Marrakech, The Pearl of the South
From the very moment of your arrival in Marrakech, you will be awestruck by the strong contrasts in patterns and colors: the ochre of its adobe city walls and its bougainvillea-covered exteriors that make for a magnificent backdrop for the snowy peaks of the High Atlas.
Marrakech – mythical city, capital of culture and inspirer of artists, fashions and events. Marrakesh with its art galleries, festivals, exhibitions; Marrakech with its famous names, their luxurious palaces and its unbeatable nightlife; Marrakech, tourist capital for more than a century that offers an intelligent balance between the treasures of its age-old heritage and the vibrant energy of modern cultures.
A city with thousands of years of cultural history behind it
Marrakech with its thousand-year-old history has seen 5 dynasties come and go and each of them have greatly influenced its destiny. It was founded in 1062 by the Almoravid dynasty, whose greatest legacy was to bring water to the city through a system of wells, fountains and piping network. Marrakech and all those who visit the city also owe them green areas and gardens that will enchant even the most demanding visitor.
The Almohads took over the reins in the 12th century, improving irragation systems, enlarging city walls and creating the first hospital in the town. Shortly after this, the Merinids conquered Morocco in 1269, turning their backs on Marrakech and making Fez its capital (although the city recovered its former status in 1554 when the Saadians came to power). A new era began with the reign of Ahmed El-Mansour, El Dehbi. He had built a gigantic and luxurious palace, El Badii, embellished the city with mosques, fountains, madrasas (Koranic educational instituition) and commissioned to construct a magnificent necropolis in which members of his dynasty were to be buried.
In the 19th century, the Ben Youssef mosque was rebuilt and the Jardines de la Menara were created. After years of growth and construction, it is not until 1913 that Marrakech began to attract artists, writers and members of the world’s high aristocracy.
Not to miss experiences in Marrakech
Almost all of the city’s best things to do and attractions are located in the old town – the Koutoubia, the great square of Jemaa El Fna or the Menara, the symbolic places of the city of Marrakech.
The Koutoubia is considered to be one of the most beautiful monuments in the Maghreb. It served as model for the Giralda in Seville and the Hassan Tower in Rabat.
The Jemaa el Fna square is the living heart of the city. It has been classified as Oral and Inmaterial Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO for its space, its hustle and bustle of city’s activity and its unique atmosphere. It is also the city’s most important place for shows and encounters where you will be conquered by the Moroccan magic of its stalls offering an infinite variety of food and drink. Jemaa el Fna is a meeting place that really comes alive at night with hundreds of bars and clubs. It is here where you can listen to a storyteller, visit a fortuneteller, see a theatrical procession of poetic characters and graceful acrobats and discover the magical and enchanting music of the Gnaoua, their dances and their singing to the rhytm of the ”krakachs” (metal castanets).
The Menara Gardens is the perfect place if you are searching for a bit of peace and quiet that every traveller needs. It is a beautiful pavilion from the 14th century with a large pond and is surrounded by an inmense garden planted with olive trees. A sunset in this place is something that everyone visiting Marrakech should not miss because of the unforgettable view of the High Atlas Mountains aglow with golden shades. As night falls, a visit to this wonderland will leave a lasting spell on your mind.
The Ben Youseff Madrasa is an authentic jewel made of marble, stucco, mosaic and cedar wood. It is a large Koranic university that attracts students from all over the Muslim world.
Nearby, in the M’Nebhi palace is where the current Museum of Marrakech is located, with exhibitions of contemporary art and Moroccan cultural heritage.
Next to Bab Agnaou you will find the Saadian Tombs, a real necropolis adorned with columns of Italian marble and carved cupola of cedar wood. Not far from this place we can take the opportunity to go back in time and admire the ruins of El Badii Palace.
Just round the corner to the Bahia Palace and its gardens, the Dar Si Said Museum houses a collection of popular arts and crafts from Marrakech and the surrounding Berber regions.
In Marrakech you will experience two cities coexisting side by side: the old part with its antique walls and the new part of the city with its districts of Guéliz andHivernage, intersected by the Avenue Mohammed VI. The city is ideal for simply wandering through and exploring on foot, by bicycle or even by carriage, the traditional way of getting from one place to another and the option that many visitors choose to get through the 14,000 hectares of palm trees that surround the city.
