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In search of Dar el Baroud

September 5th, 2009 by · 2 Comments · Africa, Morocco

Azemmour, a sleepy coastal town north of Al Jadida, known for elaborate paintings within the medina walls, inhabited by residents, a few artists and per a torn out page of The Lonely Planet, The House of Powder (Dar el Baroud)- remnants of a Portuguese military establishment.

Our search for Dar el Baroud began while most slept off Ramadan. We wandered down narrow pathways, dead-ends, discovered worn murals dating 30 years back, turned left, right but no Dar el Baroud. Scorching from direct sun, we retraced our steps for the exit; it was there I met Mohamed Hamidi, a dignified artist strolling the medina, his lame left arm tucked under his smoking jacket. Intrigued by our question, he had never heard of this relic and so joined our search for Dar el Baroud.

He rapped on doors, peered into windows, interrogating the small medina neighborhood for any information leading to the whereabouts of our ruin. Soon, scores of bored children and curious elders joined our search of Dar el Baroud.

Our rough French conversation turned to German once I learned his wife lived in Bonn. An invitation to his studio brought respite from the sun and a viewing of his cutting-edge work. “Abstract, in a very sexual way,” an attempt to discuss fine art in German proved difficult if not lackluster, “The colors …” I tried.

Laughter, a weathered smile. In return for his hospitality, I knew our cafe invitation would be refused due to Ramadan, instead his right hand over his heart, “Shukran,” he offered, thanking us for a morning in search of the elusive Dar el Baroud.
Although we never found this fabled rampart, we stumbled upon the heart of the medina.


  • September 15th, 2009 by Marcelo

    Lovely, simply lovely! May the force continue to be with you two…and whoever else comes along.

  • September 14th, 2009 by mom

    I just love the small squares house.

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