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A medieval city of drama, myth and mystery, Marrakech will captivate all who venture behind its ochre-coloured walls. Step inside and you will be transported back to a place and time that has been consigned to the annals of history. The winding alleys of the medina and the sights, sounds and smells of the souks, the human drama that is Djemaa el-Fna square and the Atlas Mountains rearing up in the background, make Marakech Morocco’s crown jewel.
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Do and see
The city divides into two highly contrasting districts. The medina, founded by the Almoravids nearly 1000 years ago, and the Ville Nouvelle, a French colonial modernist project from the early 20th century. It is the medina, and its central square Djemaa el-Fna, that will undoubtedly fire the imagination.
El Badi Palace
El Badi Palace was built in the 16th century and reputed to have been one of the most beautiful palaces in the world. Originally there it had 360 rooms, a grand court yard and a pool which was 90 m x 20 m.
Saadian Tombs
The Royal tombs of the Saadian dynasty are beautifully adorned with domed ceilings, intricate carvings and ornate plasterwork. This is a popular sight in Marrakech, so prepare to stand in line when going there.
Menara Gardens
built in the 12th century, the Menara Gardens have a wonderfully tranquil location set amidst olive groves and with the backdrop of the Atlas Mountains.
The Souks
This labyrinth-like market is a place to wander around and let your senses be assaulted by the sights, smells and sounds. Prepare to bargain if you feel like shopping.
City Walls
The 12 km long city Wall of Marrakech was mostly built for the looks than for the purpose of defence. Today it is a perfect place to enjoy a romantic moment with your loved one. There are caleches (horse drawn carts) for tours of the Medina and the city’s ramparts and these tours are best at dusk.
A visit to a bath-house or hammam is a must, to wash away the stress and strains of daily life. Enjoy the luxury of getting washed with black olive soap, having hair treatments and being washed clean with exfoliating gloves.
Koutoubia Mosque and Minaret
The Koutoubia Mosque and the Minaret was built in 1120 and standing at 70m, it is the spiritual landmark of Marrakech. Unfortunately, non-Muslims cannot enter but the building itself is impressive to see from the outside too.
Djemaa El-fna
Djemaa El-fna is a square and market place in the pulsing heart of the medina. This is where Marakshi life is at its most colourful and vibrant, particularly when dusk falls on another balmy day. Vendors sell freshly squeezed fruit juices, and as the night progresses eateries appear out of (what seems like) thin air.
Menara Airport is located 6 km from Marrakech. Bus number 19 runs to Djemaa el-Fna every 20 minutes during the week and less frequently during weekends and public holidays. The journey takes approximately 30 minutes. A taxi for maximum 5 people plus baggage from the airport to the city centre takes about 20 minutes. Agree on the price before taking off.
Public Transport
The main bus station is located at Bab Doukkala. From here buses to different cities around Morocco leave, but you also find local buses here. Almost all buses stop at Djemaa El-Fna and Place Youssef Ben Tachfine and tickets costs from Dh 2 - 5 depending on the distance.
Taxi is the favoured method of transport around Marrakech. There are small taxis (petits taxis) which can take up to three passengers. For destinations further afield there are large taxis (grands taxis). Prices are reasonable but should be agreed in advance.
You can buy stamps in several shops around the medina and also in some of the most luxurious hotels. The main Post Office in the city is located at:
You don't have to go far to find a pharmacy since there are a lot of them in the city, particularly in the area of avenue Mohammed V between place Abdelmoumen Ben Ali and place de la Liberté. A sign in the window indicates which pharmacies are open after-hours but you also find a night pharmacy at:
Country code: +212 Area code: 24
Increasingly 220 volts round two-pin plugs are becoming standard.
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