Marrakech has been on my list of places to visit for what feels like a lifetime. Long before my first trip to Morocco, where I visited Rabat and Casablanca in the North, and my second visiting Tangiers and Asilah, I knew one day I was destined to wander the winding dusty red-tinted alleys of the jewel of Morocco – and in early February, I finally did!
It’s taken me much longer than I thought it would to compile this post. Much like my romanticised pre-visit notion of Tangiers, I felt certain I would be intoxicated by the sights, sounds, scent and energy of this city and it’s safe to say that was definitely the case. In fact, I came home with so much inspiration – so much creativity – that I almost didn’t know what to do with it, and plunging straight into a home move, and then a worldwide health crisis, didn’t help matters much.
So yes, it’s taken far longer than I anticipated to work my way through the thousands of photos my boyfriend and I took on our four day jaunt to the city, to untangle and make sense of all my thoughts and musings, and find the right headspace to revisit these treasured memories in light of the current Covid-19 climate. I wondered whether a city guide was the right type of content to be creating and sharing just now. We had visited just a few short weeks before the virus really took hold in Europe and beyond, and I’m eternally grateful for the fact we were able to sneak in a vacation in 2020, and feel the warmth of the North African sun on our skin before having to isolate safely inside our North England flat for the foreseeable future.
Looking back at these photos brings me equal amounts of joy and sorrow, but no matter how distant the notion of being able to travel again feels just now, we will of course move through this and once again make plans to visit distant shores. Hopefully I can inspire you to make plans for your next trip with this post..
nb. If you don’t want to read the entire 5,000-word post (!) you can quickly navigate through to the recommendations you’re most interested in using the links below:
Stay: Riad 64
I knew that we wanted to stay in traditional riad to have as authentic a Moroccan experience as possible, and after a whole lotta searching online, reading reviews, and umming and ahhing over all of the wonderful options on offer, settled on the calming allure of Riad 64 (which had a superb 9.1 rating on booking.com).
From the moment we arrived and were ushered inside by friendly front-of-house manager Mohamed, poured a glass of sugary mint tea and handed a plate of sweet Moroccan treats, we knew we had made the right choice! Traditionally a riad (which means garden in Arabic) was a house built for a multi-generational family, centred around an inner courtyard with rooms facing inward. From the outside our riad appeared like a veritable fortress, with a heavy wooden door and no windows, but inside the interior unfurled like a Tardis to reveal a cool, calm, inner sanctum with an abundance of greenery, fragrant orange trees, hypnotic water features and colourful Berber textiles, offering a blissful and immediate escape from the chaos and cacophony of the Medina outside.
We were staying in the Poivre Room on the upper floor; a cool, dark grey, air-conditioned haven with a large en-suite bathroom with tadelakt plastered walls that I immediately wanted to recreate in our bathroom back home. In the mornings we would climb to the riad rooftop to enjoy a breakfast of warm baked breads, freshly squeezed orange juice and sweet semolina pancakes in the warmth of the early morning sun. When we returned from our daily exploits around the city we would retire again to the rooftop to sit by the pool and watch the sun set over the distant Atlas Mountains, listening to the call to prayer from the local mosque reverberating off the ancient city walls. Honestly, I think if we’d spent the majority of our time just lounging around the riad we would have gone home happy and incredibly blissed-out. But of course, there was an entire city waiting outside these beautiful walls, just begging to be explored.
→Riad 64, 126 Derb Zemrane, Rue de Berrima, Marrakech 4000
We had arrived in Marrakech mid-morning, but by the time we’d been met by our (pre-booked) taxi at the airport and checked into our riad, it was already well past 2pm. Naturally, we were starving. I had a list as long as my arm of places I wanted to check out but when we asked for a local lunch recommendation from Houda at the front desk, she immediately suggested, like so many others had online, Nomad.
