Marrakech Travel Guide
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Why? A mysterious labyrinthine medina, snake-charmers and
acrobats on the panoramic central square, colourful bazaars, the
aroma of sizzling Morrocan delicacies: these are the experiences
one can expect from a holiday in Marrakech. The intoxicating city
was an ancient caravan trading post, and retains its traditional
atmosphere along with a lively modern tourist trade which draws
millions of visitors to Marrakech each year for an exotic
When? The sun shines nearly all year round in Marrakech, which has a Mediterranean climate. Those who enjoy the heat should holiday in Marrakech during July and August, but the best time to travel to Marrakech is during spring (April to June), when bright blue skies offset the rosy hue of the city's clay buildings and temperatures are comfortable.
Who for? Anyone who has a yen for exotic destinations will be charmed by a holiday in Marrakech, which can feel like a trip back in time to medieval Morocco.
More Info: To find out everything you need to know to plan a holiday in Marrakech make use of our comprehensive Marrakech travel guide, which includes everything from airport facilities to admission fees for the major attractions. It is also advisable for western travellers to read up on Muslim customs in the 'Basics' section of the guide before travelling to Marrakech.
Bab er-Rob, Marrakech © Judith Duk
Traversing the alleyways and souks of Marrakech, particularly in the Medina (Old City), it is easy to believe you have been transported back in time or stumbled onto a movie set for a medieval 'Arabian nights' production. It is this enchanting, fairy-tale quality that brings thousands of sightseers to the most-visited of Morocco's three Imperial Cities, Marrakech. The heart of the Medina is Djemaa el-Fna, an irregular 'square' where everything seems to happen and the place to which tourists are drawn time and again to soak up the carnival-like environment. Tourism, though, has not spoilt the atmosphere: if anything, it has only added to it. The modern side of Marrakech (called Gueliz or Ville Nouvelle), with its luxury hotels, banks and streets bursting with motor scooters, blends well with the past in a metropolis made up of people from the Berber Atlas tribes, Mahgrebis from the plains, and Saharan nomads.
Marrakech was founded in 1062 by Youssef bin Tachfine of the Almoravid dynasty, and his son perfected the city by bringing in architects and craftsmen from Cordoba to build palaces, baths, mosques and a subterranean water system. The city walls were raised from the red mud of the plains, with the snow-covered peaks of the High Atlas Mountains forming a backdrop for the city, though they are often hidden by the heat haze.
One of the many ways to soak up the sights and sounds of Marrakech is in one of the hundreds of horse-drawn carriages (known as caleches) that are for hire, but it is also necessary to take in the Medina's souks on foot, plunging into the hurly-burly maelstrom of passages where tradesmen ply various crafts, from cloth dyeing, copper beating, and leather working to herbalists, perfumers and slipper makers; and where shopkeepers cajole passing tourists into taking a look at their glorious array of colourful crafts.
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