Marrakesh – The Intoxicating City of Central Morocco
One of Morocco’s most well-known and renowned cities is Marrakesh. Like Morocco, Marrakesh is a city that is well worth seeing. Marrakesh is a unique place, and now, as throughout much of its past, it serves as the entrance to the vast Sahara Desert.
In the past, trade with tribes in the desert and down at Sub-Sahara, across the Sahara, took place mostly in Marrakesh. Marrakesh is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has a lot to offer the adventurous traveler, including camel rides in the desert, the city’s gorgeous architecture, authentic cuisine, breathtaking performances, and incredible bazaar shopping.
Marrakesh has been inhabited since the Neolithic period and is a Berber metropolis. Since roughly 1070 AD, a city has existed there. It has traditionally been a significant Islamic city and a crossing point for caravans. It eventually passed into French territory and was included in the French Protectorate in Morocco.
The Best Time to Visit
Marrakech is a well-liked vacation spot with sunshine almost all year round. While the winter months can get freezing with nighttime lows in the 30-degree F range, the summer months (June-September) can get fairly hot with temperatures near 100 degrees F. With highs in the 70s and 80s, March through May and September through October are often comfortable.
The stunning, 70-meter-tall tower of the Koutoubia Mosque, which is visible for miles in all directions, makes it the most well-known landmark in Marrakesh. According to a local Marrakesh tale, when this mosque was first constructed, the muezzin—the person who calls the faithful to prayer—had to be blind since the tower was so tall that it overlooked the ruler’s harem.
The mosque, which was constructed in 1162, is regarded as one of the finest examples of Almohad architecture. The foundations of the first mosque constructed in this location are visible in the archaeological excavation area on the northwest side of the minaret. The current mosque was built in its place after the Almohads demolished it. Inside the Koutoubia Mosque, non-Muslims are not permitted.
The artist Jacques Majorelle created these lush, tropical gardens, which are covered in ferns, cacti, and palm trees. Majorelle, who was born in Nancy, France, moved to Marrakesh for health concerns. He later gained fame for his paintings of Moroccan life in the region.
Yves Saint Laurent, a French fashion designer, purchased the estate after Majorelle passed away in 1962, and after his passing in 2008, his ashes were dispersed among the gardens. The former painting workshop of Majorelle is now a magnificent museum devoted to Berber art on the property. A museum honouring Yves Saint Laurent’s life and fashion legacy sits right adjacent to the entrance to the gardens and also offers a schedule of temporary exhibitions.
Built in the late 19th century as the home of Grand Vizier Bou Ahmed, who served Sultan Moulay al-Hassan I, this exquisite house is shaped like a peacock. The interior decoration is a stunning exhibition of Moroccan craftsmanship that combines zellige tiles, painted ceilings, and intricate wrought-iron embellishments to depict the rich lifestyles of those who were influential with the sultan at the time.
The great riad’s lush interior courtyard and home to citrus trees and banana-leaf plants offer a calm retreat from the city. The two primary attractions are the enormous marble grand courtyard and the magnificent salons of the haram section.
Hot-Air Balloon Rides
In Marrakesh, several companies provide sunrise hot-air balloon ride trips that offer sweeping panoramas of the city, the neighbouring palm groves, the parched plateau, and, in the distance, the spine of the Atlas Mountains. The stunning landscapes are definitely worth the early morning start for photographers.
The majority of flights depart shortly after sunrise, last an hour, and include a picnic meal of traditional Berber delicacies served after the trip as well as return transports to the city centre. After the hot-air balloon trip, more expensive tours frequently provide quad bike tours or camel rides, or they offer private baskets rather than shared baskets.
The Marrakesh Museum (Musee de Marrakech) houses a diverse collection that includes everything from modern art to Qur’anic inscriptions, as well as regional ceramics, carpets, and coins. The building itself, though, is what most people find to be the primary draw of a trip here.
The museum is located in the Mnebhi Palace, which was once the palace of Pasha Thami Glaoui, the ruler of Marrakesh, but was subsequently Mehdi Mnebhi’s (a minister in Morocco’s government) mansion. The building, which boasts an incredibly spectacular central courtyard space replete with a priceless chandelier, is a tasteful fusion of regional North African form with Portuguese components.
66 members of the Saadian dynasty, which ruled over Marrakesh between 1524 and 1668, are interred in this graveyard from the 16th century. Al-Mansour the ruler, his successors, and their nearest relatives are all buried here in tombs. The mausoleums are surrounded by an overgrown garden in this rambling, eerie location.
One outstanding remaining mihrab can be found in the main mausoleum (where Moulay Yazid is interred). By their Alawite successors, the Saadian Tombs were sealed up, and they weren’t rediscovered until the early 20th century. The tiny alleyway next to the southern wall of the Kasbah Mosque serves as the entrance to the Saadian Tombs.
Food in Marrakesh
To list all of the incredible restaurants in Marrakech, you would need to write a book. Street vendors, budget pubs, and upscale eateries may all be found here. Everyone can find something.
If you visit the Red City, try the tajine, a stew prepared in a unique clay pot. My favourite dish at Cafe Souk was the chicken. There are also some vegetarian choices. You might also choose couscous with vegetables or meat. Ask for some mint tea to help you digest after every meal; it will also be a soothing way to end your feast.
Make the Most of Your Visit to Marrakesh
The best way to discover Marrakesh’s highlights and the local culture without having to worry about getting lost is by joining a guided tour. You’ll discover all about the history of the region along the trip, in addition to local insider hints and tales.
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