A burst of color, sights, and sounds awaits in Marrakesh. Known as The Red City, Marrakesh is a bustling place. Minarets reach out to the bright, blue skies. Hear the call to prayer from the Koutoubia Mosque, dating back to the 12th century. Its soaring minaret with three copper balls at its top, is the focal point of Marrakesh. This was also once home to a thriving Jewish community that lived in an area known as the mellah where the Lazama Synagogue still offers a place to worship.
Wander through the narrow alleys of the souks, picking up bright slippers, woven rugs, hanging lanterns, and cones of pungent spices. Archways lead to small courtyards with fragrant gardens. Moorish carved-wood lattices and glittering geometric tile designs make Marrakesh a feast for the eyes. History comes alive with artisans still practicing age-old crafts in their shops.
Twelve main gates lead you into the intoxicating buzz of the Djemaa el-Fna, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that comes alive in the evenings with street food and entertainers. Families gather here to enjoy the fun.
Learn about the rulers of days past at the Saadian Tombs. Life and death was celebrated with astounding attention to detail. Tombs are covered with small, vibrant tiles. The 14th century Ben Youssef Madrasa is a theology school with a beautiful tiled pool in the center, surrounded by intricate archways decorated with elaborate carvings and stunning patterns.
Tucked within the Majorelle Garden’s palms and cacti is the Berber Museum. This glamorous garden was restored by French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, who had an affinity for Morocco. A museum featuring some of his haute couture will be a stopping point for style setters.
Slow your pace among the orange trees in the gardens of the Bahia Palace. It is easy to imagine how the graceful residents wandered through the tranquil grounds. Inside bright stained-glass windows paint dancing reflections on the ground and carved cedar wood is a testament to the riches of the former inhabitants. Look up to find a ceiling full of painted florals and stars.
Marrakesh is a feast for the senses. After a day of exploring, relax in a hamman, get scrubbed with black soap and rest your feet in soothing rose water.