From any approach, the first sight of Marrakech is of the minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque, which dominates the skyline and is a handy reference point for lost travellers. Marrakech’s tallest building dates from the 12th century and is the prototype for Moroccan design, with each facade and archway on the square minaret carved with a different architectural flourish. Originally, it was covered in plaster with each tier decoratively painted, but a 1990s restoration opted to leave the stonework exposed. The architecture can be admired at close quarters from the recently renovated gardens, where you can glimpse the foundations of an 11th-century Almoravid mosque demolished because it was not correctly aligned with Mecca.
The 19th-century Bahia Palace still functions as a royal residence where the king entertains, but dozens of rooms are open to the public to see how the royals lived, including the former residence of the Grand Vizier’s four wives and his royal harem of 24 concubines. These rooms are decked out floor to ceiling with an eye-popping combination of stuccowork, mosaics and intricately carved and painted woodwork.
Address: Central Souqs, Marrakech, Morocco, MA
‘Souks’ are traditional North African markets and Marrakech is awash with them. At the city’s lively souks you can pick up anything from fine leather goods and hammocks to souvenirs and food. The market next to Place Jema El Fna is one of the best in town, where everything and anything is on sale, but you must bargain hard. The attractions and excited locals found within the souks are not to be missed.
Djemaa El Fna (Jemaa-el-Fna) Square
Address: Djemaa El Fna, Marrakech, Morocco, MA
Djemaa El Fna is a buzzing square in the heart of Marrakech and comes alive at night. This is central the main tourist attraction in the Old City (Medina Quarter) and is surrounded by appealing places of interest, such as hotels, gardens and market traders. Hawker stalls sell food and drink (mainly orange juice) during the day, while at night the place throngs with entertainers of every ilk, from musicians and dancers to acrobats and snake charmers. As the evening arrives, crowds begin to arrive here.
Address: Marrakech, Morocco, MA
Tel: +212 024 389 192
One of Marrakech’s creepier attractions, the Saadian Tombs are perhaps not suitable for younger kids. There are over 100 graves here, many of which are decorated with elaborate mosaics, while the building itself is stunning and held up by innumerable pillars. Dozens of the Saadian royal family are buried here, with the Saadian Tombs dating as far back as the late 16th century and only actually discovered as recently as 1917.
Address: Marrakech, Morocco, MA
If you need to escape the din and chaos of the markets and traffic of Marrakech, head for the beautiful Majorelle Garden. These tranquil gardens were the brainchild of French painter, Louis Majorelle, and were set out in 1924. They feature innumerable attractive plants and trees, as well as several tranquil ponds.
14, Derb J’did – Hay Essalam
Leaning on the Ferblantiers place of Marrakech, le Tanjia is a place where East meets West with a fabulous chemistry. This palace offers a sober and elegant décor in a subdued ambiance where you can appreciate its traditional music group accompanied by Oriental dancers. The menu offers a inventive moroccan cuisine and a few foreign dishes. The terrace offers an exceptional view over Marrakech.