The red city. Marrakech is one of the most enchanting places on earth, mesmerizing travelers of all generations with its open air bazaar, Jamaa el Fnaa, complete with snake charmers, storytellers and jugglers. The mythical Mamounia hotel hosted some of the world’s most prominent people of this century; Winston Churchill having spent his later years painting in the hotel’s beautiful gardens. As one of the four imperial cities, Marrakech was capital of the Moroccan Empire during the Almoravid dynasty. The city’s beautiful centuries-old red walls and high palm trees are set against the beautiful snow capped High Atlas mountains, a sight that must be seen in one’s lifetime. Today, the city is the hippest winter getaway destination with luxurious riads transformed into trendy boutique hotels, a great nightlife, shopping and food.
Jamaa el Fnaa
The open-air bazaar of Jamaa al Fnaa is truly a feast for the senses. Snake charmers, jugglers and storytellers have performed on these grounds for centuries. If you work up a thirst or an appetite, visit one of the shish kabob or juice vendors who fill the sky with the sweet odors of roasted lamb or beef. This open air bazaar really comes alive at night when the sounds, smells, lights and colors become more vibrant.
The Koutoubia mosque, built in the 12th century, with its imposing minaret (tower used for the call to prayer), is considered by many to be the ultimate structure of its kind. The Koutoubia was used as a model for many religious structures including the Hassan tower in Rabat and the Giralda mosque in Spain as well as numerous church towers in Spain and Eastern Europe. Truly avantgarde, its architectural influence can even be seen in more modern structures such as the Manhattan Bank Building in New York and architecture from Stalinist Russia.
The final resting place of the most prominent members of the Saadi dynasty, the mausoleum captivates with its beauty and attention to detail. The tombs were only recently discovered in 1917 and restored by Les Beaux Arts. The graves, made of exquisite Italian Carraramarble, have stood the test of many centuries. Some of Morocco’s most exquisite stucco work, done on fine cedar wood, can be found within the mausoleum.
Currently owned and restored by French designer Yves Saint Laurent, the Majorelle garden is one of the most beautiful examples of the art deco movement in Morocco from the 1920’s. Its creator, artist Jaques Majorelle, used the villa as a workshop for many years. The Majorelle gardens are beautiful and diverse , a mix between modern and traditional Islamic gardens, and are host to more than fifteen bird species unique to North Africa.
What’s to do in Morocco
A visit to Marrakech’s souk is a mandatory part of any trip to Marrakech. Handicrafts are the item du jour, with beautiful carpets, dresses, handbags and jewellery being the most popular items.
Under the hot sun, days in Marrakech are lazy and relaxed. If you tire of lounging by the pool (it happens), a leisurely carriage ride around the city is the perfect afternoon activity.
Have a glass of water from a gerrab
Marrakech is very hot and dry during the day. So if you get thirsty while shopping or taking in the sights, you can be sure a gerrab (water seller) won’t be far off with a pouch full of suprisingly cool water.
The city’s beautiful centuries-old red walls and high palm trees are set against the beautiful snow capped High Atlas mountains, a sight that must be seen in one’s lifetime. Today, the city is the hippest winter getaway destination with luxurious riads transformed into trendy boutique hotels, a great nightlife, shopping and food.
Hotel in Morocco