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Where is Marrakesh, Morocco located?
Marrakesh, also called Marrakech, is located west of Morocco, close to the Atlas Mountains and benefiting from this fertile location. Marrakesh is 327 km southwest of the capital, Rabat. It is the first of the four Morocco's imperial cities. The buildings of beaten clay built during the Almohads reign granted the city the title of "red city".
What is Marrakesh's story?
The city was founded in 1062 as the capital of the Almoravid Empire, but the Almohads took control of it in 1147 followed by the Maribids in 1269, who transferred the capital to Fez.
Marrakesh came back to be capital and passed through a positive period in which it flourished during the 16th century. But the succeeding Alawite rulers preferred to reside in Meknes and Fez. Finally, between 1912 and 1956 the city was under the French protectorate and remained administrated by the Glaoui family.
Djemaa El Fna: right at the entry of the medina, this big square is a vibrant hub where you will have the real feel of Moroccan spirit. Among the many stalls, you will see storytellers, snake charmers, musicians, and plenty of cafes and restaurants that can give you a good overview of this place from their rooftops.
Wonder around the medina souks: Marrakesh's old city district definitely is an attraction in itself, so much that the Marrakesh's medina was designated a UNESCO Worldwide Site. Enjoy it and don't be afraid of getting lost in the maze, in fact this is part of the experience. The narrow streets and alleyways hide a lot of shopping opportunities and colourful gem spots to be discovered by visitors.
Koutoubia Mosque: This monument's 70-meter-tall minaret can be seen from far away in every direction, and reinforces why this is the city's most famous landmark. The mosque is a symbol of the Almohad's architecture heritage and was built in 1162. Unfortunately non-Muslim visitors cannot enter.
Madrasa Ben Youssef: This school was built in 1565 and is the largest theological college in the country. The courtyard impresses by its beauty and definitely puts the building amongst the most beautiful in Morocco
Saadian Tombs: This stunning burial building is the resting place of many members of the Saadian Dinasty. The Saadian ruled the city between 1524 and 1668.
Bahia Palace: Built in the 19th century, this magnificent palace was home of the grand vizier who served Sultam Moulay al-Hassan I: Bou Ahmed. The interior is gorgeous, with beautiful tiles and decorated ceilings. The highlights of the place are the internal courtyard and the harem area.
Dar Si Said Museum of Moroccan Arts and Crafts: This place offers a great overview to those interested in history of art and crafts. The museum is located in a beautiful old palace and contains collections of marbles, pottery artefacts, Berber silver jewellery, Moroccan carpets and even doors & window frames.
Marrakesh Museum: Although the museum displays an interesting collection of Islamic inscriptions, textiles, ceramics and even contemporary art, most visitors are curious about the building itself, called Dar Me'Nebhi, a construction from the early 20th century. The architecture is a nice combination of Portuguese and North African elements.
El Badi Palace: This ruined palace still is a popular attraction amongst tourists. It was built in the XVI century, ordered by Sultan Ahmad al-Mansur.
The tanneries in Marrakesh: Tanneries are an attraction in Morocco, and even though Fez's are more famous, Marrakesh's provide a great spot for nice pictures and views. The best time to go is in the morning.
Almoravid Koubba: Also called Koubba Ba'adiyn. This is the city's oldest monument. It was built in the 12th century and was one of the few buildings that survived when the Almohad caliphate destroyed any trace of Almoravid influences. The building has a simple architecture and most probably it served as the ablution house of a mosque.
Marojelle Gardens: Here is one of the most colourful places in Marrakesh. The garden is the work of French painter Jacques Marojelle, that fulfilled it with palms and cacti, as the vibrant blue painted studio where he lived in. Yves Saint Laurent bought the property and upon his death his ashes were scattered there.
Mellah: It is the Jewish quarter in Marrakesh, established in the XVI century.
Manara Gardens: When you need a break from all the tours and want to relax for some time, this is the right place. Locals consider it a great spot because it is very peaceful. The gardens were built in the XIX century and they was exclusive for royals.
Is it worth to visit Marrakesh?
Most travellers will say 'yes'. Marrakesh is a colourful and vibrant place and ranked as one of the best to visit in Morocco according to visitors. The locals are known for being friendly and the city is considered cheap in comparison to other Moroccan cities, such as Casablanca. If you are planning to visit Morocco, you can't miss Marrakesh.