Turns out it wasn’t exactly local to our riad, but after we wound our way through the unfamiliar alleys and streets we begun to get a little better acquainted with the city, work up even more of an appetite, and arrived at Nomad mid-afternoon once the lunchtime crowds had dispersed. I’d been warned a booking was often necessary here, but happily we were able to find ourselves a prime spot on the peachy-hued middle terrace overlooking the colourful sprawl of the spice and textile markets below, and across to another of the city’s most recognisable eateries, Café des Épices.
The interiors were definitely more Scandi-chic than Moorish riad, while the menu put a modern spin on local flavours, with braised lamb, spiced chicken leg, Moroccan sole and calamari from Agadir all on offer. After sating our initial hunger with a mezze platter of homemade yoghurt bread with traditional Moroccan dips, we ordered the restaurant’s two signature dishes; the Nomad spiced lamb burger with sautéed aubergine, and the Nomad couscous with slow braised preserved lemon-infused beef. I think it’s safe to say we’d heartily recommend both! Eating later in the afternoon meant the usually busy restaurant was far quieter than we witnessed at any other point during our trip (for we traversed the Spice Market below on many occasions), which allowed us to keep our table a good while longer than would normally be the case, and gather our thoughts and our bearings.
→Nomad, 1 Derb Aarjane, Marrakech 40000
Explore: The Medina
We didn’t want to put too much pressure on our first day in the city, so rather than setting off with a specific destination in mind after our late lunch, we chose instead to simply wander the winding streets of the Medina and take in all the sights and sounds on offer. This is by far my favourite way to discover a city, and while I usually plot myself a general course between two coffee stops when I’m exploring a place for the first time, we instead set off in the general direction of our riad with the consensus that we would ‘follow our noses’ and take whatever detours took our fancy while the sun was still high in the sky. The maze of dusty cobblestone lanes wind off in every direction though, and if you don’t keep a close eye on your surroundings it is very easy to get lost with just a few quick turns.
I never felt unsafe in the Medina – having my 6’4″ boyfriend by my side definitely helped – but I was certainly cautious about which turns we took, and kept a close eye on the map we’d acquired at the riad to ensure we didn’t veer too far off course in our wanderings. Most of the time when people (mainly men) approached us they were fairly amicable and genuinely seemed to want to offer guidance or directions, but there were the odd occasions when they were persistent in trying to provide help – which we typically declined – with a view to securing a tip for their services. This is how a lot of people make a living in Marrakech, so we did sometimes oblige and hand over a few dirhams in thanks, and its worthwhile carrying a small purse of coins in anticipation of this.
It’s also worth noting that many people in the Medina dislike having the photographs taken (quite understandable), so it’s a good idea to keep your camera close to your body and only pause to take photos where the street is quieter, or you risk being shouted at, or hassled for money.
Visit: El Badi Palace
Our second day in Marrakech definitely had a more structured feel to it, as we knew we needed to make a daily itinerary in order to tick as many of our wish-list sights off as possible. We started close to home at El Badi Palace, which was just a short five minute stroll from our riad. One of the most awe inspiring historical sites we visited on our trip, El Badi – meaning Palace of the Incomparable – is a sprawling ruined complex dating back to the 16th century. Built by the Saadian Sultan Ahmed al-Mansur Dhahbi to celebrate victory over the Portuguese army in 1578, today all that remains is a huge esplanade carved garden, planted with orange trees and surrounded by high, crumbling, peach-hued walls that have been commandeered as a home for the palace’s resident white stork population. Wandering around the ruins mid-morning was a photographer’s dream, as the gently rising sun cast a gloriously pink hue over the complex, and after we climbing to the top of one of the only columns still standing, we were afforded some simply breathtaking views across the ruins, and beyond to the Atlas Mountains.
