Marrakech, a city of contrasts

marrakech

There is always a reason to travel to Morocco. Its short distance from Spain, the captivating souqs and the cultural contrast enchant everybody. Marrakech is our next stop.

It is a multifaceted city, depending on the neighbourhood you visit or even the area you are hanging around. Its enchanting old quarter is also worth visiting. Once there, you will steep in the real Arab culture , including different types of gastronomy you will be able to taste. Here is the busiest square day and night, Jemaa el-Fna, which has been declared Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. Improvised markets, natural orange juice stalls, street restaurants at night and many Berber songs with snakes and dances will welcome you. It is a real show. Where to eat? Any of the coffee restaurants surrounding the square is worth trying.

marrakechPicture by Marta Burgués

In Medina Neighbourhood, the red buildings and ground stand out. Medina has been declared World Heritage and in its northern area, there are the well-known traditional markets Souqs or Suks, which are classified per products, including high-quality carpets, clothes, Moroccan furniture, spices, jewels, etc. It is important to haggle in order to get the best bargain possible. Here are some of the most stunning buildings of the city, for instance, Mosque and Madrassa Ben Youssef, Marrakech Museum, Bahia Palace, Dar Si Said Museum and Badi Palace.

marrakech                                                                      Picture by Guillermo Pérez

One of its newest areas is in Guéliz, a modern neighbourhood built by the French in the 30s. Here are the huge hotel chains, businesses, renowned restaurants and nightclubs. Les jardins du Gueliz, the cafés on Gueliz Square or Brasserie de la Renaissance are some of the restaurants where to make a stop and enjoy an area full of design. On the other hand, Hivernage is the residential neighbourhood par excellence, featuring mansions and five-star hotels.

Surrounded by palaces and mosques, Marrakech has a special place to relax and experience different feelings. We are talking about Majorelle Garden, designed by French painter Jacques Majorelle, which today is owned by French stylist Yves Saint Laurent. The most stand-out features here are its blue and green colours and the natural universe created by palm trees, rose trees, orange trees and ponds with water lilies. It is seen as a real museum and sometimes houses exhibitions of contemporary art and photography. For those who look for different activities, Dar Cherifa is a literary café and gallery located in one of the famous riads of the city,  which apart from housing exhibitions, also offers concerts of traditional music.

marrakech                              Picture: Guillermo Pérez

As regards accommodation, Marrakech has five-star hotels, mansions and traditional riads. Some of them are simple, old Arab houses with their central patios and a beautiful architecture. Some others are pure luxury, such as Riad Sougtani, a spacious resort with a fine Arab style, Riad Wow, located in Medina itself or Palais Rhoul & Spa, in the area of Palmeral, where there are plenty of accommodation options, the most impressive of the city.

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