Marrakech was founded around 1062 by Youssef bin Tachfine of the Almoravide dynasty, but it was his son Ali Ben Youssef who brought architects and craftsmen from Cordoba to build palaces, baths and Mosques, a subterranean water system and in 1126 the first circuit of walls were raised from "tabia" - the red mud of the plains.
Marrakech has the largest traditional market (souk) in Morocco and also has the busiest square in the entire continent of Africa, called Djemaa el Fna. The square bustles with acrobats, story-tellers, water sellers, dancers and musicians by day; and food stalls by night, becoming a huge open-air restaurant.
Like many North African and Middle Eastern cities, Marrakech comprised both an old fortified city (the médina) and an adjacent modern city (called Gueliz). It is served by Ménara International Airport (RAK is the code for the city) and a rail link to Casablanca and the north.
City Squarein Marrakech
There is also a modern Marrakech of luxury hotels, streets with restless mopeds and guides, but they all seem to co-exist with the past. It is a Berber rather than Arab city; the traditional metropolis of Atlas tribes, Mahgrebis from the plains, Saharan nomads and slaves from beyond the desert.
The Mellah, once the largest Jewish quarter in Morocco; the Agdal, Majorelle (Yves St.Laurent Gardens) and Menara Gardens, located near the edge of the Medina where it is both cool and very still and in perfect contrast to the bustling city streets; the Bahia and dar Si-Said, the latter housing a museum of Moroccan arts.
Majorelle (Yves St.Laurent Gardens)
The Marrakech riads are situated in the bustle of the medina, the inward looking riad design ensures that they are a place to relax - keeping both the heat and the noise out. Alternatively, instead of a riad, stay at a hotel in the Palmeraie or Hivernage.
The High Atlas, a mere 30 km south of Marrakech and the greatest mountain range in North Africa, is undoubtedly the most beautiful and compelling part of this diverse land.
Festivals & Events
The Almond Tree Festival, Tafraoute
The Almond Tree Festival, Tafraoute, Morocco is an annual event that takes place in the month of February. The tiny village of Tafraoute is known as the “almond capital” of Morocco and the Almond Tree Festival is a celebration of the gregarious blooming of the hundreds of almond trees that dot the landscape of Tafraoute.
The Ashura Festival
The Ashura Festival, Morocco is the most important of the Shia Muslim Festivals. It takes place on the tenth day of the holy Muslim month of Muharram and is observed in remembrance of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein at Karbala, approximately thirteen centuries back. Prophet Imam laid down his life in pursuit of the position of Caliph.
The Asilah Arts Festival
The Asilah Arts Festival, Morocco is an annual cultural extravaganza that takes place in the first two weeks of the month of August. Both studio and performing artists from all over the world, painters, musicians and dancers gather at the Asilah Arts Festival imparting the setting with color, exuberance and dynamism.
The Celebration of the Throne
The Celebration of the Throne is an annual event observed on July 30 and marks the accession of King Mohammad VI to the throne. It is also the most important of the Morocco Festivals & events.
The Essaouira Music Festival
The Essaouira Music Festival, Morocco is also known as the Essaouira Gnaoua and World Music Festival. This is a grand musical extravaganza that celebrates the mysticism and spirituality of Gnaoua music along with its numerous offshoots like the Haitian Voodoo and the Brazilian Candomble.
The Fez Sacred Music Festival
Indian classical music, Judaic sacred music, Sufi devotional songs, Spanish gypsy songs: this is the eclectic entourage at the Fez Sacred Music Festival, Morocco, which is held every year from 1st to 10th June at Fez, the spiritual capital of Morocco.
The Goulimine Camel Fair
Goulimine is a little town at the edge of the Western Sahara. This is the site of several camel fairs all throughout the year. There is a Goulimine Camel Fair every Saturday, besides a huge annual Goulimine Camel Fair held in the month of June. The yearly Goulimine Camel Fair, Morocco, one of the most famous of the Morocco fairs, attracts caravan dwellers and tribes like the Tuaregs, the Rguibat and the Fulanis from far flung areas in the Sahara like Niger and Chad.
The Rose Festival
The Rose Festival takes place here annually in the month of May, wherein rose farmers from far and wide assemble to celebrate the year’s crops and drink to a “rosy” year of bumper crops. The Rose Festival is one of the most popular of the Morocco Festivals & events and is an occasion for you to also soak in the breathtaking natural beauty of the region
The Date Festival
The Date Festival, Morocco is one of the most popular of the various Morocco Festivals & events and is held in the month of October in the northern town of Erfoud. It is a three-day long Festival.