MARRAKECH- THE FRENCH SIDE
The French didn’t move into Marrakech when they assumed the protectorate. Instead, they built up their own, more European quarter to the west of the old city. This new area became known as Gueliz. Jade visited this area in her 1920 adventure, The Serpent’s Daughter, when she searched for her mother.
Jade’s next encounter with Gueliz was when she sent her mother to the French Catholic church to wait for her. This church of The Holy Martyrs is still standing, and the austere wooden benches and simple interior are quite beautiful, albeit a bit difficult to photograph in the dim light.
Edith Wharton didn’t report very much on Gueliz except to say that, in 1917, it consisted of a few shops and cafes “on avenues ending suddenly in clay pits.” (In Morocco, 1920)
C. E. Andrews visited this French suburb a few years later and wrote of it in his book, Old Morocco and the Forbidden Atlas, 1922. He said that here one could find “curious colonial types, interesting drinks, and American jazz music in an indiscreet and somewhat tawdry background.” Mr. Andrews reported that Gueliz was only 6 years old, but “neatly planned, laid out in long avenues planted with eucalyptus and palms, among which stand little scattered houses of plain stucco, very white and clean.”
Today, Gueliz is a very modern part of the city complete with art museums, four- and five-star hotels, and discos.
NEXT WEEK: SOUKS OF MOROCCO