Morocco is magical, and Marrakech is simply magnificent. Located to the north of the foothills of the snow-capped Atlas lies the picturesque old fortified city of Marrakech. The city’s culture, history and vibrancy will definitely leave you in its awe. Derived from Berber words “amur” and “akush” which literally means “Land of God”, Marrakech’s old town area is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is one of the most sought after tourist destination among global visitors. Often termed as “Red City” or “Ochre City” due to its red walls built by Ali ibn Yusuf in 1122–1123, and various other buildings constructed in red sandstone, Marrakech is a cultural, religious, and trading centre for the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa.
A trip to Morocco is incomplete without enjoying every bit of Marrakech – wandering along the alleyways of medina, exploring the central souks, enjoying the hammans and experiencing local cuisines can be cherished lifelong.
- Jemaa el-Fna
Also known as Djema el-Fna or Djemaa el-Fnaa is popular city square and one of the main tourist attraction of Marrakech. The square is a shopping haven for tourists and locals; you can buy local goodies and souvenirs at affordable prices while snake charmers and fortune tellers try to catch your attention. Later part of the day it gets crowded and one can spot Chleuh dancing-boys, magicians and other form of entertainers. Dozens of stalls offering lip smacking food items will keep your hunger pangs away while you witness the beauty of this square, which got featured in many movies and documentaries.
Known to be the historic part of the city and a UNESCO World heritage site, there are varieties of old residential buildings, monuments, mosques and tombs in the medina of Marrakech. A stroll along the by lanes of medina can be truly enchanting and will keep the shutterbugs busy. Morocco holidays are incomplete without a visit to medina.
Gardens in Marrakech are a visual treat. The Menara Gardens located at the gates of Atlas Mountains has a pavilion and a basin surrounded by orchards and olive groves. The Majorelle Garden spread across two and a half acre land has a large collection of plants and exotic flowers. The Agdal gardens located south of medina has citrus fruits, apricots, pomegranate, olive and cypress tress spread across 990 acres.
- City walls and gates
Built in 12th century, the ramparts around the medina is a 19 km stretch and has around 20 gates and 200 towers. Bab Agnaou, Bab Aghmat, Bab Berrima, Bab er Robb, Bab Doukkala, Bab el Khemis and Bab al-Rais are some of the historic gates that symbolises historic ruins of Marrakech. Visit Morocco to witness this slice of history.
- Saadian Tombs
Built in 16th century, this tourist attraction is royally decorated with vibrant tiles, intricate carvings, floral motifs and Arabic scripts. The mausoleum comprises the corpses of about sixty members of the Saadi Dynasty and is a great piece of architecture that is one of the best places to visit in Morocco.
- Hammans and spas
After a day’s tiring trip a visit to the Hammans can be truly rejuvenating and is considered to be a local ritual. One can enjoy steam bath or sauna and treat themselves to a therapeutic massage, skin and body treatments with essential oils and fragrant perfumes. Morocco luxury tours are incomplete without a visit to Hammans.
Marrakech’s traditional and modern side is exhibited across few unique museums that is known for its collection of local arts and crafts including historic artworks. The Marrakech Museum, Dar Si Said Museum and Berber Museum of the Jardin Majorelle are the ones frequented by tourists. Each of these museum portrays rich culture and heritage of Morocco in an amazing architectural backdrop.
A visit to Marrakech Souks is a memorable experience. Moroccan craftworks, jewellery, fabric, carpets, ornaments and other merchandises are available at cheap rates. Don’t forget to haggle before you settle for some of the traditional items sold in the souks. Few noted Souks are Semmarine, Ableuh, Kchacha, Siyyaghin, Cherratine and Haddadine, which sells specialized items and your trip to Morocco is incomplete unless you explore these souks.
- Palaces and Riads
Marrakech is the city of Palaces and Riads, which portrays the lavish lifestyle of the past. The Badi Palace, the Royal Palace and Bahia Palace and some of the noted mansions worth visiting. The traditional courtyarded homes or Riads are mainly constructed with high walls to maintain privacy and cool temperature inside. Few noted Riads are Argana, Obry, Enija, Riad el Mezouar, Frans Ankone; which are located inside medina and frequented by travellers in their Morocco vacation.
These places of worship with great architectural minarets are a visual treat. Koutoubia Mosque is the largest mosque in the city with a 253 ft tall minaret, designed in Umayyad style and made of sandstone. Another significant mosque is Ben Youssef Mosque, city’s oldest one with Moroccan style of architecture. Undoubtedly these shrines are among the places to visit in Morocco.