This was my second time to the enchanting city of Marrakech and I can honestly say I wasn’t disappointed. The thing that drew me back in the first place was the sense of magic the old city of Marrakech possesses. It’s charming markets with handcrafted treasures and inviting glow from the Moroccan lamps promises to grant your three wishes just like Aladin’s genie and the slanting rays of sun through the slats of market thatch roofs gives a dreamlike quality to the city- as if you’ve woken up in a different time. The mix of old and new leaves you feeling you’ve jumped into fiction, as does the snakes charmers, Beber women with their tattooed faces and the food market which seems to spring from dust as the sun sets on the world heritage site- the Jamma al Fna square.
Moroccan door with mosaic
As for things to do, Marrakech is a place that doesn’t leave you wanting. The hours slither away whilst wandering round the maze of the souks browsing and immersing yourself in the Moroccan magic of their market or simply sitting in the shade of the magnificent Koutobia minaret is a desirable way to spend the afternoon watching the hustle and bustle of the town.
The Marjorelle gardens, designed by Yves St Laurent is also stunning, contrasting the famous Moroccan blue hue with the vibrancy of the flowers. Marrakech also boasts a castle and numerous museums and galleries.
vendor selling dates, dried fruits and spices
If the stunning architecture and mosaic doesn’t captures your imagine and you want to get back to nature, then 40 minutes away you can hike through the majestic atlas mountains or climb to the waterfalls in Ourrika and enjoy a traditional tagine prepared by the locals whilst enjoying spectacular views. Quad biking and camel riding in the desert are also options for the more adventurous amongst you.
Perhaps Marrakech’s most sparkling jewel however is the Jamma al Fna square, which never seems to sleep. During the day henna artists and market traders inhabit the square as well as the famous orange juice vendors who try and convince you their freshly squeezed oranges beat every other vendors, but at night, the square is transformed into something out of this world. Food stalls selling everything from traditional tagines, Moroccan fish and chips, arab sweets, fruits, singular cigarettes, snails, an array of teas including traditional mint tea which was wonderful, simply appear. 1001 different smells tantalise your nostrils turning you in every direction. Old Moroccan men get together with traditional Arab instruments and start a beat which entrances listeners and it’s as if the history of a hundred years have descended on the square for the night as they sing and dance, drumming away the beat of time.
Orange juice vendors
Marrakech is a time between now and then. It’s rich with history, so rich in fact that every modernity still seeps with the enchantment of times lost. The colours looks more vibrant, the sun shines more fiercely and it feels just as if genies, Arab kings on horses and flying carpets would be right at home.
Next time- I’ll tell you about the food. Believe me, it needs a whole blog to itself.