What to see in Marrakech, Morocco?

What is worth seeing in Marrakech?

Eva

Marrakech is the most famous city in Morocco. Although it is not on the coast, thousands of tourists visit it every year. Many vacationers in Agadir come to Marrakech for 1-2 days of sightseeing, because to visit Morocco and not see Marrakech is nonsense. And that is not surprising. Marrakech offers its visitors a variety of entertainment for all tastes. You can stay in riads, which are palaces behind unassuming doors in the medina, or stay in a luxury hotel with a huge green area. You can eat in expensive French restaurants or you can buy unpretentious Moroccan food directly from street vendors.

Medina

The city center, the medina, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is the heart of Marrakech and is where crowds of tourists flock in search of oriental flavor. From the central square diverge narrow intricate streets, turning to which you immediately begin to doubt that you’ll ever find your way back. As in many ancient cities, the medina is surrounded by a high fortress wall with twenty gates through which you can enter the old city. Due to the orange-red color of the walls, Marrakesh got its second name, the “Red City”. The medina is a lively place for trade. It sells fruits and bread, and clothing, and a lot of different incomprehensible things. In the middle of the street, people may be sleeping on the ground next to a shop. If you want to tickle your nerves, a walk along these shopping aisles will give you the perfect opportunity.

Jem el Fna

The central square of Djem el-Fna is a favorite place for evening strolls by tourists. This part of the old town evokes a mixture of admiration and wariness. There is not a lot of people here! Numerous souvenir sellers, street acrobats and snake charmers. Here you will be constantly offered to put a henna drawing on your body, touch a monkey, just begging. The historical role of this place is not very pleasant – numerous executions took place in this square. Now there are cafes and restaurants around Jem el-Fna, with excellent views of the square from the upper floors. Therefore, they are always crowded with tourists with cameras.

Qutubiya

The main religious landmark of Marrakech, the Koutoubia Mosque, located outside the Medina, can also be seen from almost every part of the city. Its construction began in 1147, and since then it is the benchmark for such constructions. Indeed, looking at it, you somehow begin to understand that this is the only correct architectural solution for structures of this type. The main detail of this construction is the minaret with the height of 70 meters. Around the mosque there is a small park. Unfortunately, the mosque is closed to non-Muslims.

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Another mosque that is impossible not to notice when walking around Marrakech is the Mosque of Ali Ben Yusuf.

An interesting place, lost among the maze of narrow streets of the old city, is the Bahia Palace. It is one of the main points of tourist visits. Here you will plunge into the luxury of exquisite palace interiors, see a wonderful courtyard, interiors decorated with mosaics, an orange garden with a fountain. You can visit the palace from 8:30 to 11:45 and from 14:45 to 17:45 for 10 dirham.

There are also several other palaces in Marrakech hidden in the unremarkable streets of the medina.

The Majorelle Garden

But Marrakech’s choice of attractions is not limited to the walls of the old city. Outside it, there is a beautiful park, on the shady paths of which it is very pleasant to stroll in the heat. It is the Majorelle Garden. It is located away from the city center, and if you walk to it, you can see the more modern look of Marrakech.

The Majorelle Garden was created in the 1930s by the French painter Jacques Majorelle. After moving to Morocco because of health problems, he fell in love with Marrakech and built himself a villa, which he surrounded with a botanical garden. With impeccable taste, the artist created the greatest work of landscape design, which has become one of the most visited attractions in Marrakech. Located in a small area, the Majorelle Garden is a place where you can see plants from all over the world. The history of the garden is a story with a happy ending. In the 1960s, after the death of the artist, the garden and the house fell into disrepair and the local authorities wanted to tear them down. But in 1966, Yves Saint Laurent and his friend bought them back and restored them. In the garden you will see a small pond overgrown with water lilies, the artist’s house-museum, painted bright blue paint, a variety of flowers, cacti, bamboo and many other interesting plants.

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The garden is open to the public from 8:00 to 18:00. Admission ticket price is 50 dirhams, museum visit – 25 dirhams.

In addition to the Majorelle Garden, very popular are the Menara Gardens, located away from the city center in the foothills of the Atlas. This huge park, which enjoys well-deserved popularity among the citizens, is located on the territory of 100 hectares.

Cyberpark

One interesting and popular place is the Cyberpark located near the entrance to the medina. Here you can not only hide in the shade of the trees from the scorching African sun, but also use the Internet for free. The park is located on the way from the hotel district to the old city, not far from the Koutoubia.

You can take a tour bus to see Marrakech, or you can take a horse-drawn carriage. They are usually waiting for you outside the Medina. Be sure to negotiate! Usually you can get three or four times the price. The route usually takes you through the Djem el-Fna Square, then through some wider streets and finally, you leave the medina. From here you see a completely different view – modern hotels with a huge area, immersed in the greenery, areas set aside for entertainment – quad biking, camel riding, golf courses and other elements that indicate that Marrakech is a tourist-oriented city.

lisss

Marrakech, located in the middle of Marrakech, very crowded (the third largest city in the country), very noisy, dirty and polluted, nevertheless still attracts tourists with the remains of former luxury and sights, some of which are included in the UNESCO heritage list.