→El Badi Palace, Ksibat Nhass, Marrakesh 40000
Visit: Bahia Palace
Close to El Badi Palace you will find another palace, entirely different in style and preservation. Bahia Palace is a 19th century complex of courtyards and gardens that seem to go on and on, with much to delight around every turn. The palace was commissioned by Minister Ahmed bin Musa to commemorate his wife, Bahia, and is considered an artistic masterpiece capturing the splendour of Andalusian-style Moroccan architecture. Another veritable playground for any photographer, it was impossible not to be inspired by the intricacy of the carving and detail of the paintwork throughout the palace, with pretty much every room offering a picture perfect setting. Indeed, there were a lot of people posing for photographs against the colourful backdrops, but if you hang back a bit to let the tour groups work their way though, then a wonderful sense of peace and uninterrupted beauty settles across the courtyards and lush, verdant gardens.
→Bahia Palace, Avenue Imam El Ghazali, Marrakech 40000
Shop: Yannass Concept Store
After a morning of historical sights, it was time to indulge in one of Marrakech’s most pleasurable pastimes – shopping! As we made our way through the Medina from the palaces towards the city’s central square, Jemaa el-Fna, we stumbled upon an upmarket concept store selling all kinds of modern Moroccan delights. Yannass’ shelves are piled high with beautiful KAM Design ceramic coffee cups, bowls and mini-tagines, alongside beautifully packaged saffron, amlou (argan-nut butter), local honey and essential oils. Naturally, I was like a kid in a candy store! Everything was of exceptional quality, and as we were paying and having the pieces wrapped, we realised how much better protected they would be for the journey home in our hand luggage than if we had bought pottery from sellers out on the street. Naturally the pieces were a little bit more expensive, but it’s just something to keep in mind when shopping for delicate ceramics in the city.
→Yannass Concept Store, Rue Riad Zitoun el Kdim, Marrakesh 40000
Shop: The Souks
The souks themselves are packed with pretty much everything you can think of, and more. It’s easy to get lost wandering the labyrinth of narrow alleyways, overflowing with shops and stalls selling everything from spices, herbs and sugary sweets, to painted pottery, straw bags, Berber textiles, leather goods and hanging lanterns. I frequently found myself wishing I had brought a bigger suitcase with me – and momentarily contemplated buying a large leather holdall to transport more souvenirs home with me – but in the end we ended up shopping around for a good few days before deciding what we wanted to take home with us, and which shops we wanted to purchase from. With so many stalls selling similar goods it pays to take your time and be considered in what you’re buying, and pay particular attention to the quality before parting with your cash.
We knew we wanted to take home a traditional Moroccan tea set but, having opted to buy Beldi glasses from Yannass because we felt the quality was far superior (in particular, thicker, more evenly coloured glass), we struggled initially finding a silver teapot and tray that we felt matched. Outside the majority of silverware shops most of the goods on display felt tinny, and overly shiny. Seeing our hesitance, we were ushered into one of the stores and shown a selection of far better quality pieces, kept at the back of the shop. Of course, the price of these was initially quoted as much higher than those on the tables outside, but knowing how many other stores stocked tea-sets we played our cards close to our chest, until the price was reduced to that which we felt appropriate for the set. Haggling is all part of the fun of the souks after all, even if it doesn’t come naturally to us Brits!
Visit: Maison de la Photographie
Stepping away from the relentless hustle of the souks we stumbled upon Marrakech’s photography museum, housed in an elegant old Saadian townhouse that offered a quiet, contemplative, escape from the hubbub outside. A private foundation created by Hamid Mergani and Patrick Manac’h in 2009, the museum houses an impressive collection of over 8,000 photographs, taken between 1870 and 1960, that tell the story of Morocco’s colourful past and provide a fascinating insight into daily life in the Medina. You could definitely spend a good chunk of time wandering the rooms here, and immersing yourself in all the glass negatives, postcards, journals and documentaries on display, many of which look to capture scenes such as those we’d just witnessed out in the Medina but were on closer inspection, taken many years ago. As we wound our way up and through the museum’s rooms, we discovered a delightful rooftop terrace where you could sit awhile with a pot of fragrant mint tea, and take in the stunning panoramic views of the city. Definitely a must-visit, in my opinion!
