Marrakech is the third largest city in Morocco after Casablanca and Rabat and is located in the west of Morocco at the foot of the High Atlas Mountains. Like almost every Moroccan city, Marrakech includes both an old city called the Medina and a modern one called Gueliz. Marrakech is considered one of the most popular travel destinations in Morocco, with two cities — the old medina, as the ancient walled Arab metropolis is called, and Guéliz, the name given to the part of town created by the French in 1913.
Surrounded by a vast palm grove, the medina in Marrakech is called the “red city” because of the rose hue of its buildings and ramparts of beaten clay, which were built during the residence of the Almohads during the 1100’s. As your aeroplane begins to descend into Marrakech, you’ll notice a heavy dusting of reddish-pink earth across the land below. The view is striking if not a bit eerie.
The city’s inviting pink walls, alleys and palaces have, over time, provided a calm and restive centre for both tourists and residents. A thriving and pulsating traditional undertone holds the city together, despite the onslaught of thousands of tourists month after month.
Marrakech always stays true to itself as well as its culture. In terms of their mannerisms and attire, the people of Marrakech have held onto and preserved yesteryear despite rapid modernization around the city. You’ll find Marrakech a breath of fresh air compared to our fast-paced world of technology.
Intricate designs on alluring wares, reminiscent of a bygone era, still line the narrow alleyways as shopkeepers shout out to tourists who lose themselves to the rose-tinted hues of the city. And yes, it’s terribly easy to be lost in the Medina of Marrakech.
The story of this mystical city unfolds down the narrow alleys that one can only walk through. Expect to feel wonderfully lost while you meander through the confusing curves while at the same time distracted by a kaleidoscope of treasures, chattering voices and the authentic display of everyday Marrakech life. If you do get lost, don’t panic. Keep meandering until you find your footing.
The pink city, or “Al Hamra” in the local dialect, tantalizes its visitors with a tantalizing mix of casual high culture and the genuine rural earthiness of the villages. I always say Marrakech has one foot in the twenty-first century and one foot in the past. Even in Marrakech, it is not uncommon to see a sleek BMW cruising down the road with a donkey pulled cart trailing behind.
The convergence of perhaps the most exotic cultures in the world exist right here in this dusty red city. Arabian, African, and European influences are found in the streets and the city’s charming people. The energy of Marrakech will energize your senses and remind you why you love to travel.
Marrakech is like the ever-shifting sands of the Sahara Desert – there is an array of culture, tradition and strong beliefs that mix together to successfully mesmerize every visitor.
This is a city of mysticism, romance, theatricals and even modern-day royalty. Marrakech gives you a glimpse of a life that can be enjoyed simply with a few moments of flare; a world apart from our own realities of life.
To derive a definitive list of reasons to visit Marrakech is nearly impossible. This electric city will touch all your senses and for different reasons. I’ve visited Marrakech numerous times. When I close my eyes now, these particular elements are ones I love about Marrakech :
-Exploring the Medina and Getting Lost
-Treasure Hunting in the Souks
-The Sights of Everyday Marrakech Life
-Jamaa El Fna at Night into the Wee Hours of the Morning
-Exploring the Intricate Designs of the Doors in the Medina
-Ben Youssef Madrasa and its Amazing Colours and Tile Designs
-Walking Through History at Almost Every Turn in the Medina
-A Solemn Stroll Through the Saadian Tombs and Envisioning a Bygone Era
Map of Marrakech