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Tourism in Morocco: The colors of Marrakesh

The name Marrakech derives from “mur akush”, an expression whose Berber meaning is something like “divine earth”. Thus, it becomes one of the most sought after tourist destinations in Morocco – Africa. After all, how not to be seduced by its colours? Visiting such a vibrant and colourful city is good for humour. At least for those who are open to receive not only the colours, but also the flavours, the smells and sounds of Marrakesh. All very accentuated.

The Souks colours

souks marrakesh

The souks of Marrakech are the largest in Morocco and famous worldwide as some of the most exotic markets to shop in the world. For first time visitors, it can be a disconcerting experience as they are a maze of colours, smells, flavours and vendors attracting attention. But above all, what really drives us crazy after a while exploring the souks, are the motorcycles that move non-stop and freely between the narrow corridors. 

However, as good tourists we are, we won’t fix the negative side, much less let details disturb our mood. So the best is to enter the maze of alleys and passages that make up the bazaars of Marrakech. They will take you to a world full of multicoloured carpets, pashmina, spices, antiques, lanterns, ceramics, jewellery and many trinkets. So, the best way to approach the sensory overload of Marrakech souks is to take a deep breath and dive.

The colours of the Majorelle Garden

Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé acquired Jardin Majorelle to save it from destruction at the hands of hotel developers. They then decided to live in the village of Jacques Majorelle, which they renamed Villa Oasis.

Today, Jardin Majorelle, with more than 9,000 m², is one of the most charming and visited gardens in Morocco. Created over forty years, it is surrounded by bold colours that blend Art Deco and Moorish architectural influences. 

The French painter Jacques Majorelle conceived this exuberant garden as a sanctuary and a kind of botanical laboratory, with exotic specimens from the most distant corners of the world.

It’s really a beautiful place, so don’t be intimidated by the long lines to enter this garden. Just relax and have fun with tourists from all over the world. Because most people who do tourism in Morocco come to Marrakesh to visit it.

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The colours of the herbal market

Rahba Lakdima – also known as the Herb Square, or herb markets, is certainly the epicentre of the medina in Marrakesh.

Full of indescribable energy and high tension colours, in the market we find from mysterious herbalists to spice traders selling everything from snake skins to rose petals to Ras el hanout (the famous Moroccan spice blend).

The biggest movement is around 4 pm when the sellers come down from the mountain villages.

In the middle of the herbs, we still find sellers of carpets, braided baskets and hats. It is a real spectacle that can be watched in a relaxed way from one of the surrounding cafes.

The colours of the flavours

The colourful landscapes and the aromas of dried spices in the souks and the infinity of fresh fruits and vegetables in the streets make it clear that this city has many culinary surprises waiting to be discovered.

The colours of Jemaa el-Fna

Jemaa el-Fna is the central square of Marrakesh and has been charming visitors and locals for a millennium.

They are musicians, sellers, magicians, snake charmers, animals, games, at last, a party. But everything has a price. If you want to make a movie or a photo, immediately someone from the group comes to charge you. The musicians at the moment you watch them, someone appears on your side and asks you for money. The most aggressive were the snake charmers. They came in a gang and cursed a lot because I said I wouldn’t pay because I didn’t have a decent image. I even planned to make a video, for which I would pay without problems if they were nicer. With that authoritarian attitude I don’t pay. 

The care we should have

The only time in Marrakesh and I felt threatened was when one of these women offering henna tattoos tried to steal my ring. 

I was in the central square at night when she approached and offered the service. I said no and she insisted. I insisted back and she grabbed my hand and tried to pull the ring from my finger. In a quick reflex, I gave her an elbow and she disappeared. 

These women cover their faces with a veil not to be recognized. In other words, they really are bandits. So just threaten them by saying that you will call the police and they will disappear. You don’t have to elbow them. 

 

The same night a pigeon tamer tried to put a pigeon on my head to earn some money. My husband, who is 1.90, said, “I don’t know why these things only happen with you. I with my 1.67 just looked over his head and asked, “Why don’t they try to put a pigeon on your head?

The colours of the Secret Garden

Many people discover this garden by chance because it is not in many guides. Nevertheless, it is very visited, because it is inside Medina and is extremely pleasant. A real oasis for a little relaxation from crowded souks. The garden is inside one of the oldest Riad de Marrakesh and keeps its structure intact.

The colours of Riads Hotels

If you want to have a complete experience in Marrakesh, I advise you to stay in a Riadh. They are houses or palaces with a garden or patio inside. Together with the beautiful architecture, the atmosphere of these places is magical. Besides, the Riads are usually small, managed by a family and bring immediately the peace we need to relax after a full day. 

Attention! Some Riads are really in the middle of labyrinths in Medina. Ours need to travel 3 minutes between alleys that can be a bit unpleasant. So better ask the distance and if the area is safe before making the reservation.

Another thing that happened was, the people from Riad informed us that there was a taxi service to meet us at the airport. When we arrived the driver was really waiting for us. What we were not informed was that we would need to pay for this service, which cost $25.00. So, ask us everything to avoid unpleasant surprises. 

The colours seen from the terraces

One of the most typical things in Marrakesh are the terraces. After all, they are in the Riads, stores, houses, cafés and restaurants. The terraces of Marrakesh are really a sensational space to relax in the late afternoon, eat something regional and enjoy the view. 

What should I wear?

Body exposure too unnecessary for an Arab country
Comfort and the more covered body give us more security and freedom

It is quite common that we Westerners, when visiting an Arab country, have doubts about what to wear. After all, when we think about Arabs, we think about women from Burca and men from Thoba.

Marrakesh is relatively an open city because being one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world, it receives people from different cultures.

You can dress normally, comfortable, with good sense. I believe that nobody needs to expose the body when visiting a country that people don’t. It’s a matter of respect. In this case, a shirt with short sleeves, long pants are still the best option for men and women. Women can also opt for a comfortable dress or skirt.

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