Marrakech: Guide to Marrakesh, Morocco City
Marrakech, Morocco’s most popular tourist destination holds an enduring fantasy and immediate excitement for visitors. Even those tourists who return many times will always find it a compelling place with a delirious imagination, a thousand stories to tell, an enchanted carnival city that opens a door to a past that lasts thousands of years and shows no signs of stopping.
The setting of Marrakech itself is magnificent: the capital of the South with close proximity to the Sahara, it is dominated by the peaks of the magnificent High Atlas Mountains. The forbidding appearance of the peaks, hazy in the scorching heat of summer, make for an amazing view behind the city’s palmery in winter: shimmering white with snow!
There is so much to see in Marrakech you should spend at least a few days of full exploration. There are the city’s great architectural landmarks: the Koutoubia Mosque, the most perfect minaret in Morocco and a great piece of Almohad architecture, the Saadian Tombs, a splendid mausoleum dating back to the 16th century lavishly decorated in carvings, marble pillars and magnificent plasterworks. There are the city’s great gardens, the Agdal and Menara, set in an enchanting stretch of orchid and olive groves, and then there is the Majorelle Garden, smaller in size but spectacular in its lily and cacti ponds and its Islamic Art Museum housed in a stunning pavilion.
Marrakech will always draw parallels with Fes, the other great Moroccan imperial city. However, what really sets Marrakech apart is not so much its historical landmarks but rather its spectacular location and lively atmosphere. Unlike Fes, Marrakech is not suspended between past and present; it is more rooted in present while maintaining a strong bond to its distant past. This is what you will encounter in the city’s famous square: Djemaa el Fna, a fascinating place full of life and activity. There are musicians, street sellers, snake charmers, performers, comedians and dancers vying for your attention day and night! There are food stalls where you can try tasty tagines or better still the local speciality: tanjia or jugged beef left to cook slowly in the ambers. The souks sell anything from local Berber rugs and jewellery to metalwork and household essentials and will tempt you to part with your money over a glass of mint tea! Yes, a typical Moroccan shopping experience.