Marrakech is a city located in central Morocco that has a rich and fascinating history. It was founded in the 11th century by the Almoravid dynasty and quickly became a center of power and culture. The city was known for its beautiful palaces, lush gardens, and bustling markets, and it attracted scholars, artists, and travelers from all over the world.
In the 13th century, Marrakech became the capital of the powerful Marinid dynasty and underwent a period of great expansion and prosperity. During this time, many of the city's most famous landmarks, such as the Koutoubia Mosque and the Saadian tombs, were built. The city also became a hub of trade and commerce, with merchants from across the Mediterranean and Africa coming to buy and sell goods.
In the 16th century, Marrakech became a center of power for the Saadian dynasty, who built many of the city's most famous buildings and gardens. However, the city eventually fell into decline, and it was not until the 20th century that Marrakech began to experience a revival. Today, Marrakech is one of Morocco's most popular tourist destinations, attracting millions of visitors each year with its stunning architecture, vibrant markets, and rich cultural heritage.
Despite the many changes Marrakech has undergone throughout its history, it remains a city steeped in tradition, where the call to prayer echoes across the city's narrow streets, and the vibrant colors of the markets contrast with the ochre-hued walls of its ancient buildings.
A trip to Marrakech is like stepping into a wonderful fairy tale world. Here you can choose between several good hotels with nice pool areas and convenient facilities.
The fairytale city of Marrakech is one of the world's most fabled cities. With its red ring wall, exciting bazaar area, winding streets, and a square that breaks the world record for chaos, a trip to Marrakech is something to remember. But Marrakech is also a modern city with fine hotels, trendy fashion, and interior design shops as well as cozy lounge bars and restaurants that offer high quality and low prices.
Sights in Marrakech
The center of the city is the lively Djemaa el-Fna square, where storytellers, snake charmers, fortune tellers, dentists, writers, acrobats, and street musicians flock. This is also where many city dwellers go to eat a cheap dinner at one of the many food stalls that roll out when the sun goes down. Marrakech offers - in addition to examples of beautiful Moorish architecture - plenty of experiences, and from Djemaa el-Fna you can easily stroll to the most well-known sights within the city walls; The Koutoubia Minaret is a good landmark. You can easily find a local English-speaking private tour guide in Marrakech on our website www.pg.world.
The nearest beach is in Essaouira, almost 200 km from Marrakech. Just outside Marrakech, however, there are a few popular beach clubs with pools. One of them is Plage Rouge, which is 10 km from Marrakech on the way to the Ourika Valley. At Plage Rouge, there is a large, outdoor pool with an associated sandy beach, sunbeds, a bar, and a restaurant. Sunset Club and Nikki Beach in La Palmeraie (the palm oasis on the way to Casablanca) are also popular beach clubs. However, the clubs may be closed during the winter months.
The Oasiria water park is North Africa's largest, and here there are pools with waves, several different restaurants, and a cozy green area. All major hotels in Marrakech have large pool areas and beautiful green areas. However, the temperature of the water can vary depending on the season.
At the grand bazaar in Marrakech, you can buy everything between heaven and earth, and it is a true paradise for those looking for clothes, bags, hand-knotted carpets, puffs, slippers, kaftans, wood carvings, ceramics, silver, brass - and copper objects, spices, furniture textiles, and henna-colored lamps.
Marrakech is a city rich in culture and tradition, reflecting its long and fascinating history. The city has a unique blend of Berber, African, and Islamic influences, and its vibrant cultural heritage is on full display in its bustling markets, stunning mosques, and traditional palaces.
One of the most iconic symbols of Marrakech's cultural heritage is its vibrant markets, known as souks. These colorful markets are filled with a variety of goods, from spices and textiles to jewelry and pottery, and they offer a glimpse into the city's rich history of trade and commerce. The souks are also a hub of social activity, with vendors and shoppers alike coming together to haggle, chat, and enjoy the sights and sounds of the city.
Another important aspect of Marrakech's culture is its religious heritage. The city is home to many stunning mosques, including the Koutoubia Mosque, which is the largest mosque in Marrakech and one of the largest in North Africa. The city is also known for its many traditional palaces and riads, which are often decorated with intricate carvings, tiled mosaics, and beautiful gardens.
