Through Jade's Eyes

This blog is about the fictional character, Jade del Cameron (www.suzannearruda.com), and the historical time period in which she lives.

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Location: www.suzannearruda.com, United States

I'm the author of the Jade del Cameron historical mystery series set in 1920's Africa. Lots of action, intrigue, mystery and a dash of romance. Follow me at www.twitter.com/SuzanneArruda *The audio link (view complete profile) is an interview by Baron Ron Herron (9/17/2009, Santa Barbara {CA} News-Press Radio, KZSB, AM 1290

Monday, April 14, 2008

MARRAKECH: PART 3 - THE BAB AGNAOU

It’s been noted already in this blog that the ramparts of any of the old cities, or medinas, were punctuated with gates (bab) for entering or exiting the city. Some are quite small, perhaps admitting a loaded donkey and its owner. These tended to be to the back of the city and lead into less savory areas such as the tannery. Other, larger gates at the front admitted crowds. These were intended to inspire awe and give a sense of power and grandeur. The Bab Agnaou is such a gate into the southwest corner of old Marrakech, near the fortified palace, or kasbah.


My guide informed me that Agnaou meant “baby goat” in the Berber language, but most sources claim it is named for the Gnaoua, a dark-skinned people of the south who served the sultan as feared soldier-slaves. Agnaou was probably not the original name, which was simply the Palace Gate or Bab al-Kasr. Built in the 12th century of a blue-gray stone in the now classic horseshoe design, it is ornamented across the top with carved excerpts from the Koran.


Some older accounts of the 19th century claim that the Sultans used to decorate the top of the gate with the heads of enemies. By Jade’s time, the French had taken occupancy in Morocco and, if any such practices had existed, they were stopped. Now the very top is decorated only with the inevitable storks.


NEXT WEEK: COME TO THE CATS-BAH: MARRAKATS

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