|Looking up in to the interior of the Koubba El-Badiyn|
|Painting of a Berber tent camp at the edge of a walled city|
|A Palm Oasis near Ouarzazate in Morocco|
|Excavation revealing the Koubba El-Badiyn|
The Koubba is a relatively small building, with simple but beautiful doorways with 6 cupped indentations flanking a circular scallop on each end of the rectangular base. There are two keyhole shaped doorways on the other two sides. The construction is mud brick covered in a smooth layer of stucco with a natural ochre coloring.
On the second level are rows of varied shaped windows giving the facade a simple elegance. The cap of the wall is crenelated with a zig zag edge to the merlons, or raised parts, like the profile of a terraced ziggurat. This is a motif that you see on roof lines all over Morocco to this day.
|Zig Zag edge Merlons on a building in the Medina in Tangier|
|Upper level windows and the sculpted dome, with zig zag crenelations|
|Interior view showing the different shaped doors and brickwork revealed behind a layer of stucco|
|Carved and pigmented stucco arch|
Inside the Koubba are two arches at either end with varying simple but very elegant carved stucco arches, both incorporating 6 pointed stars. They are painted with a red pigment that may be derived from original remnants but I have no historical reference to prove that. What I write here is purely from observation and the extremely limited amount of information that is available to me. If a knowledgeable historian were to read my account they might be horrified, but then I am often left doubtful of what I read as interpretation of things I have seen that tend to be taken as fact because they have been reiterated so many times. So I will indulge my hypothesis, and you can take me seriously or not.
There is a small rectangular depression in the floor with angled sides that might have been a small pool used for washing or to reflect the beautiful ceiling and cool the air inside the space. This might have originally been tiled.
The interior dome is square, so there is a small balcony on each end that is not accessible, but only architectural to allow for the change in form. The openings of the windows are a different shape and smaller than they are on the outside, allowing for structural strength and architectural harmony, but allowing adequate light in to illuminate the dome. They are angled to create the shape of an eight pointed star. Eight pointed stars can symbolize two overlapping squares with alludes to the overlapping of time and space, with one square representing the cardinal directions while the other represents the four seasons. It is like looking at a time piece and a compass at the same time. The arches are beautifully shaped in a form seen in many later Moorish doorways, like a keyhole but with a pointed top. The space in between is decorated with garlands of carved stucco leaves, perhaps those of the Oriental Plane Tree, Platanus orientalis, which is an important shade tree planted throughout the Mediterranean. This tree is sacred in ancient Greek and Persian texts. The garlands and a pinnate foliage form frame large scallop shells, which could be derived from Roman buildings that would have been seen in ancient Volubilis and Chellah near the royal Moroccan cities of Meknes and Rabat.
|Sculpted arches create an 8 pointed star, with foliage garlands framing shells|
|Seven pointed stars in the corners of the transition between the square space and the 8 pointed space|
|Sala de los Abencerrejas in the Alhambra, Granada, Spain|
|A straight on view of the interior of the Koubba El-Badiyn|
Thanks for reading, Jeffrey