Morocco; a new country on my list off countries I’ve been. It wasn’t on my wishlist to be honest, but being here, reading about it, hearing about it from other travellers I do want to come back. This time I haven’t got a lot of time to really see the country. Actually I only have time to see a bit of Marrakech. If you’re going as well; here are five things to do in Marrakesh.
The minaret of the Koutaubia Mosque is a landmark in Marrakech. Almost from every point in the city center you can see this minaret, that is built in a built in a traditional Almohad style and topped with four copper globes. The ‘tower’ is ‘only’ 77 meters high, but there is a law that in the Medina (the old city) no building is allowed to be higher than the height off a palm tree. As a non-Muslim you are not allowed to enter the mosque, but walking around it you can get a glimpse of it’s beauty inside.
Getting lost in the souks – The old town is a maze of little streets full of market stands who sell everything you can imagine. The deeper you go into the maze, the more amazing what you will find for sale. The two main routes into the maze are rue Semarine (aka Souk Semarine) and rue Mouassine. In the souks every part has its own specialty: carpets and textiles, cooked snails, spices, blanket, baskets and much, much more.
Jemaa el Fna
Empty by day, crowded by night. The Jemaa el Fna is the central square in the old town. It’s another landmark in the Medina, because no matter how lost you are, for some reason you always end up on the central square. Even if you don’t want to go there and want to wander off into the less crowded streets, the locals will tell you how to get to the square and walk with you; in the hope to get some money off you for their services.
During day time you will find some market stands on the site of the square, selling orange juice, dates, figs and nuts. Just next to them you will find snake charmers and vendors with poor monkeys tempting you to have your photo taken with their animal. For money of course.
The Medina is crowded, noisy and – when extremely busy – almost claustrophobic. You can escape the noise by heading out of the old town, but you can also literally go above it by finding a rooftop bar, restaurant or hostel/hotel. I heard a lot of good things about Cafe Arabe, a bar/restaurant. I stayed at a very nice hostel, Riad Dar Radya, which had a nice, quiet rooftop terrace as well. Perfect to do yoga in the morning and some writing in the evening.
Take a hammam
I’m saving this for the way back; after a hard week of yoga. A hammam is a eastern bath; a combination between a sauna, bath and a massage or scrub. Marrakech is full of them and even in the medina there are plenty to choose form. So if you want (another) escape from the noise and hassling in the souks, threat your mind on some quiet time and your body on some pampering in on of the hammams.