Marrakech Travel Guide, Morocco
Marrakech is a city so old that it is impossible not to have heard about it. Songs were written about it and tales told by those who have visited it.
For more than a thousand years the city has been an important trade centre and a heaven for all those who wanted to buy all kinds of spices. This marvelous city is still attracting tourists and merchants from around the globe. Tourists searching for the exotic arrive here by the hundreds every day.
In the center you can find the old city or Medina that is surrounded by a wall 12 km long. And around it was build the newer city where you can find most of the facilities of a big city, nothing fancy though as everything even the new buildings and facilities still have a traditional feel to them. You can say that they a bit more modern than the old ones but “a bit” is exactly what describes them. It’s like you won’t see so many camels around and modern day transport is present.
If you speak French you are lucky as it is a language widely spokes besides Berber and Arabic. But the language of trade is universal and you won’t have problems buying whatever you please.
The most attractive place in Marrakech is the market that has been functioning for more than a thousand years and little has changed since ancient times. Time seems to have stood still here and trade is just as prosperous as ever. You can find here anything from crafts, jewelry, spices, food to clothes. You can’t expect to find the types of shops you are used to they are mostly small led by the owner and the products sold are handmade. You can even see some of them produced right in front of your eyes: clothes being dyed, lamps being made, food being prepared and so on. The alabaster is hand carved here and used to ornate ceilings as people lay down a lot and look at the ceiling. Metal is molded in different shapes and it all happens in the street. You can actually see the traditional lanterns being made under your eyes in the many workshops.
They use mostly natural ingredients for food as well as for dying clothes. Not many chemicals and preservatives. Natural and biological is present everywhere. The hygiene rules are not respected much but they definitely compensate for the lack of chemicals. Not very clean but definitely 100 per cent natural!
Even bread is baked in the traditional way in large stone made ovens. People prepare it at home and bring the flat bread to the bakery to be baked for a small fee then come later to pick it up. Dates are also at home here as here they produce tons of them. They are the freshest here.
The variety of food you can try here is huge and all dishes are full of flavor, with so many spices around you will definitely not eat tasteless food. You might find some of the dishes a bit bizarre, ok a bit more than bizarre but it really depends on how much you are disposed to try. If the food looks funny to you and you’d rather eat in a restaurant that can be arranged there is a very good restaurant that serves local specialties like pigeon pie. It is clean, the service is excellent and the atmosphere even greater.
Americans will love the sights of doughnuts that can be bought freshly made in the street. The Moroccans eat them for breakfast. The English will feel at home as here tea is drunk not only at 5 but throughout the day and it is an important part of the menu. Tea is delicious and is prepares in a certain way and also the way it is served is different. The tea leaves are fresh and thus the aroma is magnificent. They pour it from as high as possible to produce foam. It’s like drinking cappuccino!
The favorite gathering place for the locals and tourists is the main square dating 800 AD that during the day is populated with small store holders that sell about anything and it all comes with a show as the square is also full of snake charmers, fortune tellers that sit on a chair under a large umbrella, singers, story tellers and acrobats. The square transforms towards the evening in an open air café and food stands fill up the space quickly. The place is lit by typical Moroccan lanterns and it gives the place a really magical feel. It creates an atmosphere long lost in the new world.
Being for centuries a centre for traders of course the city does not lack accommodation. The ancient hotels are scattered around the city standing as a proof that Marrakech was an important stop on the ancient trade route that connected Africa, China, Europe and India. The mix of different cultures that met here in the city for so long has left a mark on the city’s local cuisine and crafts.
As for relaxation there are baths where you can enjoy a nice massage and hot bath.
Marrakech is a city that stands between two worlds the old and the new and its magic has worked on many tourists who tell the story of the exotic city that has been told for many centuries.
Things about Marrakech you may be interested in
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Read our members' travel tips about Marrakech
- Place Jemaa El Fna
travel tip by davidsbeenhere posted more then 30 days ago
Place Jemaa El Fna is the main square in the city of Marrakech. Its a great place to watch some Moroccans charm snakes or sit down and get a sleeve full of Henna. The whole area is bustling with vendors offering clothing, shoes, henna,...
- The Saadian Tombs
travel tip by blackangel_66 posted more then 30 days ago
This burial ground is located in the south of Marrakesh and it is a beautiful example of the Arabic art and architecture. It is a burial place for at least since the 1550s and was developed under Ahmed el Mansour sultan. There are...