Marrakech is a city of colors and unforgettable experiences. Moreover, Marrakech or the Red City is considered a must-visit place when in Morocco. And here are 6 places you absolutely must visit in Marrakech.
Must Visit in Marrakech: 6 Places not to Miss
Have you ever dreamed of visiting a place so badly that you looked for any possibility to make your dream come true? Marrakech was that must-visit dream destination for me. I wanted to explore and walk down the streets of this African city for years. However, paying on average from $1100 to $1500 for an off-season round ticket from Los Angles to Marrakech didn’t seem reasonable. But as an old saying says, “Look and you will find it”, the solution knocked on the door unexpectedly.
Booking our trip to Europe, I decided to check flights to Morocco from Europe. They were pretty affordable, and I simply couldn’t miss this opportunity to visit Marrakech. In fact, the whole trip for one person was cheaper than one direct flight from LA to Marrakech. How could you say “no” to this?
The Read City is one of four Imperial cities of Morocco. Located in shadow of Atlas Mountains, every year Marrakesh attracts millions of visitors from all corners of the world. Not surprisingly, in 2015 this Moroccan national treasure was named the best destination in the world.
Everything from perfect mixture of new and old to rich cultural traditions and gleams of modern customs call you to visit Marrakech. When in the Red City, you want to explore its ancient mosques and palaces and experience its every corner. Moreover, getting lost in the maze souks while shopping for an authentic Moroccan rug is quite an experience. And it’s definitely one of those must-visit places in Marrakech.
On a shopping related note, let me give you one valuable advice. Visit Marrakech only with half empty luggage so you can fill it up with genuine Moroccan jewelry and home décor items. And now, are you ready for an adventure? Then let’s check out all 6 jewels one must visit in Marrakech.
HERE ARE 6 PLACES ONE MUST VISIT IN MARRAKECH:
1. Medina of Marrakech
The Medina of Marrakech is the oldest part of the city taking its well-deserved place right in the heart of Marrakech. Once a political and cultural center of the western Muslim world, the Medina became the UNESCO World Heritage Site almost four decades ago.
The Medina is one of the must-visit places in Marrakech for a reason. Its maze-like streets, busy souks, and ancient looking houses take you back in time and teach valuable history lessons. Lavish riads impress with extraordinary details and ancient customs.
As soon as you approach massive gate leading to the Old City, you get a strange sensation that the time freezes. The town, on the other hand, carries on with its daily activities without any influences from the “outside” world.
Furthermore, when visiting the Medina of Marrakech, you feel like one of the creators of the modern history of the city. History that is closely tied to the old traditions. If not for many tourists wandering around the Medina, you’d be convinced that some mystical forces transferred you back in time to the ancient 11th-century African city.
2. Jemaa El Fna
Undoubtedly, the busiest place in Marrakech, Jemaa El Fna is another must-visit place in Marrakech. This large public square located in the center of the Medina. The place is filled with entertainers, fortune tellers, dancers, snake charmers, herbalist, and water sellers during the day. At night it turns into a giant outdoor food market. A place where grilled meat, hot couscous, vegetables, and traditional Moroccan sweets await visitors and locals of Marrakech. After the exotic African feast you must visit the famous souks of Marrakech where skillful merchants and hawkers do anything to make you buy their goods.
If there was only one thing that you need to know before your visit to Marrakech, remember the following. Bargaining is a part of the Moroccan trade culture. Never settle for the original price. Vigorously arguing and praising their products, most vendors at the souks will eventually lower their prices. However, be mindful of your own time and energy and avoid the stubborn merchants unwilling to negotiate. You can always buy similar items for less just around the corner.
3. Koutoubia Mosque
A short walk from Jemaa El Fna takes Marrakech’s visitors to the Koutoubia Mosque, one of the most recognizable and prominent sites of the city. The mosque astounds with its exquisite architecture featuring beautiful arches, curved windows, and splendid tilework. Like most structures in the city, the Koutoubia Mosque was erected in the 12th century as a place where devotees could offer prayers.
Although the most favored religious edifice, the mosque was the second of the two almost identical structures. After a series of wars and changes of power, the Koutoubia Mosque underwent some reconstructions that reflected religious preferences of the ruling dynasty. With time, the first mosque deteriorated, leaving only its slightly younger version with an imposing 253 feet high minaret to rise above all other building in the city.
4. Bahia Palace
Another must-visit jewel of Marrakech is a much younger sibling of all Marrakech’s buildings. The Bahia Palace was constructed in the late 19th century. Unlike the Koutoubia Mosque, everybody including non-Muslims can visit one of the most beautiful places in Marrakech. Despite its relatively young age, the Bahia Palace, which literally means palace of the beautiful, quickly became one of the most cherished monuments in the country.
Established as a place of residency of royal family and Moroccan aristocracy, the palace embodies luxurious lifestyle of the country’s elite. When visiting the place, you can’t help but notice its stained glass windows, and rounded entryways. Dazzling mosaic tilework, awe-inspiring carvings and paintings on beech and cedar wood attract many artists visiting Marrakech for inspiration. Additionally, many verdant, courtyards, and gardens provide numerous photo opportunities for all visitors of the Bahia Palace.
5. Majorelle Garden (Jardin Majorelle)
The Majorelle Garden is one of the most spectacular sites among all must-visit places in Marrakech. Like a breeze of fresh air it breaks the traditional color gamut with a bright combination of cobalt blue and tropical green tones. Cobalt blue, one of the dominant colors in the garden, was the favorite shade of French painter Jacques Majorelle. The artist moved to Marrakech in attempt to cure his heart problems. And for the next 40 years he worked on creating the unique garden that was named after its creator.
In spite of its magnificence, the Majorelle Garden didn’t receive recognition until later when Yves Saint-Laurent bought the property. In 1997 the designer featured the garden in the 1997 Chelsea Flower Show in London. Today the Majorelle Garden is one of the must-visit attractions in Marrakech and Morocco.
6. City Walls and Gates
19 feet high walls with approximately 20 gates and 200 towers extended over 12 miles separate the Medina from the New Town of Marrakech. For centuries they protected the medieval city from attacks of various barber tribes. With time the walls ceased their military duties. Today they remind all visitors about long and glorious history of Marrakech.
Though strong and indestructible, the city walls possess some flaws, small holes on their surface that gave birth to many legends and secrets. One of these tales says that the holes were used in constructions of the walls. Unable to reach higher levels, the builders drilled the openings, inserted small but strong enough to hold a man logs, stepped on them, and continued working. As soon as one level was conquered, a new upper hole appeared giving the workers an opportunity to move further up. This process was carried on until the completion of the walls. True or not, the locals and visitors of Marrakech love these legends and zealously collect and share them with each other.
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