Riads and dars are traditional Moroccan family houses usually found in the medinas of the major towns and cities - such as Marrakech, Essaouira, Rabat, Meknes and Fez.
They were designed to provide privacy for the family, with the often richly decorated interior accessed through a single door from the street, and no windows on to the street at street level.
Riads and dars are normally a few stories high and typically have a roof terrace. The garden (for a riad) or courtyard (for a dar) is normally in the centre of the house but sometimes the house is U-shaped with the garden/courtyard on the fourth side.
They typically have two salons downstairs facing each other across the central open area, and a room without doors opening onto the courtyard for entertaining guests.
The salons are narrow and with very high ceilings, sometimes carved and painted, and were historically used as a living room, dining room and bedroom. In older houses there would be no windows in the salons only two large doors with smaller doors within them – kept open in summer with a curtain for privacy.

There would normally be a second floor with more salons and several small rooms with low ceilings in-between the main floors for storage. In older houses there is a balcony overlooking the courtyard. Sometimes there would be a small room with a discreet window from which women could look when there were male strangers in the house.