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6 pax and more
Come and discover with us the inescapable Marrakech: the imperial city, the pearl of the South is not the most touristic city of Morocco by chance. It condenses in its heart the whole country. Colourful souks and mythical monuments, cross its ramparts and access its colossal historical and cultural heritage.
The northwestern terminus of the trans-Saharan caravan routes, the city is home to a multitude of souks. High places of trade and crafts, it is with them that your visit will begin. Accompanied by your guide, you will discover the delicious maze of the ancient medina.
At the exit of the labyrinth, you will appreciate the vast space of the Jemaa el-Fna square. Animations and shows take place there until late in the evening.
You will continue your walk by visiting the emblematic monuments of the medina. The architectural refinement of the Bahia Palace will leave you speechless. Of Arabo-Andalusian inspiration, built in the 19th century, the palace is a must-see.
You will go back in time again by visiting the Ben Youssef medersa, built under the orders of Sultan Abdallah el-Ghalib of the Saadian dynasty. This 16th century Koranic school houses a prayer room and a magnificent pool. It is particularly known for its sculpted plasterwork: truly lace.
The guided tour of Marrakech, will allow you to discover the second largest mosque in Morocco which takes its name from the koutoubiyne, the sellers of manuscripts and booksellers of the time who, in the 12th and 13th centuries, had their stalls there. Starting point of the whole history of Marrakech, it is also the symbol of it.
Sultan Abd-el-Moumen built the first mosque here in 1147, but it was destroyed before it was completed because its orientation with respect to Mecca was not correct. The columns of the first mosque and the trace of the first mihrab can still be seen next to the present mosque.
The second mosque, completed on the eve of the twelfth century, was built in the purest Hispano-Moorish style, where sobriety and purity of lines prevail.
The minaret, which rises to 77 meters, serves as an emblem to the city of Marrakech and as a landmark in the whole city. Its exceptional architecture is crowned with four copper balls. For some, they symbolize the 5 pillars of Islam, for others the sky, the earth and water. For others still, they mean that the minaret is effectively completed and should not be modified.
The most important stage of the guided tour of Marrakech.
Words fail to describe this vast square on the edge of the medina. During the day, it is little more than a parking lot.
But shortly before sunset, it comes alive and seems to regain its ancient vocation as a meeting place for jugglers, storytellers, musicians, snake charmers, acrobats and thieves. All around, the kerosene lamps of the fruit juice and dried fruit sellers attract the clientele like the flame attracts the moth. Those who are hungry will be able, at a lower price, to settle down on the benches of one of the multiple open-air boui-bouis that fill the whole square.
As for the others, they will be able to stroll, amazed, charmed and amused, from show to show.
Jewelry, leather goods, wrought iron objects, babouches, carpets, ceramics, textiles, spices, dried fruits, and we forget: the souks of Marrakech are among the most beautiful and lively in Morocco. Of course, it is not easy to find your way around. The foreign visitor is solicited.
But what a pleasure to get lost there, what a pleasure to talk with the merchants and to watch the craftsmen working! One would spend days, months or years there without getting tired, sailing from discovery to discovery.
One cannot propose a guided tour of Marrakech without passing by this monument considered as the most interesting of the city. Founded in the XIVth century by the Merinids then restored in the XVIth by the Saadians, it was the most important Koranic university of the Maghreb.
It has 3 parts: a large Hispano-Moorish courtyard, a study and prayer room and, on the second floor, the students' rooms, reserved for students who did not live in Marrakech.
In the middle of the courtyard, a basin reflected the beauty of the medersa, its stucco, mosaics and carved wood panels. It was also used to humidify the cedar wood, in summer, to avoid fires.
This palace is the jewel of this guided tour of Marrakech, it is located in front of the mellah (Jewish district of Marrakech), it is nicknamed "the Alhambra of Morocco".
Built at the end of the XIX century by a great vizier of Hassan I", it has a simple facade and walls higher than the surrounding houses to preserve the privacy of the inhabitants of the palace.
With a unique interior layout, it offers a succession of pleasure gardens, interior courtyards, rooms and apartments. The water of the fountains is brought by the system of the khettara, set up in the X century. These underground pipes that connect wells sometimes several kilometers apart allowed the irrigation of the oasis of Marrakech and offered its palaces their freshness.
The courtyards and apartments are richly decorated with zelliges and stucco. The painted cedar ceilings testify to the skill of Marrakech's craftsmen.
Consider shopping in supermarkets and then visit a medina in Morocco. Apart from the crowds, the choice of food, spices and other items such as clothes, jewellery and leather goods is absolutely incredible. Don't lose your guide.
Our guide was very knowledgeable and warned us about the dos and don'ts. The latter included not straying from the group. Otherwise, he said, the Medina would be a difficult place to look for companions! The scenes and smells of spices, perfumes and beautifully decorated souvenirs charm the mind. It is best to go with a guide, especially if the Medina market is in full swing.
We met our guide Mohammed (licensed tour guide) outside the Medina, not really knowing what to expect. I was very pleasantly surprised as we spent two hours discovering Marrakech, its people, culture and history.
We walked to the mosque, Mohammed spent a lot of time telling us all sorts of things.
When we got to the Medina, he took us to different stalls and bought olives and nuts for all of us. We then went to a local café overlooking the Medina and drank Moroccan mint tea while watching the market and enjoying all the sights and sounds.
I think it was well worth the effort. Great introduction to the Medina, lots of local knowledge and a really lovely guy for a guide too.
Very interesting experience, although a little chaotic due to the presence of motor vehicles in the streets of the medina which made pedestrian traffic a little more dangerous.