Jema el-Fna Square and the Medina

The main attraction of the city, which also has another unofficial name “Square of severed heads. Long ago, in this square tortured and then cut off the heads of criminals, who were brought here from all over the country. For its originality at the end of the last century it was included in the list of protected cultural sites by the international organization UNESCO. It is not only the most popular place among tourists, but also among locals because it is here where they make their money. And if during the day on the square is relatively quiet and calm, but in the evenings here starts crowding, people come here to walk, have fun and have fun. It is here that you can try some very exotic local food, watch the play of street theaters, see snake charmers and generally feel all the colorful bustle of Marrakech. The square is a central part of the medina, the other famous landmark of Marrakech.

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The Medina, is nothing else than the old city surrounded by fortress walls, which can be reached through one of the twenty gates that open the way to it. In addition to Jem El Fna Square, Medina has interesting architectural structures such as: the Palace of the Bahia Palace, the Ali Ben Yusuf Mosque, and the Tomb of the Saadites, but more about them later.

Tourists will be very interesting to wander through the maze of old narrow streets, where life has remained unchanged for several centuries. By the way, it is quite easy to get lost here, and if you get lost, be prepared to part with a small amount of money that will be required to pay locals to get you out. In general, the topic of money hangs pretty sharp in Marrakech. Pickpockets and petty crooks abound here, so you have to be careful. You should also be prepared for the fact that you will be constantly imposing any service or just begging.

Palace Bahia.

Located in the medina, a luxurious palace was built in the late 19th century and gives a great idea of how the richest Moroccans lived a couple of centuries ago. A great attraction in Marrakech is the Palace of the Bahia Palace, which gives an idea of how the noble and wealthy Moroccans lived in the 19th century, but after the death of its owner Ahmed ibn Musa, the Grand Vizier of Marrakech, it was looted and only after some time, the next owners restored it to its former luxurious splendor.

The inner courtyard of the palace is decorated with fine ornaments and a neat fountain, and the halls fascinate by the magnificence of stone carvings and mosaics.

There are more than 150 rooms in the palace, but only the first floor is open to the public.

Ali Ben Yusuf Mosque.

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The mosque and the adjacent madrasah is one of the oldest religious buildings of Islam. It was originally built in the 12th century at the command of the ruler Ali Ben Yusuf but was later practically razed to the ground by the rulers of the next dynasty and then rebuilt in the original form by one of the subsequent rulers. It was built in honor of the city’s patron saint, Yusuf ibn Ali Sahaj, famous for his deepest faith, humility and reclusiveness. The minaret of the mosque has a height of more than 40 meters and it is visible practically from any part of the city. Here is also the most ancient Islamic sanctuary of Kubba Ba adin. Mosque and madrasah are active and available for tourists.

El Badi Palace.

The royal palace built in the second half of the 16th century by King Ahmed al-Mansour of Morocco is considered to be one of the largest in North Africa. Even though time has not spared it, the power, wealth and grandeur of the former rulers of these lands is still breathtaking. Just look at the courtyard alone, measuring 110 by 135 meters. The palace was built of Italian marble and Indian onyx, which were then richly inlaid with gold mined in Sudan. However, all this splendor lived a little less than a hundred years, after which it was destroyed by order of another sultan, but at the moment there is an active restoration of the architectural complex. Several floors of the palace, consisting of two pavilions, has more than 350 rooms, and underground there is an extensive network of tunnels. Between the pavilions is a huge pool traditionally used to collect rainwater.

Menard Gardens.

The most pleasant and peaceful place in my opinion. Located in the west of Marrakech, on its very outskirts. It is a large park (an area of more than 100 hectares) with olive and orange trees and palm trees. In the heart of the park is a large lake and built a small gazebo. It seems to be nothing special, if not to know about the fact that the date of creation of the garden complex dates back to the 12th century AD. In general, it is a wonderful place to visit, which is worth a break from the scorching sun and noise of the city.

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Bab-Agnau Gates (Bab-Agwenau).

One of the twenty gates leading into the medina, it seems difficult to call it a sightseeing attraction, but its origin and the meaning that was taken into account during its creation is interesting. There are two versions of the name and each is associated with a different legend. The name Bab-Agnau in Berber means “hornless ram” and is associated with the fact that originally the gate had two towers, which were later destroyed. The second name, Bab-Agwenau, rather alludes to the slaves from Guinea who were shipped to Marrakech and it was through this gate that strings of slaves passed. By the way, it is by looking at them that you understand why Marrakech has the name “Red City”. The gate is a fine example of Islamic architecture of the late 11th and early 12th centuries, the basis of which was a smooth flow of arches from one to another, as well as rich carvings on the stone.

Saadid Tomb.

It is a large mausoleum, where more than 60 members of the famous and powerful Saadi dynasty, which long ruled the lands where the city is located, are buried. By the way, a member of the dynasty was also King Ahmed al-Mansur, whose palace was described a bit above. It was built in the 16th century, but it was discovered only at the very beginning of the 20th century. The mausoleum consists of three rooms, each of which has a unique decoration made of marble, cedar and limestone, decorated with gilding, stucco and colorful mosaics.

Lastly, all places of interest, except for Djem Al Fna Square, are best visited in the first half of the day, otherwise you won’t have any fun because of the scorching heat.

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