The Pearl of the South: things to do in Marrakech
Marrakech, which literally means “Land of God”, is one of the four mazjen, which means: one of the imperial cities of Morocco. Marrakech is one of the most important cultural centres of Morocco with numerous monuments that are considered a World Heritage; it is a destination that mixes the exotic East with an urbanity environment. If you ask us about the things to do in Marrakech, keep on reading because you will discover many things…
In the shadow of Mount Atlas, with the aroma of turmeric pervading its streets and the bustle of its souk stands “the Red City”, Marrakech.
Things to do in Marrakech: The Pearl of the South in three days
Marrakech is a city full of history, colours and hullabaloo where you can explore and enjoy some of the oldest monuments in the world. There are many things you should see and places to discover, such as the Jamaa El Fna square. It is a square – irregularly shaped with quiet dawns – but filled with bustle and crowds during the day.
It is usually full of street vendors and women who adorn the skin of passers-by with intricate designs made with henna. From here they leave, in all directions, endless alleys that lead to any place in Marrakech.
There are several souks that can be found in Marrakech, but maybe the best known is the one located on the Jamaa El Fna Square. It is a labyrinth of narrow streets full of stalls and objects of all kinds. It extends from the northern part of the square and turns into a myriad of alleys where you can buy almost everything. Do not forget that bargaining is an essential part of the souks; your goal is to pay only one third of the initial price for the object you want. Here you can easily spend a whole day discovering a little bit of everything that they sell here.
The Koutoubia Mosque is the most important place of Marrakech. Its construction ended around 1158 and one of its main features is its towering minaret, which inevitably reminds us of the Giralda of Seville. With a height of 69 meters, this tower can be seen from various points in the city. Remember that, like many temple in Marrakech, you can not enter the mosque if you’re not a muslim. However, you can take pictures of the beautiful exterior and enjoy the atmosphere that occurs in its vicinity when the call to prayer arrives.
Very close to the mosque you will find the Médersa Ben Youssef, a study center of the Koran founded in the mid-14th century by Sultan Abou el Hassan. La Médersa is one of the most visited places in Marrakech because of the beauty of its construction: a mixture of stucco, mosaic and noble woods that can be seen in all its splendor in its interior courtyard.
In the city there are many museums, but maybe the most important one is the Museum of Marrakech, that is located in the former residence of Mehdi Mnebhi, former minister of defense. You can find this museum in a palace from the nineteenth century, when the building was converted into the Museum in 1997. The most striking part is the courtyard, dominated by a large lamp, and rooms arranged on either side of this great patio. Before becoming the Museum of Marrakech, it also has been a female school.
Another interesting museum that you should visit is Dar Si Said. In this museum you can see a large collection of traditional crafts: carpets, doors of cedar wood, weapons, antique pieces of handicrafts in embossed copper… Pieces that undoubtedly give you a perspective of the history and customs of the area.
Besides the museums, Marrakech has several gardens that – like an oasis – dot the city creating green spaces where you can breathe in the nature. The most important one is the Gardens of Menara where you can find a large water mirror, reminiscent of the old lagoon that was in the land and nowadays is used for the irrigation of all the plants and trees in the gardens. There are more than 40 different olive trees in these gardens that are located by a curious building next to the lake.
At the end of the sixteenth century Sultan Ahmed Al-Mansour ordered the largest and most luxurious palace ever, perhaps to celebrate the victory over the Portuguese troops at the Battle of the Three Kings. This is how the Badi Palace was built, which means “the incomparable” due to its great beauty. Although currently it is practically in ruins, there is a part that can be visited in a large esplanade surrounded by orange trees.
Qubba Ba’Adiyn, a recently restored building dating back to the 12th century, is a small vaulted building whose architectural and historical value is the only example of Almoravid architecture remaining in Morocco. The building was used to supply water to the city and is a great example of how advanced the Almoravids were in terms of engineering and architecture.
If there is something that many visitors want to do when they go to Marrakech, it certainly is a camel ride, or a dromedary, which is what you will find in the city. There are two ways to do it: while you are thinking of all the things to do in Marrakech in the palm grove or hiking to the desert. In case of choosing the desert, the dromedaries are the main transportation that you will use to reach the base camp.
The Red City and its secrets
Marrakech, the Pearl of the South has more than a thousand things to do. If you are still thinking about what to do in Marrakech, do not miss the opportunity to discover all the places we have mentioned.
Prepare your trip by planning each day an itinerary that will take you to explore a little more of the city and its people and enjoy tasting their traditional dishes full of intense and colourful flavours.