Sightseeing in Marrakech can really be fun if one chooses to wander, only to be greeted by surprises every now and then. A guide is not at all essential and the tourist police are also very helpful. Most of the tourist attractions are within walking distance, the rest being not too far away.
The Koutoubia Mosque is a major tourist's attraction in Marrakech but entry is prohibited to non-Muslims. However, one can always marvel at the architectural grandeur which is visible from outside the mosque. Sightseeing in Marrakech would be incomplete without visiting the city's three medina-based museums, each of which have their own distinct style and are worth visiting.
If Sightseeing in Marrakech appears to be too hectic one can seek respite in the luxuriant public and private gardens surrounding the city.
The Djemaa el Fna square in Marrakech is the center of attraction for tourists. Every day the carnival begins as soon as the shadow of the stately Koutoubia minaret lengthens. Musicians, snake-charmers, fortune tellers, fire eaters and dancers throng the place to entertain the bewitched tourists coming from different parts of the globe.
Very few cities in the world enjoy such a spectacular ambience as Marrakech and with so much to see one can hardly afford to miss the Sightseeing in Marrakech.
Marrakech Popular Destinations
The second largest city of Morocco is Marrakech, which has an affluent industrial area and is the major market and organizational centre of Southern Morocco. Marrakech Popular Destinations include numerous historical monuments, buildings and the enchanting beauty of Marrakech lies in the atmosphere and the spectacular location of this city. Marrakech is the city of entertainment in Morocco. Djemaa el fna is a square in the hub of Marrakech, which is the centre for entertainers like acrobats, drummers, dancers, pipe musicians, comedians and storytellers. Different kind of meals are available here, including the sight of the Djemaa el Fna food stalls, several low-priced café, restaurants and a number of high-class palace-restaurants, which offer Morocco's authentic delicacies at its very best.
It is not necessary to have a guide in Marrakech, because the maps will guide you flawlessly. Marrakech Popular Destinations are; Saadian Tombs, Bahia Palace and Dar Si Said Museum where you can see the cedar woodwork, the interesting open-air market place called souks and small squares, where you can frequently watch part of the making process of specific crafts. The most interesting times to visit the souks are early morning and late afternoon when the auction of products is taken place. The Marrakech Museum houses the exhibitions of Moroccan art and sculpture, both traditional and contemporary. In the entrance quad of Marrakech Museum, there is a small bookshop and café. The Marrakech Museum has many beautiful gardens with many picnic spots, lake-sized pools and calm and quiet surroundings.
What it lacks in beauty, the large town square of Marrakech, Djemaa el-Fna (Square of the Dead) makes up for in pulsating liveliness that belies its name. Every day the square is a colourful circus of performing artists where snake charmers, musicians, storytellers and healers vie with each other to be noticed by the milling crowds; every evening food stalls take over and the competition is fierce among them for the passing trade, offering anything from boiled snails and sheep's heads to thick vegetable soup, kebabs or fresh salads. Freshly squeezed orange juice stalls stand side by side encircling the market and offer a refreshing drink both day and night. The square is a fascinating place to sit awhile at one of the surrounding cafes, watching the swirling parade. The square is also the gateway to the souks (bazaars) of Marrakech, tucked away in the surrounding labyrinth of narrow streets and alleys. It is easy to lose your way, but well worth exploring the plethora of craftsmen offering their wares. Bargain for anything from water mugs and dates to exotic Moroccan carpets. The souks are also well shaded from the searing Moroccan sun and therefore provide a respite from the heat.
Towering over the labyrinthine streets and markets of Marrakech is the city's principal landmark, the minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque, known as the 'mosque of the booksellers' because of the bazaar of the book traders that used to be nearby. The red stone mosque was first built in 1147, but demolished and rebuilt in 1199 because it was not correctly aligned with Mecca. The mosque, basically a massive prayer hall, has 17 aisles and 112 columns, and room for thousands to pray within it. The ornately carved minbar (pulpit) is believed to have been a gift from the Almoravid Sultan Ali ben Youssef. The landmark minaret is 221ft (69m) high and consists of six chambers one atop the other, ascended by a ramp through which the muezzin ascends to the top balcony. The mosque is closed to non-Muslims, but the area around is a favourite place for an evening stroll.
The beautiful necropolis was built by the Saadian Sultan Ahmed el Mansour in the late 16th century as a final resting place for himself and his successors. There are 66 indoor tombs, lavishly decorated with colourful, intricate mosaics. The central mausoleum, the Hall of the Twelve Columns, is exceptionally ornate with a high vaulted roof, furnished with stunning carved cedar panels and columns of grey Italian marble.
Address: Rue de la Kasbah near the city walls in the old city, beneath the minaret of the Kasbah mosque
Opening time: Wednesday to Monday, 8am to 12pm and 2.30pm to 6pm
Admission: 10 dirhams
Things to Do in Marrakech
Marrakech is undoubtedly a thrilling destination, and you will not lack for Things to Do in Marrakech. Like its magical tourist attractions, fun filled activities too are part of its undaunted appeal to the travelers from allover the world. Here you can get yourself indulged in sightseeing, visiting the historical palaces, swimming, golfing and many other things.
The Agdal and Menara gardens are a wonderful place for a stroll or a picnic. On your way to Saadian Tombs and Palais de la Bahia, right hand side you will find Dar Si Said museum where you can visit the Bert Flynt carpet collection.
There is the unique Majorelle Gardens, now owned by Yves Saint Laurent. You can enjoy your day in a dreamy idleness at this garden lolling on the green grasses and reading a romantic tale of love. You can also have a long but interesting discussion with a small group of carefully selected professional guides, who speak English and French fluently, and who have real knowledge about the history, the sites, and the culture of Morocco.
For those travelers who are fascinated by sports Marrakech has some of the best golf in the world. Besides, there are opportunities for swimming, quad bike riding, horse riding, skiing and balloon trips. Your imagination is pretty much the limit. Are you fancying a camel ride? No problem! Want to take a helicopter to the desert? Marrakech is ready.
Parks and Gardens
There are several beautiful parks and gardens in Marrakech. These have been used as some of the best places to loll on green grasses while spending your vacation in this Moroccan city. If you are tired after roaming around various tourist places in the city of Marrakech, you can just spend your evening by getting teased by the fresh air in any of Marrakech Parks & Gardens.
In the city of Marrakech, Jardin Menara is one of the most beautiful parks. You can reach this beautiful garden most easily. And probably this easy accessibility makes this garden a favorite nook for tourists as well as the local dwellers.
Looking for tranquility? Come to this garden of Jardin Menara; and you will find a peaceful ambiance. It is a very peaceful place where one can relax and escape from everyday stressors. It may remind you of the favorite poem, "To One Who Has Been Long in City Pent" by John Keats where someone gets a complete relaxation after he gets in a country side and has the scenic beauty of nature. Jardin Menara features a fine-looking still pool backed by a pavilion which dates back to 1866 and an organised collection of olive groves.
Jardin Majorelle, another superb garden, was planned and laid out by the French painter Majorelle in the year 1922. Amongst the striking array of flowery beauty, you will find Majorelle's blue villa which is now home to a modest museum of Islamic art.