- Category: Destinations
- Author: Tyler Welch
Four Things You Must do in Marrakesh
Morocco is a country steeped in a rich culture and a dynamic history. A nation consisting of lush gardens, relaxing beaches and mesmerizing desert. For a country with so much to offer, Marrakesh provides a busting and exciting hub. This beautiful city is a perfect location for a luxury vacation. Lonely Planet’s description of the city is one of unpredictable exhilaration and enchantment. This cosmopolitan center of one million Moroccans provides travellers a chance to experience a diverse culture, see, hear and smell amazing new things, and is packed with opportunities to just relax and take a deep breath. Here are four things you’ve got to do during your stay in Marrakesh:
- Circle the Koutoubia Mosque
- Taste local delicacies and street food
- Soak in the history at a museum
- Shop and haggle in the famous Moroccan Souks
Circle the Koutoubia Mosque
The minaret (tall tower spire) of the Koutoubia Mosque is one of the most well-known symbols of Marrakesh and of North-African Islamic culture. The mosque is visible from all over the Medina (historical marketplace neighborhood). The tower stands at 77 meters high, which is not astronomical, but local statute maintains that no buildings in the Medina can be built taller than a palm tree. This keeps the brilliant Koutoubia Mosque as the focus – a beautiful architectural piece, overlooking the city.
It is still an active and operating place of worship, and non-Muslims are not allowed to enter the building. However, a walk around the block will be an unforgettable experience.
Taste Local Delicacies and Street Food
Marrakesh is a culinary haven, with some of the best street food in the world. Small, locally owned stalls can be found all over the city (especially inside the Medina). Virtualtourist.com named the city in its Top Ten Best Street Food Cities. Fresh-made bread is one of the local favorites. Bread is a staple in Morocco and is delicious when eaten warm, fresh,and with another Marrakesh favorite – hummus or couscous, a rice-like dish that is a specialty of Moroccans. There are also many scrumptious, sugary, goodies along the curvy streets of Marrakesh. Shebakia (fried sesame cookie) and birwat (deep fried pastry stuffed with almonds) are among the most popular.
Soak in the History at a Museum
It would take decades of study to truly appreciate the history and culture of Morocco and Marrakesh. Luckily, there are museums which help to consolidate the most compelling information in one place. The three main museums in the city are the Marrakesh Museum (pictured), the Dar Si Said Museum and the Museum of Islamic Art. The Marrakesh Museum is actually inside a 19th-century palace in the center of the city. It has been restored and converted into a museum since. The building itself is a piece of history, and an artifact, but it also holds cultural and historical exhibits. If you are a lover of the visual arts – from tapestry to paintings; from pottery to sculptures – Dar Si Said and The Museum of Islamic Art are the places for you. Each is filled with stunning, one-of-a-kind art that cannot be found anywhere else on the planet.
Shop and Haggle in the Famous Moroccan Souks
A souk is a traditional Berber marketplace, and they serve as the hub of neighborhoods across the city. There are 18 traditional souks in Marrakesh, including the largest one in Morocco.
Traversing the colourful streets of a souk is not just a shopping trip – it’s a cultural experience.
Popular travel blogger Urooj Qureshi wrote of the souks in Marrakesh:
“One of the most animated places I have ever visited…filled with color, sounds, smell and life.”
You will be privileged to find hand-made goods like leather, pottery, carpets and clothing. You can take part in a true part of Moroccan culture and haggle with the shopkeepers. Perhaps, one evening, take a break from restaurants and shop for groceries in the marketplace- see how well you can haggle your way into a dinner or a snack.