The old city’s Portuguese cistern was constructed in 1514 as a warehouse or armory and was later converted to provide a reliable water source for the fortress’ inhabitants. Today, visitors can descend underground into a spectacular vaulted space supported by 25 graceful pillars. Light shines through a circular hole in the roof, creating shifting patterns that are reflected by the thin layer of water on the cistern floor. This atmospheric backdrop has served as a filming location for several movies including Orson Welles’ 1952 film “Othello.” Photographers hoping to take their own shots should bring a tripod so that they can compensate for the low lighting with a slow shutter speed. The cistern is open daily and entry costs 10 dirhams. The Cistern Museum next door contains old photos and documents relating to the building’s history.
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