Marrakech is also renowned for its rich musical heritage, with traditional Moroccan music playing an important role in the city's cultural life. The city is home to many musicians and performers, and traditional music can be heard in its markets, parks, and cafes.
In addition to its rich cultural heritage, Marrakech is also known for its vibrant and energetic nightlife, with many restaurants, bars, and nightclubs staying open late into the night. With its mix of modern and traditional elements, Marrakech offers visitors a unique and unforgettable cultural experience, filled with history, art, music, and food.
On the outskirts of Marrakech are the large, modern department store Marjane, where you can e.g. can buy Moroccan wine and beer. The modern department store Aswak Assalam is located in the medina at Bab Doukkala, close to the bus station.
Finally, be sure to make your way past the market hall in the Mellah quarter. It is a true feast for the eyes and minds to explore here. Here you can get fresh fruit and vegetables, flowers, and everything you might need for the household. You can find the market hall on Avenue Houmane El-Fetouaki in Mellah close to Place des Ferblantiers.
On Boulevard Mohamed V, jewelry, shawls, and scarves are sold at good prices for both young and old.
Avenue Mohamed V
Here you will find both large and small shops, several international clothing chains, and many other shops with clothes and textiles. There are also several interesting galleries here.
Morocco, with Marrakech as its starting point, has become more and more popular among hikers. The best thing is to take part in an organized walking tour with a local English-speaking private tour guide, where the support is often transported on donkeys in the Atlas Mountains - or camels if the trekking goes south to the Sahara. Trekking trips of different lengths and durations are offered, and some are combined with mountain biking or rowing. The most popular hike is to climb North Africa's highest mountain, Jebel Toubkal, which is located in the High Atlas at 4167 meters.
All major hotels have tennis courts. You can also play tennis with or without an instructor at the Royal Tennis Club de Marrakech.
Marrakech has many exciting sights, including these:
The Medina with the souk
Finally, be sure to visit one of Morocco's most fascinating markets, home to over 10,000 different stalls. Here you can buy handicrafts from all over Morocco and take a stroll through the winding lanes that lead you to the streets of the artisans: the street of the wool workers, the street of the rail workers, etc. Here you can visit the souk Smarine, where bridles, djellaba, and clothes are sold, souk El Fekharine which sells Moroccan ceramics, and souk Zarbia where thousands of Moroccan rugs are sold.
Next to the Mouassine fountain is the street of the wool workers and at the souk Chouari you will find everything you can think of that is made of wood. In souk Smata you can buy babouches, in souk Cherratine you will find the coppersmiths and at souk Haddadine, you will find the blacksmiths. In the entire area around the souk, there are homes that house half of the city's one million inhabitants. It's like a city within a city, with each derp (neighborhood) having its own mosque and hammam. Medina is Arabic for the city, and it includes everything within the ring wall - just as it has since the Almoravid dynasty built the wall in the 11th century.
Place Jemaa el-Fna
The name actually means "square of the dead", or "place of the eternities". Public executions were carried out here right up to the beginning of the 20th century. It was also here that the caravans packed their cargo before they left. Today, the square is teeming with snake charmers, fortune tellers, poets, storytellers, and many other quirky characters - as if taken out of a book. In the evenings, the square is transformed into one large restaurant. Improvised kitchen trolleys come rolling in from all sides. The smell of fire, hot barbecue coals, and spices quickly spread over the entire area. In other words, Place Jemaa el-Fna is a meeting point for all the city's inhabitants, and here the storytellers can only tell the same stories that have been told for hundreds of years. The square has been on UNESCO's World Heritage List since 2001.
Marrakech's trademark is undoubtedly the 77-meter-high and beautiful minaret from the 12th century, which is visible all the way down from Djemaa el-Fna. The minaret was built by one of the greatest sultans of the Almohades dynasty, Yacoub el Monsour. Many equate the Koutoubia Mosque with the Alhambra and the Great Mosque of Cordoba. Only Muslims are welcome in the mosque.
