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Marrakech Medina

Riad Zitoun El Kdim, Marrakesh 40000, Morocco

Marrakesh medina

The spaghetti explosion of lanes and alleys of the Marrakesh medina are seemingly designed to confuse the unwary visitor, but getting happily lost is part of the fun – you never know what might lie around the next corner. Strike out from the central square of the Djemaa el Fna to explore the many kissarias (covered souqs) and funduqs (courtyard caravan resthouses). The kasbah district contains the city’s royal heritage, while the ancient mellah still bears traces of Marrakesh’s Jewish population. If you do get confused, there’s always someone happy to offer directions, and a café selling mint tea (or shop with a tempting souvenir) is never far away).

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almost 8 years ago
Red Sandstone Alleys of Marrakesh

Red Sandstone Alleys of Marrakesh

The walled Marrakesh medina is fascinating for its souks, the bustling Jemaa el-Fnaa Square and the many museums. But in all of the excitement of Africa's busiest city, don't forget to get lost in the quieter pedestrian alleys that twist and wind between the largest lanes. Here, you will see the original sandstone hues that have been with Marrakesh for a thousand years, and you'll be able to glimpse more intimately into the lives of the people who live here. One or two alleys will not do. If you spend lots of time in these alleys, you are sure to see unique elements of architecture and city life. At different times of day, sunlight will reflect off the sandstone walls, giving the alleys the same majestic hues you see in the American Southwest.
almost 8 years ago
Fruit & Vegetables Souk

Fruit & Vegetables Souk

Just of Djemma el Fna is a great little fruit & vegetable souk. All the produce on display is always fresh & has been grown locally. Not many visitors seem to find this place & it is always filled with locals. Walk down from Cafe France & just before the cafes you will see an opening on your left hand side. Pop in & have a look & you will be pleasantly surprised!
AFAR Traveler
AFAR Contributor
over 7 years ago

Shopping Marrakech’s Medina

Thread your way through the carpet-buying scrum to Boutique Bel Hadj in Place Bab Fteuh, lined with antique necklaces made of African amber, coral, and turquoise beads. Also worth a look: the Tuareg and Fulani silver rings at Galery Marjana in the Quartier Mouassine. —Cynthia Rosenfeld
almost 8 years ago

Graffiti In Marrakech's Medina

We saw this intriguing graffiti on our way back to the Riad Maizie from a get-acclimated jaunt to the bustling square Djemma Al Fna that is the heart of the Medina. It was not created in a prominent place, just lovingly rendered on the wall next to a dry cleaner's stall. So easy to miss this unlikely art on our second day, when we were still wary of finding our way amongst the uneven stones of the street, the children darting in and out, and the motor scooters weaving between walkers, often within a hair's breadth of the odd arm or leg. So easy to miss - and therefore such an unexpected treat, happening to glance over to see the girl's flowing hair and enigmatic expression.
almost 8 years ago

Sweets In The Medina

This souk was located in the large market area within Marrakech's ancient walled city, the Medina. Narrow, winding streets open only to foot traffic are lined with stall after stall of every kind of item imaginable, from the expected woven wool rugs to the unexpected live chickens. Although these exquisitely wrought sweets beckoned to us with their beautiful colors and sugar glazed sheen, once we got close enough to choose one the bees crawling on them became apparent, and we lost our appetites as we didn't want to fight the insects for the food. I thought it ironic that the sweets in the lowest dishes were covered in plastic, to prevent contamination from people walking by.
almost 8 years ago

Fabric Merchant

In the giant market of the old walled section of Marrakech, souk-lined streets are filled with tourists searching for souvenirs and bargains. Many souks sell the same crafts, and if a merchant catches your eye or sees you slowing your gait to look in his stall you are likely to hear a rapid-fire sales pitch or be invited in to smell, taste, touch or otherwise witness the superior quality of his wares. That is why this gentleman caught my eye. Amidst all the frenetic calls from the souks to experience and ultimately buy, this man sat calmly in front of his stall, watching the stream of people pass by. His content smile and placid manner reminded me of a Buddha uncharacteristically placed in the midst of the busy Moslem market.
almost 8 years ago

Carpet Shopping in Marrakech

“Get out. Go. I won’t sell to you,” cried the shopkeeper, waving his hands. I exited, down the steps. Twice. Each time, the man ran after me, entreating: “Come back, come back.” After two hours, I owned a 2’x3’ Berber carpet. For a student traveling on a severely restricted budget, the $75 price was rich. Some years later, I returned to Marrakech. I knew I would buy another carpet, as the one I previously purchased had been stolen. Did the shop still exist? Could I find it? Wandering Souk Semmarine, I spot something familiar: concrete steps leading up into a shop, the only one with steps. My heart pounds with excitement as I recount my story, in French, to the owner of Aux Merveilles de Marrakech. Throwing his head back with a laugh, Saïd exclaims: “Oh, that was grandfather! We don’t do business like that any more. Everybody friend. Big discount.” Perusing the copious stacks of woven art, my wife and I pull several aside. “How much?" Grimacing solemnly at Saïd’s reply, I declare in carefully rehearsed Arabic: “Your carpets are very expensive.” “Big discount for friends. Hillary Clinton bought here,” retorts Saïd, and the haggling continues. In Morocco, it is customary to conduct business over mint tea. My wife protests, leery of drinking local water. Saïd claps his hands. A helper rushes out of the shop, returning with bottled water. Impasse resolved. We are soon drinking tea, and complete our purchase of four exquisite tribal carpets.
almost 8 years ago

Psychological Testing: How to Deal With the Medina Hustling in 4 Funny {and Serious} Ways

On to my 9th city in Morocco, I finally arrived the hot and touristy Marrakesh! I was tested right away the night I arrived the city. While I was looking like an idiot carrying my big bags, a man in the Medina grabbed me and said, “Konichiwa!” Dude, seriously, you cannot do that in Asia. Francisco comes to the rescue. “You know what, in Asia, it’s very rude to do that to women. Please respect your cultural differences.” I wasn’t offended because I know the he meant well. I think the Moroccans just don’t know how to send their message in an acceptable manner that’s why foreigners always reject them. The man then replied, “bad tourists.” Okay, if you say so. I have been here for 7 weeks and I can say that I pretty much did a great job in dealing with these people. Here in Marrakesh, I’ve seen a lot of foreigner still falling for the trap so I made a decision to share how I do it. Most of the time, I overhear their conversations and man, they are really being ripped off! I can’t believe they don’t fight back. If you travel to Morocco and a hustler offers help, always remember that you are a traveler and that, you do not need assistance. You can find your way, right? I have tried many ways on how to approach these people with respect and without leading to any arguments.
over 6 years ago

Inside the Ramparts

Marrakech is one of Morocco's indisputable jewels, and its souks have been attracting visitors—and shoppers—for centuries. The heart of the old medina is the Djemaa el Fna, a public square out of the pages of One Thousand and One Nights, with snake charmers, musicians, acrobats, and open-air restaurants. This lively street culture contrasts with the beautiful minaret of the nearby 12th-century Koutoubia Mosque, which speaks to the city's tradition of learning as well as trade.