Marrakesh Travel Guide
Introduction to Marrakesh
Unquestionably, Marrakesh is one of the most popular destinations in Morocco. With a medina that is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, you’ll be treated to a market culture that has remained the same in many respects for centuries.
When you aren’t haggling for the perfect souvenir, you can watch snake charmers do their thing, relax in lush gardens, and explore buildings which offer some of the best examples of Moorish/Berber architecture in the world.
If you are traveling in Morocco, make an effort to include Marrakesh in your travel plans.
Cultural Attractions in Marrakesh
No visit to this city can be considered a success without a visit to the Medina of Marrakesh. Crowded and chaotic but always energetic and stimulating, this ancient city centre is packed with souks, street performers, and food stalls serving a variety of Moroccan specialties.
Founded in the 11th century by the Almoravid dynasty, this series of walls and armed defenses kept Marrakesh safe during the Middle Ages, allowing it to develop into a powerful centre of commerce, politics, and culture.
Its souks, walls, ramparts, mosques, palaces, riads, and ruins will have you exploring for days on end, so be sure to give yourself enough time in your travel itinerary to properly enjoy this place.
Make the Ben Youssef Madrasa your next stop. An Islamic education centre that opened in the 14th century, it was the largest madrasa in all of Morocco and one of the largest in North Africa throughout its tenure.
Complete with motifs of geometrical shapes and floral prints on its tiled walls along with epic arches throughout the property, dedicating at least an hour to appreciate this property is recommended.
Not all of the historical attractions of Marrakesh date from the Middle Ages. The Bahia Palace is a magnificent example, as it was built in the 19th century by Si Moussa, a member of the Sultan’s court. Meant for his wives, it contained an elaborate courtyard, stained glass windows, geometric patterns, and a well-stocked library.
Lovers of felines will also appreciate the fact that there is a healthy population of (well cared for) stray cats that frequent the grounds of this attraction, so be sure to give the regulars some belly scratches should you come across them.
Other Attractions in Marrakesh
Don’t neglect to check out the Saadian Tombs during your explorations of the Medina. Dating back to the reign of Sultan Ahmad al-Mansur at the turn of the 17th century, this mausoleum was the final resting place for 60 members of the Royal Family during the days of the Saadi Dynasty.
Hidden from sight by a rival who walled off this structure from public view, it was rediscovered by archeologists in 1917. Constructed of fine Italian marble, it is truly a sight to behold, but don’t forget to check out the garden in the courtyard, as it is where other members of his court are buried.
If you are seeking some solace from the busyness of the streets of Marrakesh, spend some time inside Majorelle Garden. A botanical and landscape garden spanning over twelve acres, it is also home to the Islamic Art Museum, which is painted in a vivid blue colour.
The garden outside is home to fifteen bird species, numerous types of cacti, and plenty of stylish fountains. The museum contains textiles, jewelry, paintings, and ceramics from across North Africa, so be sure to spend some time checking it out.
Want to relax in style in the Marrakesh area? Located a short distance out of town, Palmeraie is a date palm grove that is said to have arisen from the discarded date pits of caravan merchants in past centuries. We do know that locals guided the growth of the grove for several centuries, which has resulted in the creation of an oasis of over 100,000 trees.
If you want to stay in Marrakesh in style, there are a number of posh hotels out this way. Love to golf? There is a stellar course with amazing views of the nearby Atlas Mountains located within the palm grove, so if you haven’t gotten in a round in some time, this is a fine place to do so.