Marrakesh – The Brilliant “Red City” Of Morocco
Have you ever visited a city with red sandstone buildings in the old town, lavish palaces, and attractive flea markets? Welcome to Marrakesh! Indeed, it’s one of the most well-known tourist cities in Morocco.
If you plan to travel to Marrakesh, or Marrakech, let’s follow me to go through this blog. Certainly, you will have great ideas for your trip to this famous city.
History of the “Red City”
Marrakesh is located in the north of the snow-covered Atlas Mountains. In 1062, Abu Bakr Ibn Umar founded the city and became its first ruler. Thereafter, Marrakesh flourished as the royal city of Morocco. During this period, the structures were built according to the Tabia method – a combination of water and red mud in the Hazou plain, which made Marrakesh known as the “Red City”.
However, epidemics and civil wars engulfed Marrakesh. As a result, Fes surpassed the red city in the 13th century. Until the 16th century, the Saadi dynasty restored the ruined ruins of the city and built many palaces and temples. Therefore, visitors can realize the unique phenomenon of cultural interference between North Africa, Berber (the first inhabitants), Arab and French in the streets, people, and architecture here. All together is creating a unique separated style for the “Red City” today.
For nearly 1,000 years, Jemaa el-Fna square has been the heart and soul of Marrakesh. This site reflects the lives of locals from many social, religious, and ethnic backgrounds. The morning begins with the appearance of an orange juice vendor. There is somewhere the sound of an old man playing the flute to control a snake or train a monkey to entertain the crowd. As the sun sets, Gnaoua dancers prepare for their performance and storytellers orally narrate Morocco’s legacy…
Things to Do in Marrakesh
Wandering around Medina of Marrakech
Travelers seem to be lost in the land of ‘one thousand and one nights’ when visiting the stalls in the old town called Medina. The goods on sale here are very diverse. These include colorful spices, Tagine ceramic vases, handmade carpets, leather goods (wallets, belts, bags), or Islamic clothing such as Abayas (robes) and Balgha (Morocco sandals)… In addition, visitors can admire the beautiful Moorish design doorways while walking on the winding street. In 1985, Medina of Marrakesh was recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site.
Visiting Majorelle Garden
French painter Jacques Majorelle spent 40 years designing and building the Majorelle Botanical Garden. The green garden covers an area of about 1 hectare, with the highlights of buildings, fountains, swimming pools, and beautiful cobalt blue marble path. Visitors can’t help but enjoy watching exotic plants including water lilies, palm trees, cacti, bananas, etc., or listening to the song of nightingales. Currently, the Majorelle Garden is a popular tourist attraction in Marrakesh.
Exploring Kutubiyya Mosque
Kutubiyya, or Koutoubia, is the largest mosque in Marrakesh. It was built in the 12th century. The name of this building in Arabic means ‘Bookseller’s Mosque’. Thus, when coming here, visitors can come across hundreds of booksellers at the entrance to Koutoubia. With its simple design, elaborate decoration, and perfect proportions, it is one of the most beautiful monuments of the Maghreb. Besides that, Koutoubia is the only building taller than the palm trees in Marrakesh.
Being Amazed with Bahia Palace
The ups and downs of history still do not detract from the splendor of the Bahia Palace. The project has an area of about 8 hectares including a garden, courtyard, and 150 rooms. Especially, the harem is decorated with stained glass windows, woven silk, marble floors, and Zellige tile mosaics, etc. Bahia Palace is a symbol of Andalusian and Moorish architecture in Morocco.
Tasting the Finest Foods
In addition to palaces and temples, the “Red City” is also famous for its delicious dishes including Tafernout (bread baked in a clay oven), Harira (soup with lots of meat and rich spices), Tanjia Marrakchia (beef, lamb, and spices slow-cooked in a traditional oven) or Zaalouk (dry roasted eggplant, fried with garlic, paprika, cumin),…
Where to Stay in Marrakesh, Morocco
The “Red City” has plenty choices of accommodations for you to choose from. Of course, it’s not hard to find a beautiful hotel, which goes with many services, at a high price in this city. Nevertheless, if want plan to spend less time in the hotel, and more time out of the door exploring Marrakesh, here are good deals of hotels in the city that you may want to know:
It’s great if you have a chance to wander around Morocco land. It’s even better if you are able to check-in to Marrakesh and explore its history and heritage. Yes, no one is able to deny days living in the fairy tales of “one thousand and one nights”.
Finally, I hope this article is useful and gives you a view of Marrakesh. Enjoy, and have a great trip to the “Red City”!
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