High archways of Marrakech
Djemma El Fna
Traditional Morrocan lamps
One of the many amazing streets in Marrakech
Morroco's Old Traditional City
Marrakech is an old traditional city that has become a symbol of Morocco. It is lively, vibrant and bustling and assaults all of your senses at once. The legions of tourists passing through each year have not affected its character and many of the streets are too narrow even for cars. The locals are proud of their city’s fame and make the most of the high tourist activity.
Location: Southwestern Morocco, Africa
Population: 1,036,500 (2006)
Climate: Mediterranean. Hottest in July, August and September. Low humidity, but often heavy downpours in winter which create much mud.
When to go: Avoid the summer heat and crowds and visit during the cooler months between September and May.
Language: Officially Arabic, but French is the dominant business language.
Cafe Agrana: On the edge of Djemma El Fna. They make delicious pastilla – a sweet/savoury pie filled with either chicken or, um, pigeon, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Chez El Bahia: Reasonably priced and delicious food in a quiet location. Try the tasty Moroccan salad!
La Makarechi: One of the more posh restaurants in town. Not necessarily better food, but one of the only places that serves alcohol. It also has a convenient enclosed upstairs area for when the weather is bad.
Hot Mint tea: Is served in all Marrakech restaurants and cafes with loads of sugar and is delicious.
Alcohol: Not widely available. However the Hotel Tazi in the Medina of Marrakech has a public bar, serving beer and wine at reasonable prices.
Fresh Orange juice: Served from street stalls. Do as the locals do and try it with salt.
Traditional Moroccan lamps: Make sure you purchase one of these beautiful, intricate hand-crafted souvenirs. They can be found in plentiful supply at the many markets in stalls throughout Marrakech.
Leather goods: Marrakech is home to a large tanning industry. In particular keep an eye out for camel leather jackets and handbags.
Cactus silk: Available in a range of truly vibrant colours, cactus silk garments are actually rayon: a natural fibre made from plant cellulose.
Pottery: Look out for bright and traditional platters and tagines (a traditional Moroccan flat earthenware cooking dish.)
Carpets: These are plentiful! The ones with intricate native designs are the best, although there are also ones with popular foreign designs available
SEE & DO
There are many amazing things to see and do in Marrakech! Here are just a few:
Djemma El Fna: This is a square which comes alive at night with musicians, dancing, and story tellers alike, all with a background of drum beats and excited shouting. There are a plethora of stalls selling a range of Moroccan fare to keep your energy levels up in this vibrant medley. During the day, the area is filled with snake charmers, people with monkeys and stalls. A must see.
The souks: These are the markets of Marrakech, adjacent to the Place DJemma El Fna, where you can buy almost anything. Brightly coloured spices are visually exciting. Other items include tea pots, kaftans, shoes and much more. You will definitely get a bargain, even though tourists generally pay more than locals!
The Koutoubia Mosques: The landmark of Marrakech. The minaret of this structure is visible from anywhere in the city. It was first built in 1147 but was demolished as it was not properly aligned with neighbouring city Mecca, and rebuilt in its present shape in 1199. The minaret of the colossal red stone structure rises 77 metres above the ground.
Majorelle Gardens and the Museum of Islamic Art: Created in the 1920s by French artists Jacques and Louis Majorelle, the gardens contain many different shaped plants, flowers, fish ponds and an elusive thing in Marrakech: tranquillity. The gardens are now owned by Yves Saint Laurent who also has a house on the property. The Museum of Islamic Art is a bright yellow and blue building that was once the artists’ studio.