The Best of Marrakesh
In addition to the Jemaa el Fna, there was a long list of things to do in Marrakesh. It took us several days, but we did almost all of them.
Most notable were the souks. We spent hours wandering through the winding mazes, admiring the local craftsmanship, haggling with eager shop owners and getting lost over and over again. My favorite item was the hamsa, or hand of Fatima; I brought several of them in different sizes.
My husband was drawn to the boxes. Some were made of dark wood and metal, made by the Tuaregs. Some were made of camel bone and tinted with henna, and others were made entirely of metal with lace-like designs. We looked at hundreds before settling on one made from camel bone and Moroccan corals that was inlaid with an old Berber carpet.
The most beautiful place we visited was Ben Youssef Madrasa, an old Islamic college with dorm rooms that surround an open courtyard. It’s a quiet, peaceful place to walk around while admiring the delicate carvings in the wood and stucco and imagining the lives of the students who once lived there.
The Koutoubia Mosque also stands out for its beauty, but more so for its haunting presence. It towers above you, visible for miles with its golden-topped minaret and simple yet beautiful construction. Non-Muslims may not enter, but it is easily admired from the outside.
We also visited the Bahia Palace, the Badia Palace, the Saadian Tombs, the Mellah, Bab Agnaou and Menara Gardens. Each place had its own charm, but they were more important collectively. By the end, I felt I had a more genuine and complete feel for the culture and history than a single museum could give me.
Tip: Allot at least 3 days for Marrakesh and bring a guide book since there is little information available to visitors at each location.
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