"Marrakech, not only a '1001 night fairy tale'" Marrakesh by vtveen
Marrakesh Travel Guide: 2,159 reviews and 5,867 photos
Marrakech was our first visit to Africa as well as to the Arabic world. So we were rather excited what to expect and what to see after reading a lot (VT, travel magazines and books) and having visited an exhibition in our home country about the treasures of Morocco.
In the meantime we visited Marrakech for a second time as a starting/finishing point for a trip to Merozuga/Erg Chebbi.
Sometimes it turned out to be a part of the ‘thousand and one night fairy tale’, especially when strolling across the Jemaa el Fna or the small alleys in the medina and the souks, or when visiting one of the palaces or museums (it is just such a pity non-Muslims are not allowed to visit mosques and other Islamic sites in Morocco).
On the other hand Marrakech can be a kind of nightmare, for instance the absolute crazy traffic in the city, the sometimes annoying and pushy people (you never know if somebody is really friendly and helpful or just want to earn some Dirhams). And I’m absolutely sure we would have bought more gifts ands presents when we could have browsed by ourselves without these vendors with their continual annoying special offers and prices.
During our second visit it looked if people were even more agressive and bold asking for more money or tips.
Although I made a lot of (interesting) pictures I often felt quite uncomfortable shooting photos. You never know if people will be upset when you make a photo, not only from a person, but also when photographing shops, herbs, fabrics or whatever …. and often they are asking (sometimes rather aggressive) for money.
When travelling in the mountains it is sometimes almost impossible to make a (photo)stop, because very pushy vendors or children surrounded us within a minute. In the villages we passed, people were living in such poverty and taking pictures often was too embarrassing.
During our second visit - although I don't like it - I decided to pay people some dirham, which allowed me to make some interesting photos.
Just interested to see some of my pictures: Flickr Marrakech
It is quite obvious why Marrakech is called the Red City. The red ochre pigment walls and buildings are very dominant, especially in the old city, the walled Medina with its impressive gates. The Medina offers the most of the touristy sights of Marrakech with some palaces, the museums, the souks, the mosques, Jemaa el Fna, but also the labyrinth of alleys, the markets, ordinary street life and ….. much more.
Plan your visit well; especially the sights in the southern medina are closed for three hours during lunch hour.
Marrakech does have another half: the Ville Nouvelle with the area of Gueliz as the centre. It has (or should have) shops, boutiques and sidewalk cafés. To be honest, we were rather disappointed by this part of the city and it is not worth the effort to travel to Marrakech.
We were very happy staying in the Medina; it is much more authentic and the place to experience the ‘real’ Marrakech.
See for tips about the city: 'Things to Do Tips'.
We were absolutely surprised by the nearby Atlas Mountains. During our visit to Marrakech we made two day trips into the mountains ((Tizi-n-Test and Tizi-n-Tichka Pass); one by a ‘grand taxi’ and one by rental car. The scenery was sometimes breathtaking with snow covered peaks, winding roads and stunning views.
Along the road we passed small Berber villages, sometimes with a weekly market (we visited the one in Asni on a Saturday) and always with houses in the same colour as the surrounding mountains.
On the way to the Tizi-n-Test Pass we visited the (former) Mosque of Tin Mal, in an isolated setting at the foot of the mountains. This fortress like Mosque is now partially restored. The other day we made it up to the Tizi-n-Tichka Pass and Telouet with its Kasbah of Pasha El-Glaoui.
Both trips were highlights of our visit and I highly recommend exploring also the High Atlas during your Marrakech visit.
See for tips about the Atlas Mountains: 'Off The Beaten Path Tips'.
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vtveen's Related Pages
Marrakesh Travel Guide
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