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Romancing Tinmel. A day trip to the ruins of Tinmel mosque and adventures en route.
Giovanna didn’t tell us right away what the Tinmel Mosque meant to her. Wearing a quiet smile, she let the journey to this 12th-century ruin unfold for us without introduction.

We scanned Berber villages built into the mountains and along deep green valleys still lush with the memory of springtime water

We arrived at Tinmel Mosque, an impressive red stone edifice, built in the traditional style with its square recesses remaining in the facade, evidence of the scaffolding used during its construction.

Built before Marrakech’s famed Koutoubia, it functions currently as a museum, one of the rare mosques open to non-Muslim visitors. Mohammed Filalee had been caretaker since 1977, since his father retired from the job. Insha’Allah, or “god willing,” he repeated as we discussed the future of the mosque.
We were awestruck by the near-violet sky, such contrast to the natural red-orange walls of the structure, and imagined how the hues would change with the slipping sun, from peach to tangerine and finally to blood-orange fire.

He proudly introduced us to his family, his elder sister tended to us, showing us to a large tiled rooftop terrace under the hot midday sun. Ornately decorated rugs and gold-fringed cushion covers hung to dry.

We drank hot tea, a homemade recipe of verbena, absinthe, and sage. It was sweet and delicious, even under the scorching sun. We listened to Mohammed tell us about his experience at Tinmel.