The ring wall
The ring wall is a formidable defensive structure, with a height of between five and nine meters encircling the entire old medina. It was built at the beginning of the 12th century and is a total of 12 km long. The width is between one and a half and three meters, and the wall has nine different gates with names such as Bab Agnaou (the ram without horns), Bab Er Robb (the gate of the grapes - as only alcoholic beverages had to be transported through this gate), and Bab El Khemis which leads into the souk of the same name. Bab El Jdid and Bab Doukkala face the northern part of the medina.
Ali ben Youssef Mosque
The Ali ben Youssef Mosque is the largest mosque within the ring wall. It was built at the end of the 13th century but was rebuilt in the 19th century. The Koran school Medersa Ben Youssef is right next to the mosque. Only Muslims are welcome in the mosque.
The Mellah quarter
In the 16th century, the Saadier dynasty decided that the Mellah quarter should be the Jewish quarter since many Jews fled here via Spain and Andalusia. Mellah means salt, and many Jews were salt and sugar merchants - hence the name. The neighborhood's population of Jews is not that big anymore, as a large part fled to Israel and France in the late 1920s.
On the northeast side of the medina, at Bab el Sebbagh, are the tanneries. Here, animal skins are tanned in the same way as it has been done since the Middle Ages.
The new city, Gueliz, was built by General Lyautey during the French protectorate. The main street, Avenue Mohamed V, is three kilometers long and stretches all the way to the medina. There are lots of international restaurants, cafes, and shops here.
Jardin Majorelle is a garden located in Marrakech, Morocco, and is considered one of the city's most popular tourist attractions. The garden was created by French artist and designer Jacques Majorelle over a period of forty years, starting in 1923. The garden features a striking blue and white color scheme, inspired by Majorelle's time spent in Morocco and the colors of the Mediterranean.
The garden also includes a number of interesting architectural elements, such as a large central pool, pergolas, and a museum dedicated to Berber culture. Jardin Majorelle is known for its unique and visually stunning architecture, which blends elements of Art Deco and Islamic design.
Some of the most notable architectural elements of the garden include:
- Blue and white color scheme: The garden's most recognizable feature is its use of a vibrant shade of blue, known as "Majorelle Blue", which is used throughout the garden on the buildings, walls, and railings. The blue provides a striking contrast to the garden's lush green vegetation and serves as a backdrop to the numerous plants and flowers.
- Central Pool: A large central pool, surrounded by palm trees and bamboo, is the garden's centerpiece and provides a peaceful oasis in the heart of Marrakech.
- Pergolas: The garden features a number of pergolas, which are covered walkways or seating areas, and serve as both functional elements and decorative features. They provide shade and protection from the sun and also offer a great place to relax and take in the garden's beauty.
- Museum: The museum dedicated to Berber culture, located within the garden, is housed in a building that was originally used as Majorelle's studio. The museum features a collection of artifacts and artwork related to Berber culture, including textiles, jewelry, and pottery.
Jardin Majorelle's architecture and design elements come together to create a peaceful and enchanting atmosphere that provides visitors with a memorable and enjoyable experience. In 1980, the fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé purchased Jardin Majorelle and worked to restore it to its original beauty. The couple used the property as a retreat from their busy lives and a place to escape the cold Parisian winters. Yves Saint Laurent was particularly drawn to the garden's lush vegetation and bright blue buildings, which he found to be a source of inspiration for his work.
In addition to using the property as a home, Saint Laurent and Bergé also worked to restore the garden to its original beauty. They added new plants and trees, restored the buildings and walkways, and worked to preserve the garden's unique architecture and design elements. The garden remains a testament to their love and commitment to preserving this beautiful and historic site.
The interiors of the buildings in Jardin Majorelle were primarily designed and decorated by Jacques Majorelle, who was a talented and innovative artist who combined elements of Art Deco and traditional Moroccan design to create a unique and visually stunning style.
The furniture in the buildings is a mix of antique pieces and custom designs created specifically for the garden. Many of the pieces were collected by Saint Laurent and Bergé on their travels and reflect their love of Moroccan culture and design. The furniture is characterized by its clean lines, simple shapes, and use of natural materials such as wood, wrought iron, and hand-woven textiles. Overall, the interiors of Jardin Majorelle are a testament to the creativity, vision, and passion of the artists and designers who created them.
