares laid out in gardens, round which are detached pavilions, forming the imperial residence; the floors of the rooms tessellated with various coloured tiles; otherwise quite plain; a mat, a small carpet at one end, and some cushions, form the furniture.

Mosques within the city are nineteen, two emdrasas or colleges, and one hospital; the principal of these called

El Koutubīa, stands alone in a deserted space of twenty or thirty acres, conspicuous above all by its lofty square tower, rising to the height of two hundred and twenty feet, without diminishing, thus producing a striking and singular effect—divided into seven stories, and its height apparently about seven times its diameter: this tower is similar to, and said to be coeval with the Smā Hassān at Rabbātt, and the Giralda at Seville, built towards the end of the twelfth century. (Only be it remembered that the present superstructure of the tower of Seville is Saracenic, and raised by Christians on the Moorish foundations in the thirteenth century.) On the summit of the tower is a small turret in the shape of a lantern, whence it derives the name Smā el Fanār. The body of the mosque, though large, is an irregular building, and insignificant when contrasted with the lofty tower by which it is surmounted.

Beni Yüsef, next in height, and in age, though modernized and well painted, has a college of tālebs (or seekers, i. e. students) attached to it; a saint's tomb stands opposite its south door, formed of three arches, surmounted by a cupola, delicately wrought with rich Saracenic tracery.

El Moazīn, said to be the most ancient, is very large, and has several courts opening into each other; the Moorish horseshoe arches highly sculptured, intersecting in various directions, have a rich effect; attached to this mosque are gates, said to be those of Seville, the triumph of the mighty Al Mansōr.

Bel Abbās, patron saint of the city; mausoleum: sanctuary mosque, and hospital containing one thousand five hundred patients. Its style of building, a pavilion, surmounted by a cupola covered with green and varnished tiles.

 

  1. See Plan of City.