Architecture is the solemn identity of peoples and civilizations, creating the shape and tone of a society. Because of the lack of emphasis on external appearance in Islamic architecture, a structure – a mosque or mausoleum for example – might be hidden from view. This form of architecture has been called the ‘architecture of the veil.’ Enveloped by a plain facade, the structure’s innermost sanctum, the courtyard, is kept secret. The introverted courtyard expresses humility and the need to exclude the outside environment while protecting what’s inside — the inner life.Once inside, one is stunned by the use of mosaic and richly painted decoration. The tiles are laid in a rich repertory of designs, both geometric and abstract and from molded and deeply cut stone or plaster. The multitude of decorative treatments and inscriptions executed in a full variety of calligraphic styles serve as both religious description and decoration and is without parallel in the architecture of the non-Muslim world.In the 17th century, as a ruler and builder, Moulay Ismail’s contribution to Moroccan architecture was stellar. He transformed Meknes from a small village into the capital and fourth largest Imperial city of Morocco. Ismail is considered to be one of the greatest figures in Moroccan history and this sublime yellow mausoleum, built as his final resting place, is a prime example of Moroccan architecture. It is as opulent as the palaces in which he lived. Here we see the guardian of the courtyard standing in one of the repetitive arches.