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Top 10 Places to visit in Morocco

Morocco Travel Series The Top Ten places to visit in Morocco

Morocco is one of the most diverse countries the world and certainly in the recent years it’s growing out to become the No. 1 tourist destination on its own right. Today’s numerous economical flights, which now fly to over 6 cities in Morocco enable anyone to drop there and spend a great weekend in one of the beautiful cities of the country. No matter if you want to do a cultural exploration of the Islamic – Oriental- Northern African cultural heritages, if you want a culinary tour, or some days of Sun-Sea-Sand, you can now combine all these when in Morocco.
In this article I would like to provide you some guidance on what I think are the top 10 things you shouldn’t miss out on trying or doing when in Morocco.
Visit the Old District of Fez Having the biggest, untouched oriental souk (Medieval market) quarter in the whole world (also the biggest city area without any car traffic in the whole world) Fez is one of the most uniq…

My Ultimate Guide to Marrakech -Part 3

Part 3

Top 5 Places in Marrakech for the most authentic photoshoots

I thought to select the places which are by far the best for taking photos as they reflect the richness of Moroccan arts and architecture back in the day. These places are all beautiful, some of the best examples of Andalusian/Islamic architecture styles and so it’s all logical that they serve as the perfect Morocco photospot for many ( with all the best reasons) extremely popular, so be prepared for long queues ( except off-season).
Also, I do my best to be as interesting as possible when representing these places. Ill do my best not to get lost in too many details and not to turn as dry as most travel guides undeniably and unavoidably do.
And before I forget: dedicate a separate day to visiting most of these attractions. So that you can see all of them with fresh eyes.

Bahia Palace:

Bahia Palace amazing reflection
Amazing reflection of the light through the glazed wondows

So, what counted as a double show-off in the Islamic world in the Middle East? Not only building a castle, that can be done by any king but building a castle specifically for the concubines, now that’s a big deal. Now, count in the fact that the palace has around 160 rooms? All in all I think we can safely draw the conclusion that kings in those ages were not too bored, even without TV or owning any exciting gadgets. It’s quite surprising that this palace was in fact not built in the Middle Ages but rather late, with the building finished in 1900. Built as a real specialty for Ahmed ibn Moussa, they wanted this castle to be the most beautiful castle ever, so they went to great lengths in achieving that. You will instantly realize this once you are there because everything is so beautifully and eloquently built and decorated, not to mention the huge Arabic style garden that accompanies the palace. You could literally spend days over here with just taking photos. I could write pages about the Alawi style and other artistic attributes, but honestly, I think it’s just better for you to find out about all those by yourselves if interested.
As with everything in Morocco, you will get ahead much easier and learn way more if you hire a guide.
How to get there:  it’s very easy as it’s in the very downtown. You either take a 20 minute walk straight along Rue Riad Zitoun Lakdim then take a left turn when you get to the Hopital Riad al Mokha or you simply catch a cab and you are there in 5 minutes.

Check out my Bahia Palace Pinterest Album!  - coming in a few days!

Ben Youssef Madrasa:

If you are interested in arts and architecture then this place will be your new hub. The school wad once the largest islamic school all across Northern Africa that says a thing or two about its importance. The place is literally stacked with tons of breathtakingly beautiful examples of the Medieval Moorish-Andalusian style Islamic art that has since become the staple all across the Islamic world. This building is one of the oldest still functioning religious schools in the world. It has been built back in the 14th so it counts as a real remain. If someone knows a thing or two about Moroccan history then they may already know that the biggest rival of this famous school was in fact in Fés which gives home to the oldest school ( madrasa) in the whole world. It’s hard to compete against such a resumé. Although the school is not officially a school any longer it has a great deal of historical and religious writings which makes plenty of people visit and use it as a library per se. The Ben Youssef Madrasa ( or Medersa) is open to the public since 1982 and it’s one of the best ever religious and islamic artwork related sites in the world.

How to get there:  the Madrasa is literally the other part of the Medina which starts from the Jamaa El F’na and while it’s still downtown it’s best to get there with a cab.
While you are there use the time to check out the nearby lying: Mosquée Ben Youssef, La Qoubba Arts Gallery, the large Musée de Marrakech and the Maison de la Photographie de Marrakech. You will be able to enter in them all ( except for the mosque) for a small entrance fee.
Check out my Ben Youssef Madrasa Pinterest Album! - coming in a few days!

