Marrakech City Guide
Marrakech is a former imperial city located in Western Morocco and one of the most visited cities in the country. The city is a major economic centre and home to many mosques, palaces and gardens.
The medina located in the city is a densely packed walled medieval city which dates back to the Berber Empire with maze like alleyways where thriving souks (marketplaces) exist selling all manner of items from traditional textiles and pottery to food and jewellery. One of the symbols of the city, and something which is visible for miles, is the Moorish minaret of the 12th-century Koutoubia Mosque located in the city.
There’s no “best time” of the year to go to Marrakech as it’s deemed a year round destination. Spring and Autumn see the city at its best with guaranteed sunshine during the day but bearable temperatures where the days are warm and the nights aren’t too chilly. The summer can get unbearable with temperatures reaching a sweltering 42C, some shops even shut during August. Bare in mind that Morocco is predominantly a Muslim city and most people will adopt Ramadan meaning that many things may be closed during this time (best to check when Ramadan falls, before booking your trip).
Of course no visit to the city is complete without circling the Koutoubia Mosque which is built in traditional Almohad style and topped with four copper globes. At 77 metres tall it isn’t huge by modern standards but it stands over everything else as local laws forbid any other building in the Medina to be higher than a palm tree.
Spend your afternoons haggling the prices of local products in the souks but be careful not to get lost as the alleyways within all look the same. Every section has it’s own speciality and the two main routes to the heart are via Rue Semarine (aka Souk Semarine) and Rue Mouassine with the former offering a more full on bazaar experience.
You can learn more about Islamic scripture and law at the Ben Youssef Medersa, a Quranic school or seek shelter from the sun in the world famous La Mamounia with its famous gardens full of pretty flowerbeds and plenty of eating opportunities. Indulge your cultural side and see a collection of decorative arts and crafts from Southern Morocco and the Sahara on display in Maison Tiskiwin which is a private house owned by veteran Dutch anthropologist Bert Flint. Marrakech’s most visited monument is an ancient walled garden on the South side of the Kasbah Mosque which featured early mosaic graves and prayer halls full of ceremonial graves.
Of course no trip to Marrakech is complete without sampling the local cuisine full of tagines and meat stews and if you fancy a party after how about trying belly dancing? Head to Comptoir and pass the diners on the ground floor to an upstairs lounge where drinks might be pricy but the nightly belly dancers are worth it.
If you’re about ready for some downtime head to a hammam or spa where you can grab a massage and have a relax. Plenty of people head to the Moroccan city for the sunshine and relaxation and may not even explore the city all that much. Remember it’s your holiday so treat it as so.
Have you been to Marrakech before? Are there any must see or restaurant suggestions you have? Comment below, and I’ll add them to this post…