The Royal city of Marrakech combines both modern and old within its fortified walls. It is a beautiful city that has the Atlas Mountains as a backdrop and the coastal plains in the distance. It has been a main area of trade for Morocco for many centuries and continues to impress visitors with its spectacular displays of Moroccan culture and entertainment. It has been in the hands of one or two dynasties over the past few centuries, and spent many years under French occupation, however, Morocco has always been true to its traditions and culture and remains so to this day.
Discovered during medieval times Marrakech spent time under the rule of the Almoravid dynasty who were its founders, and then then later under both the Almohad and Saadian dynasties. All the while it increased its power as a major trading area never losing its traditional ways. It lost its capital status twice, once to Fez and a second time to Rabat who still holds that title today. It combines both old and new with Guéliz attracting the younger Moroccans with its hotels, restaurants, and nightclubs, and the older Medina with its windings streets, captivating souqs and awe inspiring public square of Djemmaa el Fna.
The public square is well worth spending time in, it covers at least 3 football fields in size and you will see a dazzling display of Moroccan culture here. Here you will find snake charmers, animal sellers, musicians, craftsmen, acrobats, and monkey handlers. There are food stalls where you can have a light snack and there is plenty to see and hear as you stroll through the bustling square. Through the centuries Djemaa el-Fna has been both a parade ground and an area of public execution. There are many souqs to walk through in the medina and they are well worth a visit selling anything from spices to ceramic work. The windings and narrow streets would be easy to get lost in, but they are well worth exploration.
The palaces are very impressive in Marrakech, no small wonder then that this is a royal city, the Bahia palace is one of the most visually stunning of them all. Built in the latter part of the 19th century it was home to a royal advisor, Bou Ahmed who lived with his entourage of many wives, children and mistresses. All the rooms are ornately decorated in keeping with Moroccan palaces and will certainly leave a lasting impression.
The Saadian Tombs lie to the west of the many palaces in Marrakech and they are home to some of the most important members of the Saadian dynasty. Split into two mausoleums, they house the most important members of the dynasty as well as the lesser administration. The Saadian tombs were lost from the world for many years before being accidentally discovered and they have now been restored to their former glory and are open to visitors.
The Dar Si Said Museum will leave a lasting impression with its beautiful exhibitions. Here you will find some amazing works of Moroccan art, ranging from clothes, wood carvings, metals and ceramics. This museum, however, specialises in wood and there are many different examples here from intricately carved wooden doors that have been brought in from other houses in the city, to their own doors and ceilings which are equally impressive. Moroccan woods used include almond, cedar, and poplar which are common to Morocco, and this is an excellent example of Moroccan craftwork at its best utilizing the natural materials around them.
Marrakech has adapted over the centuries to combine the more modern elements of a cosmopolitan city, without losing its culture and traditions that Morocco is famous for. This famous city is a wealth of history and tradition and there is plenty to see and do here, from watching the lively entertainment of Djemaa el-Fna to the elegant palaces and quiet majesty of the tombs. It is a city that leaves you with some memorable experiences never to be forgotten.