→Maison de la Photographie, Rue Ahl Fes, Medina, Marrakech, 46 Rue Bin Lafnadek, Marrakesh 400030
Visit: Le Jardin Secret
Another place for those seeking an escape from the chaos of the souks is Le Jardin Secret, a grand palatial complex that was restored to its former glory in 2018. Dating back to the Saadian Dynasty, more than 400 years ago, this inner-city oasis has been designed to celebrate the precious resource of water, encouraging visitors to follow its water channels through the grounds before finding a quiet bench to rest awhile. Decor-wise the garden is characterised by the large presence of Moroccan tadelakt applied on brick and rammed earth walls, complemented by Zellige and green Bejmat mosaic tiles from Fez, along with inlaid cedar wood, hand-carved stuccos around the doors and windows of the two building complexes. The whole place exudes peace and tranquillity and, having arrived mid-afternoon, provided a welcome respite from the scorching sunshine outside in the Medina. There are also two cafés inside the garden, should you wish to sit and enjoy a mint tea, or refreshingly cool drink, whilst admiring the calm beauty of your surrounds.
→Le Jardin Secret, 121 Rue Mouassine, Marrakesh 40000
Shop: Max & Jan
On the opposite site of the street from La Jardin Secret we discovered Max & Jan, a stylish modern lifestyle and fashion store that reminded me somewhat of my favourite Corso Como in Milan, or the former Shop at the Bluebird in London’s Covent Garden. Created by Belgian/Swiss design duo Jan Pauwels and Maximilian Scharl, the brand is a major powerhouse in modern Marrakech, combining Moroccan heritage and craftsmanship with international fashion and flare. The entrance to the store was dominated by a comically large rattan camel, and inside the store unfurls into a warren of rooms filled to the brim with luxury toiletries, high-end fashion labels and stylish home accessories. All of their own brand collections are designed and produced locally, with the brand’s production atelier and head office located in the industrial zone of Sidi Ghanem, just outside Marrakech. The prices are pretty high when viewed in comparison to the goods on offer in the Medina outside, but in line with what you’d expect at similar concept boutiques in other international cities.
→Max & Jan, 14 Rue Amsefah, Sidi Abdelaziz, Route Sidi Abdelaziz, Marrakesh 40000
Eat: Soul Food
Up on the sprawling rooftop of Max & Jan you’ll find Soul Food, a relaxed casual dining restaurant with a modern boho vibe and glorious views across the rooftops of the surrounding Medina. After a long day traipsing around the city it was the perfect place for us to rest our weary feet a while, and lounge back to watch the sun set with a pot of sweet mint tea. If there is one thing I’d recommend doing in Marrakech – or anywhere you visit in Morocco – it’s making sure you order plenty of mint tea! The ritual pouring of the steaming tea from a great height into traditional Beldi glasses is a spectacle to watch – and one most servers take great pleasure in performing – and the combination of minty fresh and sugary sweet is unlike anything I’ve tasted before.
→Soul Food at Max & Jan, 14 Rue Amsefah, Sidi Abdelaziz, Route Sidi Abdelaziz, Marrakesh 40000
Visit: Musée Yves Saint Laurent
We begun our third day in Marrakech taking a taxi north from our riad north to discover a little of the city outside the Medina walls. Our first stop was somewhere I’d been eager to visit ever since it opened in 2017, and its gorgeous tactile terracotta exterior and terrazzo in shades of nougat, grey, pink and putty popped up all over Instagram.