Jardin Majorelle is currently owned by the Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent, a foundation established by Pierre Bergé after Yves Saint Laurent's death in 2008. The foundation's mission is to preserve and promote the work of Yves Saint Laurent, and it continues to maintain Jardin Majorelle as a public garden and cultural destination. The foundation has also expanded the garden's facilities to include a research center, library, and an expanded museum dedicated to Berber culture.
The Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent works closely with local authorities in Marrakech to ensure that the garden is preserved for future generations and remains a significant cultural and tourist destination. Today, Jardin Majorelle continues to be a popular tourist attraction, attracting visitors from around the world who are drawn to its unique beauty and rich history.
In the Berber language, Jardin Majorelle has an interesting spelling: ⵓⵔⵜⵉ ⵎⴰⵊⵓⵔⵉⵍ. Today, Jardin Majorelle is open to the public, and the garden and museums are accessible to disabled persons. We strongly recommend purchasing tickets online.
The Jardin Majorelle is open every day
8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The last entry is at 5:30 p.m.
The Pierre Bergé Museum of Berber Arts is open every day
8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The last entry is at 5 p.m.
Jardin Menara was built as a water reserve in the 13th century. The pool is in the middle of a large olive grove, and on one side there is a beautiful pavilion built by a sultan. It is said that when the Sultan had spent the night here with one of his harem ladies, he pushed her into the water at sunrise. Then you just have to hope she can swim... The view of the snow-capped mountain peaks is magnificent in the winter months.
Jardin de l'Agdal
Visit the Jardin de l'Agdal garden from the 12th century, located by the royal palace Dar el Makhzen, which was created to provide shade so that you could hide from the desert heat. In the garden, there are olive, fig, apricot, and citrus trees, and to this day they still get water from the canals that were built in the 12th century. There are also two ponds with koi carp and small pavilions along the shore. The garden is open to the public on Friday afternoons and Sundays.
Jardin El Harti
In Gueliz is this green oasis of trees and flowers. Here there is a rose garden, olive trees, large palm trees, and a cactus plantation. There is also a playground for children, as well as lots of benches where you can sit and enjoy the birdsong.
Right in the center of Marrakech, a few hundred meters from Djemaa el-Fna on the main street Mohamed V is this eight-hectare park. The park originally dates from the 18th century but is today very modern with facilities such as free Wi-Fi in certain areas. There are also over 200 palm trees and 650 orange trees.
La Palmeraie de Marrakech
The Palm Forest in Marrakech stretches over an area of 13,000 hectares and is home to more than 150,000 palm trees. Here you can take a walk on the 22 km-long road, which winds past the palm trees. It was Youssef Ben Tachfine, the founder of Marrakech, who built an irrigation system inspired by Persia. The irrigation system is designed so that it takes into account both rainwater and excess water from the wells. The palm trees still receive water from this irrigation system to this day. However, many of the palms have disappeared due to the drought of recent years and plant disease that causes the palms to dry out. And for these reasons, the city of Marrakech has given permission to build private villas and hotels in the forest, which has otherwise been prohibited.
The palace was built in the late 19th century by the son of Vizier Ba Ahmed Si Moussa as a gift to his father. Bahia means "the radiant one" and the name derives from the vizier's favorite wife of the same name. Only the country's best craftsmen were allowed to participate in the work on the palace. Today you can see the entrance, conference room, harem, and the vizier's private halls. The entire palace is built with only one floor since the vizier was too overweight to climb stairs. It was also here that General Lyautey lived during the French protectorate. Today, there is no furniture left in the palace, but you can easily imagine what it looked like. The palace is a total of eight hectares, but only part of it is open to the public, as the royal family still lives in the other half to this day.
Dar Si Said
A short distance from Bahia Palace is Dar si Said, which was built in the same period and style as Bahia. The palace was built by Vizier Ba Ahmed's brother. Today there are exhibitions of Berber-style jewelry, kitchen utensils, furniture, and ceramics.
