Located to the north of the foothills of the African Atlas Mountains, Marrakech is the fourth largest city of Kingdom of Morocco. It is often referred to as a city that can be overwhelming to your senses with its various scents, sights, and colors mixing together leaving visitors in a state of utter amazement and disbelief. Incredible architecture, history, and culture completely different to what is known to average Westerner makes Marrakech one exotic destination definitely worth visiting and exploring.
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Walking Map of Marrakech
Morocco Travel Video
Top Attractions in Marrakech
Djemaa El Fna
Large square Djemaa El Fena (assembly place of the nobodies) at the entry to the Medina is the center of Marrakech life bustling with life and colors, filled with musicians, storytellers, fortune-tellers and snake charmers. If it all becomes a bit too much, you can find rest on one of the many surrounding rooftop cafes and restaurants where you can overlook the hustle and bustle from above.
Trade and commerce have been thriving in Marrakech souks for over a thousand years and all that passed with omnipresent overwhelming vibrant sights, smells and sounds are a unique experience that you have to prepare yourself for. There are two main routes into the heart of Medina souks, rue Semarine (aka Souk Semarine) and rue Mouassine.
Before taking a stroll past stalls and shops specializing in pottery, pâtisseries, textiles, spices, carpets, jewelry and all kind of other craftsmanship definitely learn how to say NO and brush up on your negotiating skills!
Ben Yossef Madrasa
An educational institution founded in the 14th century and rebuilt by Canadians in the 16th century, over the period of 4 centuries it has hosted and educated students in the fields of different sciences as well as theology. A fine example of Moorish architecture displaying Moroccan art, colors, and ornaments, this is one of the most visited buildings in the Marrakech. See the courtyards from the rooms and take photos across the courtyard from the windows.
Opening hours are Monday – Sunday, 8am to 5pm. Price : 22 DH
Marrakech’s most famous symbol is the minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque. Although it is only 77 meters high due the local topography and a rule that any other building in Medina cannot be higher than a palm tree, the Koutoubia mosque rules over its surroundings. As it is still an active place of worship non-Muslims may not enter but it is possible to get a good view of the exterior by walking around either side.
A magnificent example of Moroccan architecture originating from the late nineteenth century, The Bahia Palace is located along the northern edge of the district Mellah or Jewish quarter. The Bahia Palace came to be after a set of houses were converted into a palace with the best workmen and craftsmen of the country working continuously on it for six years (1894-1900).
Today, only one part of the Palace’s eight hectares and 150 rooms are open to the public, but there is enough of the area open to enjoy the finest examples of the intricate floor to ceiling ornamental decorations, lavish interior, endless mosaics and gardens.
Opening hours are Monday – Sunday, 8am to 5pm. Price: 10 DH
Dar Si Said Museum of Moroccan Arts and Crafts
Located in a palace that itself is a work of art with stunning cedar wood complete with intricate carvings, Dar Si Said Museum speaks of times past and customs with a display of items that are still pretty much in use in some of the mountainous regions of Morocco.
The museum features amazingly decorated weapons, decorative clothing, traditional Berber jewelry and an incredible variety of carpets from around the world, a small courtyard with exquisitely decorated doors and window frames. They all make Dar Si Said Museum a relaxed and enjoyable Marrakech hideaway.
Opening hours are Wednesday to Monday, 9 am to 4:45 pm. Price: 10 DH
Within Mnebhi Palace, a fine example of classical Andalusian architecture is located the Marrakech museum exhibiting a collection of Moroccan art forms, both modern and traditional. With a display of historical books, coins and pottery explore Berber, Moroccan Jewish and Islamic cultures that have all marked life in the area.
Opening hours are 9am to 7pm, to 6pm from October through March. Price: 50 DH
The Almoravid Koubba is an oldest building and shrine in Marrakech situated next to the Museum of Marrakech built in 1117. Part of it was used as a place where believers could wash before prayers. The interior is stunning with its rich floral decorations and calligraphy.
Pay attention to the oldest inscription in cursive Maghrebi script in North Africa at the entrance and at the top of the prayer room: It was created for science and prayer, by the prince of the believers, descendant of the prophet, Abdallah, most glorious of all Caliphs. Pray for him when you enter the door, so that you may fulfill your highest hopes.
The Mellah in Marrakech is an area where the Jewish community resided. Mellah is a reminder of Morocco’s rich history where Arab and Jewish communities lived and worked alongside, respecting each other’s differences.The Mellah reached its peak in the 1500s with Mellah Jews working there as bakers, jewelers, tailors, sugar traders, artisans and craft people.
Today, in Mellah the Lazama Synagogue is still used for religious purposes and is open to the public. Next to the Mellah, is the Jewish Cemetery
To find a refuge from Marrakech’s hot sun and business of its streets, visit Majorelle garden. Majorelle garden is a twelve-acre botanical garden designed by French painter Jacques Majorelle in the 1920s and 1930s. It took him 40 years in total to create this wonderful retreat marked by Moorish charm, with a hint of Art Deco and painted in vibrant primary colors, with an intense blue the artist perceived in the Atlas Mountains.
After Yves Saint Laurent who owned the garden since the 1980s died, his ashes were scattered in the garden. On the premises is also located Islamic Art Museum of Marrakech, with a collection of North African textiles from Saint-Laurent’s personal collection as well as ceramics, jewelry, and paintings by Majorelle.
Open every day of the year with the following hours:
- October 1 – April 30: 8 am to 5:30 pm
- May 1 – September 30 : 8 am to 6 pm
- The month of Ramadan: 9 am to 5 pm
Price: Garden : 66 DH, Museum : 33 DH
The Saadian Tombs
The Saadian tombs date back from the time of the sultan Ahmad al-Mansur, from the 16th century. The sultan spared no expense on his tomb making himself one glorious mausoleum in gold, Italian marble, and decorative plasterwork. The tombs are accessible only through a small passage in the Kasbah Mosque and remained hidden until aerial photography exposed them in 1917.
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday from 9am to 6pm. Price: 10 DH
One of the biggest and second-best-known mosques in Marrakech dates from the year 1190. After the restoration, it is still used for prayers with the entrance being strictly prohibited to non-Muslims.
Known for its leather goods, the tanneries have been around since the Medina was founded over a thousand years ago. As with most things in Marrakech, the experience is often an overload of smells and colors and can be heavy on sight too while watching men working by using pre-industrial age techniques.
Have you ever felt like you are entering a new world? Stepping through the doors of the Riad Star we became a prince and princess in a Moroccan fairytale.
Our stay at the Sherazade Hotel at the heart of the medina was an oasis in the bustling city. The small and intimate riad provides amazing personalized service to all its guests.
Follow along on with our complete daily itinerary with more behind the scenes photos and videos on TraveLibro.