Designed by Studio KO, the Yves Saint Laurent Museum’s understated façade is a fitting tribute to the elegance of the late designer’s couture creations. Inside you will find a significant selection of pieces from the Fondation Pierre Bergé, with 5,000 items of clothing, 15,000 haute couture accessories, and tens of thousands of sketches and assorted objects on display. Its a fashion lover’s dream, but thankfully had just enough quirky architectural details to keep my photography-loving boyfriend entertained as well. The stunning exterior is composed of cubic forms adorned with bricks to create a pattern that resembles the weft and warp of fabric, juxtaposed by the smooth luminosity of the interior that has described as being “like the lining of a luxurious couture jacket.”
Despite the early hour of our visit there was already a significant crowd of visitors gathered outside, and many stylish young women all dressed up and ready to pose in front of the famous YSL logo in the museum’s circular courtyard. To be honest it was all pretty humorous to watch, and luckily we didn’t have to wait too long to get a momentary break in the crowds and grab our own (selfie-free) snap of the architecturally stunning space.
→Musée Yves Saint Laurent, Rue Yves St Laurent, Marrakech 40000
Visit: Jardin Majorelle
Next door to the YSL museum you’ll find the Majorelle Garden, created in the 1930s by two generations of French artists – Louis Majorelle and his son Jacques. We’d been advised to arrive here early in the day to avoid the crowds but, having prioritised the museum first, arrived late morning instead alongside the throng of tourists. It didn’t matter too much, and it was certainly amusing to watch all the Instagrammers posing against the riotous wash of virulent cobalt blue, but if you’re looking for a peaceful garden experience I’d definitely recommend La Jardin Secret in the Medina over Majorelle. As beautiful as the garden itself was, I am always far more drawn to the architecture of a space, and found myself enthralled by the striking contrast of the artists’ former studio (now a museum of Islamic art), against the bamboo groves, great palms and pools floating with water lilies.
→Jardin Majorelle, Rue Yves St Laurent, Marrakech 40000
Visit: Marie Bastide Studio
From Majorelle we decided to take a short stroll along one of the main roads towards the city’s commercial centre and new up-and-coming area, Gueliz. I’d read a lot about the emerging scene in the area and was eager to explore a little, but my main destination was the studio gallery of Marie Bastide. I’d discovered Marie’s work on Instagram a while back and had fallen for her signature red Medina walls, atmospheric palm tree shadows, and hooded subjects.
Her studio opened in October 2019; a light and airy corner shop with a small gallery area upfront showcasing a selection of her photography and postcards, and a curtained-off space for her creative team to work from at the back. Marie herself greeted us as we arrived, and upon seeing my delight at experiencing her photography firsthand, invited us to sit awhile and peruse her catalogue of work. Not only a considered and insightful photographer, Marie also creates delicately etched designs on postcard sized kraft-board, aka les petits cartons, which are also for sale in the shop. It took a while, but I eventually decided on a beautiful print to bring home for our new flat, along with a couple of other postcard designs for good measure. If you look closely at the pile of prints in the box by the door above, you can see the photo I chose!
→Marie Bastide Studio, 68 Angle Boulevard Zerktouni et Rue Tariq Bnou Ziad, Marrakech 40000
Whilst at her gallery we asked Marie for a recommendation for a restaurant nearby for lunch and her immediate response was +61. I’d had it on my list to visit anyway, since it is co-owned by Sebastian de Gzell (the man behind Nomad), but Marie called round for us to ensure there was a table free and assured us we would have an amazing experience there. She was not wrong!
Every meal we ate in Marrakech was pretty wonderful, but our lunch at +61 was hands-down, the best. I knew immediately upon entering that it was ‘my kind of place’; designed to captured the relaxed spirit of Australian lifestyle with a serene open dining room and tables casually laid with simple handmade ceramics by local artisans. Named after Australia’s telephone prefix, the menu at +61 blends the vibrant flavours of the Mediterranean, Middle East, and Southern Asia, with a gentle Moroccan twist.