Between Bahia and Dar si Said palace is this riad owned by Bert Flint, a Dutchman who has lived in Marrakech for 40 years. Dar Tiskiwin is a beautiful little riad with stucco decorations, mosaics, and interior gardens. There is also an exciting Moroccan exhibition as well as crafts from all over the country with everything that is special and distinctive for each and every town and landscape.
Medersa Ben Youssef
Visit the old Koran school located inside the medina. It was built in the 16th century by the Saadier dynasty. Students from all over the country made a pilgrimage here to study the Koran. The building is incredibly finely constructed with cedar wood from the Atlas Mountains, marble from Carrara in Italy, and several different structures. Take a look inside some of the 132 rooms on the second floor that the students lived in. The school housed 300-1000 students and studies took six years. The school was open until 1962.
Koubba Ba´adiyn is an incredibly beautiful building with fine arabesques. It was built at the beginning of the 13th century and is the last building from the time of the Almoravid dynasty. Here the Muslims had the opportunity to wash before visiting the mosque. You can also see one of the original cisterns, which contain water from the Atlas Mountains.
Museum of Marrakech
The Musée de Marrakech was originally a private palace built by Mehdi Mnebhi, who was Minister of Defense for Vizier Moulay Abdelaziz in the early 1900s. There is a beautiful garden inside the house, which is worth a visit. Also take a look at the house's hammam, the many Moroccan paintings on the walls, and the exhibition of Berber jewelry and an old Koran. The museum is located right next to the Koran school on Place Ben Youssef.
El Badi Palace
El Badi Palace was built by Sultan Ahmed El Mansour in the late 16th century. The Sultan employed craftsmen from North Africa, France, Italy, Spain, and India. He traded sugar for marble from Carrara. This marble was later used to build and decorate the palace. It took all of 25 years to build the palace, and despite the fact that today it is a ruin, it is still worth a visit. The palace consisted of 350 rooms with names such as The Crystal Hall, the Gold Hall, the Turquoise Hall, and the Hall of the 50 Columns. The palace even had an inner garden with an associated lake. Everything was built in cedar, ivory, silver, ebony, marble, and crystal. The palace also contained a kitchen, small attached houses, a hammam, and even a prison. Sultan Moulay Ismael later moved the palace to Meknes, and today only the ruins remain. But if you use your imagination, you can almost hear the music from the parties and see the palace in front of you. Every year in July, a folklore festival is held.
The Saadier Tombs
The Saadier tombs are relics from the time of the Saadier dynasty, which ruled Morocco in the 16th century. The architecture is a fantastic example of Moorish/Andalusian art. Here is a mausoleum that was built by Ahmed el Monsour as a memorial to his mother. In the first two halls rest Saaider sultans with their sons. This is also where Ahmed el Monsour himself is buried. Everything is built in cedar wood, and marble from Carrara in Italy and decorated with stucco decorations. On the third floor rest Ahmed el Monsour's mother as well as subsequent sultans and their wives. In the garden, there are graves for the soldiers and important people who were close to the Saadi. Moulay Ismael did not dare to destroy or move the tombs, as he did with the El Babi Palace. The Saadier tombs were considered to be sacred places. Moulay Ismael, therefore, chose to build a wall around the graves, which had only one entrance, which was through the nearby mosque. Over time, the graves were forgotten, and it was not until 1917 that the French rediscovered them. Today, a separate entrance, which does not go through the mosque, has been built for those who are not devout Muslims.
Weather and climate
When is the best weather in Morocco?
In general, it is hot and dry in Morocco, but the climate changes in the hilly landscape. Here are both snow-covered mountain peaks and desert heat.
Marrakech has an inland climate with very hot summers and relatively cool winters. From May to October, the average temperature is 27-37 degrees per day. During the winter season, which is from November to March, it is usually nice and warm here during the day with a temperature of around 17-22 degrees, but at night the temperature can drop to 6-9 degrees. If you plan to travel up into the Atlas Mountains in winter, you should bring good shoes, as snow does occur.
Read our previous article Discovering the Majestic Charm of Morocco
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I was in Morocco and I agree that the country is lovely, friendly, and not very expensive but at the same time, it is not a poor country at all. But for me and my husband, most favorite place is Jardin Majorelle! This is an absolutely different energy and ambiance. I think I can spend all my vacation there!