Art and crafts of Marrakech
There is nothing comparable to wandering through the souks of the medina if you want to get to know the richness of the Marrakechí craftmanship. Souks are well known for their diversity and lively atmosphere and are organized by corporation: Cherratine souk for leather goods, Zrabi for carpets, Fekharine for pottery, Sebbaghine for dyers, Seffarine for copperware, and much more… It is a real pleasure for the senses to walk through each of these areas.
The originality of contemporary craftsmanship derives from a perfect fusion of tradition and modernity that has made Marrakech a temple dedicated to design. Numerous art galleries and literary cafes in recent years have been opened to enjoy the peace and culture that every corner of this city has to offer.
A characteristic element of the craftsmanship of Marrakech is the creative alpaca, an alloy of copper, zinc and nickel that is used for all kinds of jewelry and decorative elements.
The Cyber Parc Arsat Moulay Abdessalam is one of the oldest parks in Marrakech. Since its restoration, however, it also happens to be the most modern park of Marrakech, thanks to its interactive multimedia and latest technologies. Here you will find virtual guides to the city and to the park itself with a lot of information on its history.
The Bahia Palace stands out for its sophisticated decoration, its gardens, fountains, shaded patios and its architectural design. The palace was home to the Vizier Ba Ahmed Ben Moussa where he resided with his family. The construction lasted 7 years, giving rise to a Moroccan proverb: “The Bahia is finally finished!”, and refers to kind of business that has taken far too long time getting done.
The Majorelle Garden creates a symphony of lights, colors, flowers and exotic vegetation, birdsongs and fountains. The garden was painted vibrant and luminescent blue, which surprises even more than the pink city. The garden houses the Islamic art museum.
The magic of Marrakech acquires its first significance in the dream palaces and hotels, which besides being modern and of great quality, allow you to immerse yourself in the local culture. All great names and best international artists come to this city to relax and relieve its magic. If you are lucky, you might even bump into your favourite celebrity!
Among the festivals that take place in Marrakech we find the International Film Festival, Popular Arts Festival, Laughter Festival… Whatever the time of year, you will always find plenty of occasion to enjoy and entertain in the streets of the city.
As for gastronomy, you can enjoy quality restaurants under the stars in the Jemaa el Fna square with a medieval and exotic atmosphere. Whatever the restaurant, it is essential to try the great local specialty: the Tangia Marrakchia.
Top things to do in Marrakech
The city has several prestigious golf courses, such as the Royal Golf, the Palmeraie Golf Club, or the Golf d’Amelkis.
You can also enjoy the ski resort of Oukaimeden, located only 75 km from the city, that lies between 2,500-3,200 meters above the sea level.
For moments of relaxation and to ensure you you are on good form, there are a lot of major hotels and specialized institutes with spa, offering body and beauty care, jacuzzis, hammams, saunas, massages.
The city also has a variety of water parks, hiking trails and other activities for team building or corporate events that are fundamental for any company.
Moreover, those who love adventure and the outdoors will not be indifferent to the balloon ride, flying over the city and seeing it from above. If you prefer, there is also the option of helicopter experience or a ULM (Motorized Ultralight). What a way to end the experience of a lifetime!
Nature attractions in Marrakech
A trip to Lake Lalla Takerkoust, only 40 km from Marrakech to enjoy the wonderful landscape, makes for a refeshing journey, and you can explore surrounding countryside on foot, by quad or by cross car.
Situated 30 km south from Marrakech, The Ourika Valley is a beautiful verdant valley with adobe villages perched on the mountain side. In this area there are different gardens that can be visited, such as the Garden of the Saffron, the Bio-aromatic Gardens or The Terraced Timalizene Garden. For the more adventurous, you can even continue on foot to seven waterfalls that are just waiting to be discovered.
The Ouzoud Waterfalls are the most famous waterfalls in Morocco. Around 110 meters high, their water falls from one level to another in steps adorning the scene with fine drops that form a permanent rainbow halo.
Marrakech, a city that always has something to discover. Take advantage and come to uncover its magic. Live a unique and authentic experience with Argania Travel. Contact us and we will be more than happy to help you escape to the living heart of Morocco. All you need for a pleasant, trouble-free trip – tailored to your needs!