Panorama, Culture, 2
In a nutshell A walking tour to explore the heart of the city with its architectural treasures and its colours and its aromas of life among its alleyways and souks.
Good to know
- * Medina
- * Koutoubia Mosque
- * Typical traditional lunch
- * Bahia
- * Medina: Riad and Foundouk
- * Saadian Tombs (internal visit)
- * Talaa Square
- * Ben
- * The souks
- * Jemaa el Fna Square
- * Berber Pharmacy
- * As we arrive in Casablanca we leave our coach in the vicinity
of Marrakech's **medieval bastions** and we proceed on foot in the oldest
part of the city, the **medina**. Marrakech, the capital of the province of
Marrakech, is the city that has always epitomized the 'Moroccan
dream' of inquisitive travellers and incurable romantics. Located at the
foot of the High-Atlas Mountains in a fertile region, it is Morocco's most
famous imperial city.
- * Accompanied by our guide, we reach the **Koutoubia
Mosque** (or the booksellers mosque), that was built in the 12th century and
owes its name to the fact that in the past the area around the building was a
focal point for booksellers. The muezzin calls the city's faithful to prayer
every day from its splendid and impressive minaret, a masterpiece of
Hispano-Moorish art. * At lunchtime we have the opportunity to taste some
**typical dishes** of the local cuisine. * Our excursion proceeds with a
visit to the **Bahia Palace**, built around 1880 by the Vizier Ba Ahmed,
Prime Minister of the Sultan of Marrakech. This lavish building is a true
masterpiece of Moroccan art, so much so that its architectural charm has been
chosen as the set for many famous films including 'Ali Baba and the
Forty Thieves', 'Lion in the Desert' and
- * We now go into to the heart of the **medina** and,
together with our guide, venture into the maze of its thousand and one
alleyways teeming with frenetic daily activities to discover the **riads**,
the old dwellings of the Moroccan gentry with lush courtyards and refined
decorations which render Marrakech a city of unrivalled charm beyond. It is
impossible not to remain spellbound by the succession of striped
multi-coloured walls, doors inlaid with decorations from a thousand and one
nights and scenes of daily life where time seems to have stopped centuries
- We then go near a **Fondouk**, an old merchants' hotel before stopping
at Saadian Tombs. It was the sultan Ahmad al-Mansur, of the Saadi dynasty, who ordered the tombs to be constructed at the end of the 16th century. The structure is completed with vaulted roof, fine carvings, Italian marble and beautiful zellij tiles. It is here, in the Chamber of Twelve Columns, that sultan Ahmad al-Mansur and his family have found their final resting place in impressive marble tombs.
- * As we cut across the
**Talaa Square**, we can view the **Ben Youssef Mosque** from outside. * From
here we venture into the world of the Marrakech **souks** where we are
welcomed and embraced by rich colours and aromas. As we go from the
blacksmiths' souk to the *babouches* souk and all the way to the Semmarine
souk in the alleyways covered with canes and lanterns we can admire the rich
local crafts and the colourful setting created by a myriad of spices,
mountains of dried fruit, typical sweets and delicious olives.
- * At our last
stop we go to Morocco's most famous square: **Jemaa el Fna Square**, a true
'Court of Miracles' teeming with a heterogeneous and multicoloured
crowd; dancers, singing storytellers, snake charmers and monkey trainers.
This square, which is the beating heart of the city, was designated a
Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2001. A
true synthesis of the many facets of Marrakech, the image of this square will
be our last impression of Morocco, an authentic and fascinating image indeed!
- * Before boarding the coach for our return to Casablanca we have some free
time for some *shopping in a typical Berber Pharmacy**.
Good to know
- * This excursion lasts approximately 13 hours, of which 8 hours
are spent travelling by coach.
- * As this excursion is conducted mainly on
foot, you are advised to wear comfortable shoes.
- * This excursion is not
recommended for guests with mobility problems.
- * The itinerary may be subject
Due to restoration work in progress, the Koranic School Medersa Ben Youssef will not be open to tourist visits. Instead, this visit will be replaced by the beautiful Saadian Tombs.