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The presence of riads, palaces with interior courtyards and gardens and open skylights, are specific to Morocco and essential to Islamic design because of their emphasis on privacy. The lack of street-level windows and the use of clay walls also lends to the feeling of intimacy and grace. The density of Marrakech's riads—combined with the city's mosques, minarets, and mosaics—makes it an exceptional place to view the Moorish architecture of the 12th through 17th centuries.
Photograph by Massimo Listri/Corbis