Saadian Tombs:

Saadian Tombs Marrakech
Reflecting the old beauty of Islamic Arts - Saadian Tombs

This place, which is now one of the biggest historical attractions in Marrakech on its own right was once forgotten.. for a few centuries thanks to a dynasty change in the meantime. Saadi is the name of the dynastic that has rule Morocco in the 14th century and the place was used as a very elite cemetery for the kings of Saadi family, including Ahmad al Mansur who ruled the country ntil 1603. Then in the 1670s came the switching of dynasties with Moulay Ismail being the first ruler of the Alawite Dynasty getting on throne.

And as is with many kings, he didn’t want people to keep the memory of any previous kings too deep in their hearts. Therefore he closed down the tombs and simply left them neglected. The neglect has become so long term that people in fact forgotten about the place until someone has seen it from a helicopter by accident in 1907 which was the time European archaeologists have started to have some breakthrough ruin discoveries all over the Middle Eastern and Northern African regions. With that, the tombs were suddenly „found” they went through a long and exhausting restoration process until the place gained back its old light. And it’s a place which is well worth visiting, featuring shining examples of 14th century Islamic arts.

How to get there: the good news is, that Saadian Tombs are very close to the downtown area, its about 10-15 min walk from Jamaa El F’na along Bab Agnaou by the beautiful Kashbah Mosque and in fact just a short walk from the Ben Youssef Madrasa.
Tips and advice: bring hat, plenty of fluid and sunscreen. This is an open place featuring 2 large and 66 smaller tombs with 100 other graves also occupying its area.
Check out my Saadian Tombs Pinterest Album! - coming in a few days!

Al Koutoubia Mosque:

Al Koutoubia Marrakech
The majestic Al Koutoubia Mosque

When you are in Marrakech, there is no possible way for you NOT to see Al Koutubiya Mosque because it’s the tallest, largest mosque of the city and it’s also the mosque which rules the very downtown of the city, being only a stone’s throw from the world famous Jamaa El F’na square, where basically every tourist goes from morning to night.
Located in the middle of a large park, with elegant fountains, beautiful palm trees, the mosque is largely considered being the very middle of the city, the downtown and everyone comes here who would love to visit the Jamaa el Fna too. This is an always crowded always noisy area full of people, buses, cars, donkeys and more!

To tell you some of the dry facts too: the minaret of the mosque is 77 m tall, it’s a great representation of the beautiful islamic art and it was built between 1184 and 1199 during the reign of Caliph Yaqub al Mansoor. The whole structure is build of red stone and the minaret is built of sandstone. As most of today’s modern Marrakech was built during the time French ruled Morocco, they also had a tremendous role in the designing of the city’s structure and according to that structure Mosque al Koutoubiya served as a hub from where many of the main roads start ( or end for that matter). The modern city part  which is right along the Avenue Mohamed V is called the Ville Nouvelle ( new city in French) and to add something interesting: the name of the mosque derives from the word „bookseller” because at one time its base and the street leading to the mosque gave place to a hundred bookselling stands. Al Koutoubiya is designed and built in Almohad style.

Interesting fact: the mosque has 6 rooms right above each other for the king and his harem. The unique way of building the rooms helped people never to know in which room the harem was so it prevented anyone to be able to watch it from the minaret.
The walking distance between the Jamaa el Fna and the Mosque is only 200 metres and the huge square also serves as a central bus station so expect tons to happen there all in the same time.

Jardin Majorelles:

This is one of the most spectacular modern attractions to see in Marrakech and it’s receiving tons of visitors on a daily basis, alone and in guided tours likewise. Learn everything about the Majorelle Gardens by reading my previous blog by clicking on the name itself:

I hope you found this blog helpful,  the next 5 attractions will be up very shortly. 

Please check out my Morocco Album on Pinterest alongside the single albums for each attraction.

Do you have a Marrakech memory? Please share it with me and let's make a real conversation over here.


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