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Marrakech: The Red City

Marrakech: The Red City

Marrakech (or Marrakesj, Marrakesh) is one of the four Moroccan royal cities, laying at the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. It’s the capital of the mid-southwestern Province of Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz. The city of Marrakech has about a million inhabitants. Even though the official language is Arabic, a lot of people speak English, French or Berber. The Marrakech’ climate is dry. Summers are hot. Evenings in winter can be fairly cool.

From the old city centre (the Medina) to the modern area (Guéliz): Marrakech is an exhilarating city. It mixes Arabia and Africa, eastern and western culture. The old city centre is surrounded by red mud walls (UNESCO World heritage). These city walls combined with many terracotta coloured houses has given the city its nickname: The Red City. There are no tall buildings inside the walls; the height of a palm tree may not be exceeded by a building.

Places to go

The 70 metres (23 feet) high Koutoubia Mosque (Mosque of the Booksellers) is probably the most important city landmark. Jemaa el Fna, near Riad Trois Cours, is the heart of the city. At this square you will find many cafés and hundreds of food stands. Expect a lot of exciting street performers in the evening. The Rahba Kedima, or Spice Square, is another interesting square to visit.
You want to get out of the city? The surroundings of Marrakech are breathtaking.

Riad Trois Cours

Modern day Marrakech has been a secret destination for the Parisian elites (Maurice Ravel, Yves St. Laurent and many others). They found the once so beautiful merchant houses in a state of deterioration. Renovation was not a priority in Moroccan culture. Residents bought themselves a mansion in the suburbs after selling their house or riad to French or Italian tourists. The new inhabitants started to transform the old houses into city palaces. This is exactly how Riad Trois Cours came to its present splendour.

The Red City; the Medina Marrakech

The Red City; Jemaa el Fna Marrakech