Marrakech is the 3rd largest imperial city of Morocco. The name Marrakech was derived from the Amazigh words- ‘mur’ and ‘ankush’, meaning ‘land of god’. The city is situated near the popular Atlas Mountains and is at some distance from the Sahara Desert. The whole city is divided into two separate parts. First one is Medina which is the historical city of Marrakech and the other part is Gueliz (also known by the name Ville Nouvelle) which is the new modern district. Medina is full of narrow passageways and some local shops whereas Gueliz has some charming restaurants, tasty food shops and huge brand stores. The contrasting landscapes and the perfect location of Marrakech make it one of the desirable destinations for tourists.
Get in to Marrakech:
You can reach Marrakech by plane. There are plenty of direct flights which are scheduled from London. Flights from all over Europe are available for tourists. Tourists from Canada, US and Asia have to change flights in Casablanca to reach Marrakech. There are no direct flights from these countries. There are many low cost companies also which fly to Marrakech. For those who don’t want to purchase flight tickets can travel by train or bus. There is a train station in the Gueliz district of Marrakech. There are regular trains that run through Casablanca and Marrakech. Moreover there are many bus companies like Supratours, Pullman du sud and CTM that serve Marrakech along with other cities.
Must See Sights:
There are plenty of sights in Marrakech. A whole day can spend wandering around on foot in Marrakech. Apart from some amazing museums, there are many architectural and historical sites in Marrakech. The main highlight of Marrakech is Djemaa El-Fna. This is the most active square of Marrakech. You will find many dancers, musicians, story tellers and even many tattoo girls who will convince you to get a henna tattoo on your body. The magical shouts and drum beats are enjoyable. Along with some common stalls, there will be some monkey shows and shows of snake charmers. You can pay them some money for their efforts if you wish to.
Just adjacent to this Djemaa El-Fna there is the famous markets of Marrakech, popularly known by the name “The Souks”. Almost everything is available at this place. From tagines to tea pots, from shoes to jellabas and many, many more things. Bargain as much as possible. Don’t let them taking advantage of you being a foreigner.
One of the most expensive attractions of Marrakech is the Majorelle Gardens which is in the Gueliz district. People usually like to visit this quite place to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city. There is an excellent collection of flora including every species of cactus from every portion of the globe. There is also the well-known Berber Museum. There is a café also, Majorelle Café, with a pretty garden to chill and have a drink. There is a special gift shop also with a huge anthology of period photographs.
Another place with a touch of the 19th century is the El Bahia Palace. This ornate palace is very beautiful and offers guided tours through the palace to people but tour charges apply to everyone. This palace is also popular because of stray cats. Adding to its glorious beauty there is a stunning garden decorated with lovely plants, banana flowers and even tranquil courtyards.
Next must visit place of Marrakech is the Koutoubia Mosque which is situated right next to Djemaa El-Fna. The significance of minaret to Koutoubia is as much as the Eiffel Tower is significant to Paris. The Minaret is separated from the Medina by the Avenue Mohammed V and is clearly observable from Gueliz. The sight of the Mosque is beautiful at night as it is strikingly lit at night. As it is a Mosque for the Muslims, people belonging to non-Muslim communities are not allowed to enter the mosque.
Dar Si Said Museum is very famous among the people of Marrakeh. The museum is differently built by various artifacts of different ages and is committed to the Moroccan craft industry popular for wood. The whole museum is decorated with musical instruments, some weapons and wood carvings. Ceramics, carpets, pottery and clothing are among the regional collections. This huge collection comes from the south cities- Tafilal, Anti Atlas, High Atlas, Bani, Soussthe and Tensift.
Another place which adds shine to the architectural glory of Marrakech is the Saadian Tomb. The tombs were discovered after the beginning of the 20th century. Saadian Tombs were built during the times of the Saadian rulers and were preserved in a perfect way as they were during that time. The tombs were not even touched by the destroyers mainly because of superstitious reasons. It was being said that the tombs were left untouched for almost hundred years as their entrances were blocked. But now the tombs are open for visitors. Inside the tombs you will find many Morrocan Tiles (Zelij) along with remarkable decorations. The tombs of Christians and Jews are popular among people; do not forget to look for them.
There are many other must visit places like El Badi Palace, the Menara gardens, Ben Youssef Madrassa and Tannaeries also. All these places make Marrakeh the most active and the dancing city of Morroco. The days of roaming around in this city will definitely be in the list of your unforgettable days.