Established in 1915, the Udayas Museum, alongside the Batha Museum in Fez, constitutes one of the oldest public museum institutions in Morocco and includes one of the most important museum collections within the country.
A place of immense significance in the history of Morocco, the Casbah of Udayas was originally a fort built by the regions Almoravid rulers (10th-12th century) on a cliff overlooking the estuary of Bouregreg. Under the later Almohads, the ruler Abdelmoumen, redeveloped the fort into a princely residence with a defensive support that served the needs of the 12th century conquest of the Iberian Peninsula. In 1609 Philip II of Spain expelled nearly a million moriscos, a term given to descendants of Muslims who had lived under Christian rule. This led to a group of 2000 Iberian Muslims, known as the Hornacheros, to settle in the Casbah and establish an independent republic that sustained itself through piracy of the Mediterranean Sea. This turbulent history of the Bouregreg estuary ended with the Alawite ruler, Sidi Mohammed ben Abdellah (1757-1789). In the course of its history, the Casbah of Udayas has undergone major construction work, including the developments of the Bab el-Kebir, the monumental Almohad gate; the rampart of the Alawite Sultan Moulay Rachid; and the princely residence of Moulay Ismaïl (1672-1727).
Built in 1915 in the ancient pavilions of Sultan Moulay Ismail, the Udayas Museum is in itself an architectural masterpiece of Andalusian inspiration. Initially created from private collections (Libert: ceramics, brass and woodwork, Besancenot: silver jewellery), it has been continuously enriched by new acquisitions. Currently, all the museum’s collections of manuscripts, coins, astrolabes, costumes, carpets, cabinetry, and weapons are dated to Islamic periods.
The first room features silver objects and jewellery from the High Atlas Mountains, the Middle Atlas, the Anti-Atlas and the Sahara. The buildings two loggias contain enamelled blue and polychrome ceramics from the 19th and early 20th centuries. The collection also contains historical clothing and ceremonial accessories, especially those of urban cultures as well as a collection of gold ornaments of great aesthetic and historical value.
Musée National des Bijoux (Ancien musée des Oudayas)
Casbah des Oudayas
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