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Home Experience Mysterious Marrakech    
Why you should go?
Witness a rainbow of contrasts - the reds of the Sahara Desert, the brilliant white of the snow topped Atlas Mountains, the green of a freshly brewed mint tea, and the colourful spread of goods for sale in the souks.
Where to rest your head | All Things to do  
Shop in the Medina

There is no shortage of things to buy in Marrakech and indeed when you step into the souks inside the Medina walls of old Marrakech, you'll be getting the hard sell on lamps, hookahs, trinkets and carpets. The key is to enjoy bargaining, stay friendly, and know what your price limit is. If you find yourself inside a carpet shop, don't feel pressured to buy and just leave a small tip for the guys who roll them out for you. They are beautiful to look at and sometimes it's quite nice to sit down and enjoy a little cup of tea. For quality contemporary art, check out Galerie Rê and the Matisse Art Gallery.

Steam in a Traditonal Hammam

The hammam is a public steam bath in Morocco. Hammams used to be the only place people could come to bathe and scrub, since a private bathroom in a house or apartment was a luxury few could afford. Nowadays, you'll find less "public hammams", but there are plenty of upscale hammams in Riads and luxury hotels. They offer more Western style massages and scrubs, while still using local products. To pamper yourself check out Les Bains de Marrakech. If you're on a mid-range budget check out Hammam Ziani. A local hammam is a wonderful, eye-opening cultural experience. It offers women travellers in particular a chance to meet local women. 

Take a Cooking Class

The cuisine of Morocco has been enjoyed by many, but mastered by few outside of Morocco. When you are in Marrakech a perfect way to spend a day is to shop for ingredients in the local markets and then learn how to prepare a traditional Moroccan meal, guided by a professional local cook. Several Riads offer informal cooking classes that are good fun for cooking enthusiasts. 

Majorelle Gardens

The Majorelle Gardens in Marrakech are filled with rare plants, bright colours and peace. The botanical gardens are situated north-west of the Medina of Marrakech, about a 30 minute walk. (Stop by the wholesale market en route to see mountains of dates, nuts and grains getting bought and sold). Try and get there by 10 am before the busloads of tourists arrive. The Majorelle Gardens were designed by a French painter Jacques Majorelle who settled in Marrakech in 1919. In 1980, Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent repurchased the gardens and faithfully restored them. Majorelle's workshop is now a small Museum dedicated to Islamic Art. Yves Saint Laurent died in June, 2008 and had his ashes scattered in the Majorelle Gardens.

Visit the Wool Dyers Souk

The real working souks behind the tourist trinket stalls along the main thoroughfares in the Marrakech medina, are worth a visit. Photos aren't always welcome in these parts, but if you ask politely, you may be given permission to snap away. The blacksmiths, woodworkers and dyers are hard at work every day. If you enjoy riots of color and watching traditional artisans at work, you should make every attempt to find the Dyers souk where you'll see huge colorful loops of silk and wool hanging to dry. The dyers will show you how they use their dye, boil the wool etc. It's fascinating and it's what makes Marrakech so attractive, people still work here the traditional way.

Marrakech Popular Arts Festival

The annual Marrakech Popular Arts festival, held in July, attracts folk singers, dancers, fortune-tellers, acting troupes, snake charmers, fire-swallowers and more, from all over Morocco. The main events take place in the ruins of the 16 century Badi Palace and the Djemma el Fna. If you're lucky, you can see the real Fantasia. It's a horse-riding spectacle that includes hundreds of charging horsemen (and women) wearing traditional clothing. You can experience the Fantasia in the evenings outside the city walls near the Bab Jdid. 

Palais Dar Si Said

A palace and museum in one and well worth a visit. The palace is opulent and beautiful in itself with a lovely courtyard where you can relax and take some pictures. The museum's displays are well laid out and include jewellery, costumes, ceramics, daggers and other artifacts. The museum is open daily with a couple of hours break for lunch. It's advisable to get there early and avoid the tour groups.

The Tanneries

If you are planning to visit Fes, the tanneries there are more impressive, but the Marrakech tanneries are certainly worth a peek if you can find them. They're located near the Bab ed-Debbagh gate in the medina, just ask a local shopkeeper for directions. Bring a sprig of mint, this is one smelly place. Not really surprising given that the process of turning animal hides into soft colorful slippers has basically remained unchanged since medieval times. In medieval times, as now, they use a a pungent mixture of pigeon poop, acids and cow urine to treat the leather. Yes, it's a s stinky as it sounds but equally fascinating to watch.

Ali ben Youssef Medersa and Mosque

The Medersa was built in the 16th century by the Saadians and could house up to 900 religious students. The architecture is beautifully preserved and you can explore the tiny rooms where the students used to live. It was a working school up until the 1960's. The mosque is adjacent to the Medersa. This is a fun place to take the kids without them getting too bored with architectural facts and history. It's fun to look out the windows onto the street scene below.

The best time to visit Morocco is between April and early June, or between September and November, when the weather is consistently warm and dry. Temperatures during these times range between 20˚C and 25˚C.
Culture, Off the Beaten Track
Bargain in the Souks only when u actually want to buy and remember to avoid ice in drinks and stick to bottled water.
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