We started with a dish of calamari, hummus and tomato (an unexpected combination that works so well), before ordering the chicken schnitzel with mash, and the salmon salad with vermicelli and quinoa as mains. Seriously, everything was so delightfully fresh and delicately flavoured, it was a true pleasure to devour, so much so that we felt compelled to stay and order dessert too. Being a true Aussie establishment it felt rude not to order coffee to accompany our polenta cake – in fact, the first coffee we had had outside of our riad – and I can happily report it was very good coffee indeed.
→+61, 96 Rue Mohammed el Beqal, Marrakech 40000
More places to eat & drink:
- Cafe des Épices, a striking building clad in red Marrakesh tadelakt on the opposite side of the Spice Market from Nomad. A slightly more casual affair, we stopped here for mint tea late one afternoon, a spot of people watching, and to see the sun set over the Atlas Mountains from the rooftop terrace, reached via a narrow spiral staircase. The food looked good though; we spied others enjoying tasty-looking burgers, tagines and fluffy omelettes. → Cafe des Épices, 75 Derb Rahba Lakdima, Marrakech 40000
- La Tanjia, a beautiful intimate restaurant named after the traditional Moroccan dish, and recommended to us by Houda at our riad. The food here was so delicious we actually went for dinner here twice during our four night stay! It’s definitely worth making a reservation as it’s a popular place, not just for the quality of the food but also the belly dancers that put on a show most evenings as an accompaniment to your meal. Be warned, they want you to participate in the dancing too! → La Tanjia, Place des Ferblantiers, Marrakech 40000
- La Famille, a picture-perfect little courtyard cafe offering vibrant vegetarian fare. You have to arrive early in the day to enjoy this one though, as they’re open for lunch only and serve a small selection of seasonal daily dishes which sell out fast! It’s close to Bahia Palace so we had intended to eat there after our visit, but sadly were turned away as they’d just served the last dishes of the day despite it only being just after 2. → La Famille, 34 Derb Jdid, Marrakech 40040
- Le Jardin, another one we didn’t quite make it to but which I’ve heard great things about. Spread across a beautifully renovated 16th Century building, Le Jardin looks to be a beautiful green oasis in the Medina, close to Le Jardin Secret, designed by interior architect Anne Favier. Plus it’s a sister restaurant to Nomad, Cafe des Epices and Plus61, so the food is bound to be just as good! → Le Jardin, 32 Souk Jeld Sidi Abdelaziz, Marrakech 40000
- El Fenn, probably the most recognisable of all the boutique riads in Marrakech. We poked our noses into the stylish boutique on the ground floor before taking a sneaky wander around the upper floors en route to the rooftop terrace that houses the cocktail bar and restaurant, which is the only part of the riad truly accessible to non-residents. → El Fenn, Derb Moulay Abdullah Ben Hezzian, 2, Marrakech 40000
More places to shop:
- 33 Rue Majorelle, a modern concept store located across the road from Jardin Majorelle, fusing the made-by-hand skills of the Medina with the chic, calm aura of Paris boutiques such as Colette and Merci. Specialising in modern takes on traditional Moroccan crafts, you can find design-led fashion and beauty products, home textiles, jewellery and ceramics in this two-storey boutique from contemporary Moroccan designers such as Les Maures, Salma Abdel-Wahab, Atelier Nihal and Ewwel. There is also an adjacent café, 16 Kawa, offering modern Moroccan bistro dishes. →33 Rue Majorelle, 33 Rue Yves St Laurent, Marrakech 40000
- Chabi Chic, a petite boutique located downstairs at Nomad, selling contemporary handmade Moroccan lifestyle pieces including coffee cups, bowls, cushions, trays and baskets, alongside a selection of épicerie items. They also have an extensive web store which ships internationally and carries a far greater selection of products, so if you want to save on your luggage allowance you’d be well advised to take a little browse online instead. →Chabi Chic, 1 Derb Aarjane, Marrakech 40000
