Royal Palace main doors Fez, Morocco

The Alluring Doorways of Morocco

Morocco's intricate and beautiful entryways are as captivating as the mystery of what lies behind them.

Morocco is filled with places whose names evoke the glories of North Africa: Casablanca, Tangier, Fez, Marrakesh. And across the country, in major cities and small towns, a traveler will encounter beautiful, intricate doorways whose colors and designs are influenced by local culture and religion (primarily Islam), as well as colonizers from Europe and the aesthetics of sub-Saharan African nations. Pictured: The main doors of the Royal Palace in Fez.

Just Passing Neil Farrin Just Passing A woman passes a colorful entrance in Tangier. The "horse shoe" arch, of Moorish design, is used for nearly all doors of buildings and homes in Morocco. Brilliant Andrea Thompson Photography Brilliant A brightly colored doorway in Essaouira. Geometry Martin Child Geometry Zellige (or zellij) tile work is created when ceramic tiles are cut, painted, glazed, and assembled into detailed geometric patterns. Kind of Blue Andrew Watson Kind of Blue These doorways are located in Chefchaouen, a town in northwest Morocco notable for being painted in myriad shades of blue. No Paint Required Rachel Lewis No Paint Required The Islamic style of carved cedar wood is so intricate and detailed that it's rarely painted over. Blue and Gold Guy Edwardes Blue and Gold Another entryway in the blue city of Chefchaouen, featuring metal ornaments and incorporating elements that appear potentially more European than the traditional doors in much of the country. Double Duty AGF/UIG via Getty Images Double Duty Copper, bronze, iron, and brass are used for utility as well as decoration. Paradise Pierre-Yves Babelon Paradise The color green, as seen in this gateway to a Moroccan mosque, is deeply enmeshed in Islamic teaching and belief. For example, a passage in the Quran speaks of Paradise as a place where the blessed "will wear green garments of fine silk." Doors Within Doors nik wheeler Doors Within Doors A woman sits outside of a large door in Meknes. Many of the larger entrances have doors within doors. The Tombs Photography by Jeremy Villasis. Philippines. The Tombs The tiled, stucco, and cedar wood entrance of the Saadian Tombs in Marrakesh. Respect Oleh_Slobodeniuk Respect The shorter doors in Morocco require a visitor to duck his or her head, prompting a gesture of respect.