MARRAKESH - JUNE 2016 

🇲🇦 MOROCCO 🇲🇦

Jamaâ El Fna Square -  possibly the largest open-air market in Africa

The Medina

Entrance to the Medina

 

The Medina is a crowded, walled, medieval city created by the Berber dynasty.The place to stay is in a Riad.

 Founded in 1070-1072 by the Almoravids (1056-1147), capital of the Almohads (1147-1269), Marrakesh was, for a long time, a major political, economic and cultural centre of the western Muslim world, reigning in North Africa and Andalusia.

The Medina of Marrakesh  has been voted by UNESCO as an area ofOutstanding Universal Value. 

  • The original ramparts of the Medina

  • The oldest door

Mingling with the locals !

A visit to the souks is obligatory but ...

Brace yourself as every stallholder will beg you to come inside his little shop.  I couldn't say no so the trip took many hours. 

 I sort of enjoyed the hustle and bustle but was glad my daughter was with me as we got lost  and so did Google maps !

The best part of the socks for me was the fruit and vegetable section where I purchased  preserved lemons, an essential ingredient in Moroccan cuisine.

The Jewish saouks are also worth visiting  For their spices and aromatic oils.  Saffron is relatively cheap but do check the quality  and also don't forget to barter.

Don't bother with the meat market ...

 

 

If you don't like olives just get preserved lemons !

Bahia Palace

 

 Magnificently refurbished palace which was originally built by a sultan towards the end of the 19th century for one of his wifes.

The palace was constructed as a series of courtyards and gardens.

it has recently been renovated and the tiles and mosaics offer an explosion of colours.

 

The Saadian tombs

 

 

 

 

Recently discovered  (1917) The Saadian tombs  back from the time of the sultan Ahmad al-Mansur (1578-1603).

Amongst the graves are sixty members of the Saadi Dynasty and those of Ahmad al-Mansur and his family. 

 

Majorelle Garden

 Take a break from the  bustling city of Mackintosh and enjoy the tranquillity  and refreshing atmosphere of The Majorelle Garden.

  The garden is named after Jacques Majorelle,  a French artist from Nancy, who designed the Islamic Art museum in the 1920's.  The extensive use of blue cobalt colour in the garden has now been called the Majorelle blue.

Yves Saint Lauren, who bought  the garden at a later date, had his ashes  scattered there.

 The garden has a lovely  outside cafe  with umbrellas and trees to protect you from the sun.  Enjoy a nice drink of fresh lemon juice.

  • Giant cacti are a feature here

  • Cobalt blue or Majorelle blue

Off to the Atlas Mountains

 

 

 Well no we didn't take a camel ride there  !

 The drive took about two hours with lovely pit stops on the way. 

 It was part of an organised tour which you can book locally ( no need to book in advance )  at any tour operator shop in Marrakesh,

  • Up we climb

  • Olives and spices

I think he is trying to avoid the tourists

The Atlas Mountains

The best places to eat in the Medina

Le Jardin

 Exquisite cuisine  in an ideal excepting .  As the name indicates tables are  set in a beautiful   garden. 

https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?hl=en-GB&yv=2&um=1&ie=UTF-8&fb=1&gl=uk&entry=s&sa=X&ftid=0xdafee6854db55ff:0x773ef53adf2d51c&gmm=CgIgAQ%3D%3D

Souk  Kafe

Roof top cafe serving excellent simple local food but absolutely delicious. 

https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?hl=en-GB&yv=2&um=1&ie=UTF-8&fb=1&gl=uk&entry=s&sa=X&ftid=0xdafee69a91b5419:0x3ff739678eb3fcba&gmm=CgIgAQ%3D%3D

 Café des Épices

 https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g293734-d909314-Reviews-Cafe_Des_Epices-Marrakech_Marrakech_Tensift_El_Haouz_Region.html

View from The Souk Cafe

A little about tagines

 The word  tagines or tajine refers to a special way of cooking in an earthenware pot, it goes back as far as the 9th cenruty. The dish was already famous amongst the nomadic Bedouins of the Arabic peninsula who added dried fruits like dates, apricots and plums to enrich its unique taste.

You can have a chicken, lamb or beef Most restaurants who serve local Moroccan food will have tagines on their menus.

Tips. 🇲🇦

👎Do not travel to Marrakesh or Morroco during Ramadan (  as I did ! ).  It is predominantly a Muslim country so most locals would  follow this annual custom  of fasting for a month.  This coincides with the ninth month of the Islamic calendar,  it means no drinking or eating between  sunrise and sunset.  Some restaurants are closed during this period  whilst others will not serve alcoholic drinks.  Men can become a little ratty and a little aggressive especially if you do not buy from them.

💰Both € and the Moroccan Dirham are in use. Always barter whether in €  or Dirhams.1L of water should cost you €1 on the street.

🍷 Please note that some establishments do not serve alcohol especially during Ramadan.