- V. Barkowski, home of Belgian creative director Valérie Barkowski, is an upmarket interior decor boutique located in old Medina close to Dar el Bacha palace. Showcasing Valérie’s exquisite collections of decorative bed, bath and table linens, the store offers a cool, calm escape from the Medina outside, with dark grey walls and considered, timeless, styling. Sadly we weren’t able to take photos inside, but the quality and design of the pieces made me eager to get a peek inside Valérie’s neraby riad, Dar Kawa – definitely one to consider next time we’re in Marrakesh! →V. Barkowski store, 142 Arset Aouzal Rd, Marrakesh 40000
- LRNCE, the studio of Belgian artist and designer Laurence Leenaert, is one place I really regret not having been able to visit during our trip, mainly because it involved a 20 minute taxi ride out of the city centre to the industrial area Sidi Ghanem, and we literally had no time left to spare! Inspired by the rituals of African tribes, and the palm trees and oversized djellabas that surround her daily life, Laurence has collaborated with several Moroccan artisans since moving to the city, and has painted her fluid, colourful designs across ceramics, carpets and fashion pieces, developing a distinctive style that is instantly recognisable across Instagram. Her eclectic studio space is open for visits on weekday afternoons (14h15 to 18h30), and Saturdays from 10h to 13h. →LRNCE, 59 Sidi Ghanem, Marrakech 40000
More places to visit:
- Jemaa el-Fna, the main open space in Marrakech, which is as old as the city itself. The square throngs day and night with a carnival of local life and is the place for snake charmers, alfresco eating and entertainment once night falls. Watch out for ladies touting their henna services though; most are friendly enough, but one was extremely pushy and night after night would approach out of nowhere, pulling at my arm and jabbing her henna pen close to my hand – eek! →Jemaa el-Fna, Passage Prince Moulay Rachid, Marrakech 40000
- Saadien’s Tombs are one of the only vestiges remaining from the Saadian dynasty which reigned during the so-called “golden age” of Marrakech between 1524 to 1659. Walled up at the beginning of the 18th century by Sultan Moulay Ismaïl, the lavish mausoleums were rediscovered in 1917 and have since been painstakingly cleared and restored to their former glory. The intricacy of the stucco, and colouring of the zellige paving, is simply exquisite, and the whole site is suffused with a sense of calm and tranquil beauty, despite the often heaving crowds. →Saadien’s Tombs, Rue de La Kasbah, Marrakesh 40000
- Koutoubia Mosque is the largest mosque in Marrakech, located in the southwest Medina district and visible from almost every rooftop in the city. It’s construction was completed during the reign of the Berber Almohad Caliph Yaqub al-Mansour (1184-1199), and it’s design is said to have inspired buildings such as the Giralda in Seville, and the Hassan Tower in Rabat. Only Muslims may enter the mosque, but you can still marvel at the beauty of the building from outside, while the grounds surrounding the mosque are peaceful and abundant, making them a perfect place to sit contemplatively for a while and catch up with your thoughts. →Koutoubia Mosque, Medina Jamaa El Fna, Marrakech 40000
- Bab Agnaou is one of the nineteen gates of the city, built in the 12th century during the time of the Almohad dynasty. As the entrance to the Royal Kasbah in the southern part of the Medina, Bab Agnaou is one of the most spectacular structures you’ll find in the city, decorated with inscriptions from the Quran and floral motifs around a shell-like archway. Besides the photo opportunity there’s nothing else to see but if you’re in the area it’s well worth seeking out to see the immense structure for yourself and ponder the feat of it’s construction, all those years ago. →Bab Agnaou, Rue Moulay Ismail, Marrakech 40000
Phew! I hope you’ve enjoyed that epic post, and if you’ve made it all the way down here, well done. Marrakech truly is a beautiful and inspiring place and, even before all that’s happened this past month, I knew it was a place I’d want to return again and again.
Have you visited before? What have I missed off my list?
And if you’ve not been, have I inspired you to plan a trip sometime in the future? I hope so!
All photography © Kate Baxter & Luis Leiva.