Asilah is in northern Morocco, approximately 30 km southwest of Tangier.
The region around Asilah has been inhabited since well before 1500 BC and Phonecian settlements in the area, but the Mulsim city know as Asila dates to the Muslim conquest and the Idrisid dynasty. It 966 the city was reconstructed by the Umayyad Caliph al-Hakim II. In 1471 the Portuguese conquered the city, and it remained European sovereignty until 1691 when it was reconquered by Mulay Isma'il. He built two of the cities mosques, a madrasa and hammam.
In the 19th century the city was bombarded by the Austrians in 1829 and the Spanish in 1860. Asilah was also an important fiefdom of the Rifi leader Mulay Ahmad al-Raisuni, who was named Pasha of the region in 1906. Spain occupied Asilah in 1911, and it reverted to Moroccan control with most of northern Morocco when the Protectorate ended in 1956. Restored in 1978, Asilah is a resort town and a major tourist attraction. It is best known for its annual arts festival that attracts major international talent, including graphic artists who use the city's walls as a canvas.
Sources: Guiguet-Bologne, Philippe. Un guide de Tanger et de sa région. Tangier: Philip Guiguet Bologne, 1996.
Roca, Juan, Ramon. Tangier and its surroundings. Alicante, Spain: Roca Vincente-Franquiera, 2011.
The overall rehabilitation of Asilah has encouraged private individuals to build new houses, immeshed in the medina'a fabric, to replace older dilapidated structures which had to be pulled down. The Ben Kaddour house is built on a small irregular plot and displays only one street façade; party walls are shared with adjoining houses on all other sides. A courtyard covered by a pyramidal skylight forms the core of the building. It is surrounded by a sitting room, a kitchen and a seating/reception room (maqa'ad) on the ground floor, by three bedrooms on the first floor and by a studio and terrace on the second floor. A conspicuous use of horseshoe arches, indented at their base and built in the traditional fashion (i.e. without a frame), conveys an internal unity to the structure. It was constructed using reiforced concrete columns and beams, load bearing brick walls and partitions, and hollow-tile floors. The walls are surfaced cement covered with lime wash rendering. All woodwork is executed in local cedar and traditional tile work is used in the interiors.