For a taste of the true Marrakesh, visit the Jemaa el-Fnaa. This marketplace, located in Marrakesh's old city, has been constantly buzzing with activity for almost a thousand years. Merchants call out as they sell their wares and local musicians play as people walk by. It is a place where the modern Marrakesh and the old Marrakesh meet. From here, the Bahia Palace is close by and a must see - an architectural marvel representing the best of Islamic and Moroccan architecture. The palace complex is composed of a range of colourful buildings and immaculate gardens of Jasmine, Cypress, and Hibiscus trees. Marrakesh contains the last surviving example of Almovarid architecture in existence - the Almovarid dynasty ruled between the 11th and 12th centuries. Today all that remains of them is a small, but striking, marble building.
The city is a paradise for those interested in art. This is epitomised by the city's House of Photography, which includes exhibitions of photographs spanning 150 years, giving you a unique vision of the city as it was in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Another cultural landmark of the city is the Yves Saint-Laurent museum. Not only does it contain clothing and designs covering decades, but the building itself is a modern architectural masterpiece, distinct from any other construction in the city. If you wish to experience something more traditional, take a cookery class. Marrakesh's cuisine is reflective of the city's great diversity, therefore, it's a great way to make your trip to Marrakesh truly stay with you. After this, you can expand your taste of the traditional Marrakesh by exploring the city's old town, the Medina. When walking through its maze of winding streets, Marrakesh's centuries of history come alive.
Marrakesh was founded in 1062, and during it's near thousand-year history, the city established itself as one of the key centres in the region. A city frequented by the nobility, by pilgrims, and traders, it is filled with grand buildings, historic mosques, and busy markets. Despite its grandeur and proud history, during the mid 20th century the city became a destination for icons of modernism and counter-culture, giving the city a unique character. Today Marrakesh is one of the key cities in Morocco, visited by millions of travellers each year. The city is particularly popular with French travellers, and French is widely spoken in the city. This stems from French control of Morocco between the years 1912-1956 when the country was a protectorate of France. French influence is also shown in everything from the style of its buildings to its cuisine.
|Language||Modern Standard Arabic / Amazigh (Berber)|
There are several factors to consider before taking to the road in Morocco - firstly, you need to be older than 25 to be able to rent a car in Marrakesh. The speed limit is generally 60km per hour in urban areas and speed cameras are common. Street signs are printed in both Arabic and Roman-alphabet lettering, and familiarising yourself with the names of places that you would like to visit can be extremely useful. Vehicles are driven on the right side of the road and the driving seat is usually on the left side of the car. When driving, ensure you carry your driving licence, your green-card (international car insurance) and any additional documentation you have. It is absolutely forbidden to drink-drive and there is no minimum blood alcohol concentration level, so if you plan on drinking, ensure you have an alternative form of transport.