Travel to Marrakesh (or Marrakech) the ‘Red City’
The imperial city of Marrakesh (or Marrakech) also known as the ‘Red City,’ is a stunning destination.This southern City with its warm ochre buildings cloaked by the snow capped Atlas mountains has been immortalised in books and movies.
Jemaa el Fna
The Jemaa el Fna market, the largest traditional market (souk) in Morocco, is a must see, everywhere you look there are stalls laiden with goods, musicians, acrobats, snake charmers, dancing bears and storytellers. There are restaurants all around the square, where you can sit outside with your meal and freshly squeezed orange juice, that is sold everywhere. Walking around, watching the craftsmen, and customers is a great way to spend an afternoon.
Other than exploring the Medina, there are a number of amazing sites to visit.
Places to Visit
The Ben Youssef Medersa 16th-century Koranic school, is one North Africa’s largest institutions of it’s kind. The medersa is beautifully preserved, with carved cedar, plasterwork and mosaic craftsmanship.
A holiday to Marrakesh would not be complete without visiting the Saadian tombs. Marrakech was the capital for the Saadians, an Arabian dynasty who ruled most of southern Morocco during the 16th and 17th centuries. The tombs were built by Sultan Ahmed al-Mansour for his family and ancestors (there are thought to be almost 200 Saadians are buried here). The tombs were sealed and amazingly rediscovered in 1917. The rooms are full of mosaics patterns, elaborate carving and marble pillars, topped with domed ceilings.
The El Badi Palace the ruined 16th-century is good to visit if you have already been to the tombs. It was constructed by Sultan Ahmed al-Mansour, so if it was anything like his tomb, it must have been truly magnificent. Sadly, it was plundered for materials in the 17th century by Moulay Ismail to complete his own palace at Meknes.
The grounds with sunken orchards and several pools, corridors and dungeons of this once impressive palace, can be explored for around 10 dirham, and apart from the storks nesting it is normally quite quiet. In June however it comes alive with the Moroccan folklore and traditional arts festival.
Other places worth a visit are The Koutoubia minaret which dates back to to 12th Century, at almost 80 metres high and can been seen from miles around, and the Dar Si Said Museum donated by Yves St. Laurent. Take a visit to the Stunning Garden of Majorelle, the last home of famous fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent.
Apart from the Medina and souqs which are best explored by foot, getting around Marrakesh is easy. You can rent bicycles, take a caleche – horse and cart, or jump in a taxi. If your looking for nightlife you will find more traditional options in the Jma el Fna, and modern nightclubs are to be found in Gueliz.
Where to Stay
There is lots of accommodation on offer in Marrakesh, there budget hotels close to the Jma-l-Fna, as well as in the Medina itself. If your are living the high life then try La Mamounia, a favourite with the rich and famous since the 1920’s.
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More destinations in Morocco
Agadir | Casablanca | Essaouira | Fez | Marrakesh | Meknes | Ouarzazate | Oujda | Ourika | Rabat | Safi | Taghazout |Tangier |