Marrakech is a lovely town and an excellent place for great pictures. Its main square, Djemaa el-Fna, has gone through many changes, but still represents a great stage for typical shows of every day life, mixed with performances by story tellers, dancers and snake charmers. Next to the square is the high minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque, the town’s symbol.
I would also suggest a walk along the walls surrounding the medina – the old town – with their beautiful and imposing gates – the most beautiful being maybe Bab Aguenaou – and then a visit to the Saadian Tombs, to the Dar Si Said Museum, to the Madrasa Ben Youssef – a beautiful building with a bright courtyard – and to the Majorelle Gardens.
Marrakech, like most of Morocco, is inhabited by Berbers, a people of ancient warriors. There was a time when the worst insult among them was ‘your father died in his bed’! Be prepared for endless bargaining for every purchase…
The many suqs in Marrakech are a real shopping paradise. Moroccans are excellent artisans and the bargain is part of a beloved ceremony where the shop owner overvalues the wares in order to start bargaining while drinking some mint tea. Among the many valuable products are vases, jewellery, carpets and the thuja tree wooden carvings from Essaouira.
Moroccan food is a great experience as well, with strong and distinct flavours. The main dishes are tajine and cous cous, both of them come with countless variations depending by the area. Tajine is a meat or fish stew, with vegetables, olives, prunes or almonds. It is slowly cooked in a pierced clay pot, and then directly brought on the table.
The Berber people have their own specialty called m’choui, a whole lamb roasted with saffron and chilli pepper. Another dish called pastilla is prepared with a mixture of pigeon or chicken meat, eggs, lemon, almonds, cinnamon, saffron and sugar, wrapped in several layers of pastry. The national drink is mint tea, with fresh mint leaves and much sugar. For Moroccans, tea is part of a ritual during conversations and bargainings.
Where is Marrakech?