Did you know that some languages like Persian and Urdu still call the country Morocco by it’s old name Marrakesh? The city was founded in 1070 and capital to the Almoravid Empire. Over the centuries, many rulers and ethnicities have added buildings and monuments creating stunning architecture and earning parts of the city a UNESCO World Heritage Site title.
Since the end of the French colonial rule in Morocco, Marrakesh has been a popular tourist destination, also for stars like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. The city’s beauty has attracted many foreign investors to contribute and invest in restoration and rebuilding processes. International attention does not only involve investors and stars pumping their money into Marrakesh, but the city has been the host for many important political in economic meetings and summits.
The tourism industry in Marrakesh is the main driver for economic success today. Over two million tourists are attracted by the city every year, and the wealthy like it so much that many have bought property there in the last 20 years. Let’s look at what everyone seems to love about this magical city.
The Medina is the old walled city of Marrakech and enclosed by nearly twenty kilometres of salmon-pink walls nearly 1000 years old! Be sure to plan enough time for this part of the city so that you can explore the nearly unchanged streets in great detail. At the centre of Medina, you will find Jemaa El Fna, a vibrant and busy square where you can get a henna tattoo or watch monkeys, snakes, and other animals perform shows for tourists. If you want to enjoy this from a safe distance, visit one of the rooftop terraces around the square or wait for the night where the square turns into a huge food market.
One of the most impressive buildings completed in the cities 1000-year history are the Saadian Tombs. Built in the 16th and 17th century to give the Saadian dynasty a home forever, they feature astonishing architecture and a beautiful garden. From the materials used to the overall design the two mausoleums are simply stunning and worth a visit.
The souks of Marrakesh are known to be among the best in the world, narrow streets, partially roofed house the best shopping experience you can have in Marrakesh. If you can resist the urge to by something, you will still have the opportunity to watch the locals perform their craft, whether it be blacksmiths or shoemakers. By the time you think about buying something, only ask for the price if you are genuinely interested in purchasing it as asking for the price is seen equivalent to saying that you want to make a purchase. Don’t forget to haggle as well and start well below the asking price, don’t be shy to start at a third of the price tag.
As Morocco is a Muslim country you will find a variety of mosques around the city. Their architecture and history is beautiful and breath-taking. The Koutoubia mosque does not only have the tallest minaret tower of all mosques in Marrakesh but is also considered the symbol of the city.
Whether it be stunning architecture or vibrant culture you are looking for, you will find both in Marrakesh, and in many more locations than we listed above.