Exotic scents exude a feeling of 1001 nights
Colorful markets, grand houses and palaces, beautiful gardens, small winding alleys, culinary delights – all this is the red city Marrakesh. A variety of colors, light and exotic scents exude a feeling of 1001 nights. For me Marrakesh is one of the most beautiful, if not the most beautiful city in the Orient. Because of its red fortress wall and the red houses within the medina (Arabian old town) Marrakesh is also called the ‚Red City‘. Since 1985, the medina of Marrakesh has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With abut one million inhabitants, it is after Casablanca, Rabat and Fez the fourth largest city in Morocco.
Colorful bustle on the Djemaa el Fna at any time of the day or night
The heart of Marrakech is definitely Djemaa el Fna, a medieval juggler’s square. This marketplace is sparkling with life and energy. At any time of the day Djemma el Fna looks different. During the day it bustles with merchants. There are numerous stands selling incredibly delicious orange juice. Locals and tourists come here every evening to watch snake charmers, artists, acrobats, drummers and storytellers. At dozens of food stands you can eat delicious and cheap Moroccan food.
The colorful souks (bazaars) invite you to stroll along, to feel, to see, to smell and to taste. Here you can buy wonderful decorations, fabrics, lamps, spices and much more. It is an incredible pleasure. Here you feel like being 200 years back…
Magnificent gardens and palaces
Wonderful palaces are an oasis for the senses. Here you can relax from the hustle and bustle in the souks. Let your soul ease in the gardens of Marrakesh. Doors and alleys remind you of an old time and offer endless photo opportunities.
On the Djemma el Fna and in the winding alleys of the souks many small cafes attract with Arab delicacies. Enjoying a thè á la menthe (peppermint tea) or a qahwua – a strong, but very delicious Arabic coffee – you can observe the colorful drive and indulge in your daydreams.
Moorish art in the medina of Marrakesh
There are endless masterpieces of Moorish architecture in the Red City Marrakesh, like the Bahia Palace, the grand Koutubiya Mosque, the Kasbah Mosque or the Madrasa Ben Youssef, a Koran School. With its elegant 77m high minaret, the Koutoubia Mosque is the symbol of the city and one of the oldest mosques in Morocco. The minaret was stylistic to many minarets and churches in North Africa and Spain, e.g. for the Hassan Tower in Rabat and the Giralda in Seville. The mosque was built from 1158 to 1162. Next to it are still the remains of the walls of a former mosque. The interior of the mosque is very sparsely decorated in order not to distract the faithful during prayer. There is room for about 20,000 believers.
Staying in a traditional riad
I recommend you staying in one of the authentic and lovely restored riads, which are old authentic houses converted into guest houses or hotels. Riads are mostly unspectacular from the outside, many don’t even have windows outside. The beauty of the riads is inside. Some are real treasures. That’s why I always stay in a riad when I am in Marrakesh and not in a holiday resort on the outskirts of the city.
The rooms are lovely decorated in Moroccan style. In the morning, a delicious breakfast with freshly squeezed orange juice, French toast, Arabic bread, homemade jam and fresh scrambled eggs is usually offered. Many riads even have a small pool that refreshes you when you return from your sightseeing tours in the afternoon. There are many small corners as a retreat, where you can relax wonderfully. Quite charming are the large roof terraces with views of the surrounding mosques and the medina. Enjoy…
For several years, I have traveled to Marrakesh regularly. Often, I cannot wait to travel to this red city to immerse myself in its colorful life. For me Marrakesh is truly a longing destination.