Explore the Mystical and Magical City of Marrakesh with us

May 7th  – Medina of Marrakesh and the Bahia Palace, Morocco

Vibrant blue jumps out against the earthen walls

Vibrant blue jumps out against the earthen walls

Marrakesh, the “Red City” or “City of Ochre”, is exotic and historical. It sucks you into her bosom and fills you with wonder and awe. Around every corner awaits another alleyway to explore where you can discover something else that will enchant and entertain.

Established in 1062, her rich history is everywhere, but most evident within the walls of the old fortified portion of the city, the medina. UNESCO named the old town a World Heritage sight in 1985. 

Intricate tile work

Intricate tile work

A few days earlier we had the privilege of exploring the even larger medina in Fez, but I was equally enamored by the old streets of Marrakesh.

“Since the independence of Morocco, Marrakesh has thrived as a tourist destination. In the 1960s and early 1970s the city became a trendy “hippie mecca”. It attracted numerous western rock stars and musicians, artists, film directors and actors, models, and fashion divas, leading tourism revenues to double in Morocco between 1965 and 1970. Yves Saint Laurent, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Jean-Paul Getty all spent significant time in the city” ~ Wikipedia

A photographers paradise, I knew I had died and gone to heaven as I captured ancient doors, earthen walls, marketplaces filled with vibrant offerings, women dressed in their flowing djellaba, playful kittens, and friendly smiling faces.

Muslim women in their colorful flowing djellaba

Muslim women in their colorful flowing djellaba

I don’t know where the “real” Morocco starts and ends, but I hope that this collection of photos will give you a good example of what we saw and experienced while walking through the medina.

A food stall overflowing with fresh fruits and vegetables

A food stall overflowing with fresh fruits and vegetables

1

Buckets and battered pots

Lamp offerings similar to what was seen in the Grand Bazar in Istanbul

Lamp offerings similar to what was seen in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul

Playful kitten battles a broom

Playful kitten battles a broom

A lone bike waiting to be reclaimed

A lone bike waiting to be reclaimed

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A visit to the Bahia Palace, where 360 rooms were once adorned with Italian marble and Sudanese gold. Again it is the detail in the ceilings that most catches my eye. The grand vizier of the sultan lived here with his four wives and numerous concubines.

Just one of many jaw dropping ceilings at Bahia Palace

Just one of many jaw dropping ceilings at Bahia Palace

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We also saw the richly decorated tombs of the Saadi Dynasty.

The 12th-century Koutoubia Mosque, has a towering minaret topped with four copper globes. It is from this tower that the muezzin call the faithful for prayer five times a day.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

An interesting bit of trivia, I learned that the office of muezzin was sometimes given to a blind man. This would prevent him from looking down into the homes or courtyards and therefore violating someones privacy. We also learned that the square-shaped minaret is indicative of the Berber (Amazigh) construction vs. the round style found in most of the muslim world.

The walls of the old city are where the city gets its nickname, the “red city”. They stand 19 feet (5.8 meters) tall, are made out of an orange-red clay and chalk and have 20 gates and 200 towers along them. We exited through Bab Agnaou which was built in the 12th century.

Bab Gate

Bab Agnaou Gate

We had the opportunity to shop for authentic Moroccan jewelry at a shop known for its quality silver. I rarely purchase anything while we travel, but a necklace caught my attention and my hubby splurged on an early Mother’s Day gift for me.

DSC08127

I’m not sure what the stones are. Perhaps opal and turquoise and ???

The Jemaa el-Fnaa is one of the best-known squares in Africa. You can find anything from Snake Charmers to acrobats to monkey trainers to pickpockets. It was only mildly crowded mid-afternoon, but was hopping with life when we returned later in the evening on our optional horse-drawn carriage ride.

Main square in the afternoon

James el-Fnaa (Main Square) in the afternoon

The horse carts were everywhere.

The horse-drawn carts were everywhere.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The evening was topped off with an Arabian folklore show and dinner that included classic Moroccan music and elegant belly dancing with a whirling dervish performance.

Setting where dinner was held

Setting where dinner was held

Our musical entertainment gave us a warm welcome

Our musical entertainment gave us a warm welcome

Whirling Dervish style dance

Whirling Dervish style dance

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Overnight: Riad Bahia Salam, Marrakesh

GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful for the way Marrakesh embraced us. I did not come here with any pre-conceived ideas of what to expect other than it had been highly recommended by dear friends who had loved it. We had a long day, filled with sights that ranged from poverty to splendor, ancient to modern, and traditional to hip. We were entertained and ate a glorious assortment of delicious foods. Another day that made me feel lucky to be alive…

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our "next chapter". At a stage in life where traveling the world, taking pictures, and sharing our adventures with friends and family will be our dream come true.
This entry was posted in Africa, Morocco and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Explore the Mystical and Magical City of Marrakesh with us

  1. The colors and the doorways and the architecture is epic. (So is your necklace.) I would love to go some day. I love seeing photos whenever anyone posts about it. Thanks so much for sharing the detail.

    Like

  2. Merrill says:

    Ancient history, beautiful architecture, friendly faces, good food…I’d like to go!

    Like

  3. paperpopups says:

    Thank you for a great write up with wonderful photos.

    Like

  4. ardysez says:

    I totally agree with all the compliments above. Your travel posts are very informative as well as entertaining and well done. Marrakesh looks amazing. The food looks delicious and that necklace is a beautiful piece. Thank you!

    Like

    • I’m honored that we are able to share our amazing trips, both near and far with others. Marrakesh, and all the other places we have gotten to explore throughout Morocco as well as the food have been so much more than I could have imagined. I’m pretty excited to wear my necklace with an appropriate outfit when I get home and not just my casual travel clothes 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Wonderful post that confirms my desire to return to Marrakesh. The food looks fabulous!
    Alison

    Like

  6. I lived in Marrakesh during the 70s and have revisited the city three times in the last decade with my wife. It is indeed an interesting and seductive city – which your excellent photographs clearly depict. We intend to revisit it when next we are in the northern hemisphere.

    Like

  7. GeorgieMoon says:

    Morocco is somewhere I have never been, but your photos make me more determined to go there one day. As you say, a photogrspher’s dream! Love the necklace! Keep up the good work!

    Like

  8. SHIRLEY MALONE says:

    Very nice.

    Like

  9. Great color photos, Tim and Joanne. really liked the whirling dervish as well. –Curt

    Like

    • Thank you Curt. We were fortunate to have seen the Whirling Dervishes in Turkey and sat in amazement as several of them spun around the stage, faster and faster, with eyes closed. How they managed to not fall down or run into each other boggles the mind. It was fun to be reminded of this when watching this beautiful lady perform for us. First a seductive belly dance followed by this performance. So talented…

      Like

  10. I love the sights and sounds and colors of Marrakesh. Nice photos… Brings back memories.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s