Eat, drink and be happy. Ride the rails! – Explore Marrakech city

Marrakech city was established back in the 11th century by the Sultan Youssef Ibn Tachfin, the first of the Moroccan Almoravide dynasty.

The Kingdom of Morocco is a country in the northwest of Africa and belongs to the Maghreb. The country is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean in the West, by the Mediterranean Sea in the North, by Algeria in the East, and by Mauritania in the South. The administrative capital is Rabat, the economic capital is Casablanca, which is also the largest metropolis of the country. Morocco has about 33 million inhabitants (2012). Morocco has a rich history and culture. Marrakech is an intoxicating city known for its souks, spices, snake charmers and hidden palaces, though these days it’s prized as much for its trendy art galleries, hip hotels and elegant hammams. Offering a tantalising taste of Africa within easy reach of Europe, it certainly lives up to the hype, and not only thanks to its fabled ancient medina. It is to the medina, however, that most visitors will gravitate. The ageless city of blushing pink stone has waylaid desert caravans since the 11th century, with travelers succumbing to the charms of its bluesy Gnaoua music, calls to prayer and elaborate feasts. Its dark, narrow alleyways are full of artisan workshops, shrines and sprawling markets, and riads.

These traditional courtyard guesthouses range from palatial oases to smaller, more intimate affairs. Over 1,000 years old; Marrakech has long enchanted writers; film stars; colonialists; con artists; fashion icons; hippies and rock stars. It is Morocco’s most popular destination; receiving over 30 percent of all visitors. From the exotic souks of the medina to the Westernised glamour of the Ville Nouvelle; Marrakech is a riot of contradictions and extremes – at once African and Arab; Eastern and Western; desert town and modern city; religious and secular; elegant and rough-edged. Marrakech can also seem daunting; but the best way to enjoy the city is to surrender to it; a visit here is all about getting lost; letting go and opening up to whatever experience or encounter comes your way.; The city is a vibrant centre of trade and increasingly the focus of all foreign investment in Morocco.

The Moroccan cuisine is often considered as one of the most delicious cuisines in the world. It is a varied cuisine, which was influenced by the Arabs, Berbers, Jews and Africans. There are numerous traditional dishes based on meat or fish and fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs such as tajine, couscous, pastilla, skewer, harira (soup) and fresh salads.

Marrakech today is expanding rapidly with riads in the medina being bought and renovated; five-star hotels such as the Four Seasons and Mandarin Oriental opening and satellite suburbs under constant construction. Marrakech was founded by the Almoravids; religious nomads who emerged from the south to build their capital on the Tensift River in 1062. Austere; veiled warriors – much like the Tuareg – they built a walled kasbah and mosque that eventually became the capital of an empire that not only united all of modern Morocco; but also most of Spain and much of Algeria. Under the leadership of Youssef Ben Tashfine; Marrakech became a cosmopolitan centre of culture and learning with Andalusian-style mosques and palaces. The legacy of the Almoravids remains most tangibly in the city’s walls and system of underground irrigation channels that fed the new city and its fabulous gardens. Marrakech is the capital of the mid-southwestern region of Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz; close to the foothills of the High Atlas Mountains.

The Jemaa el Fna is the heart of the city; which is divided between the medina; the French-built New Town (ville nouvelle); Gueliz; and the suburbs. Arabic is the official language; but many people speak Amazigh (Berber language) and French. English is increasingly spoken in tourist areas. Marrakech has a dry climate with hot summers and cool winters. The best time for visiting is between March and June and from September to December. There is usually snow on the High Atlas from December to April/ May.

The Moroccan currency is the Dirham (MAD). One Euro is about 11 Dirham. In almost all cities, it is possible to get cash with your MasterCard (you can get an authorization to withdraw money abroad in the bank at home). You can change money at airports, banks, post offices, exchange offices, In many hotels, restaurants and shops you can pay with Visa and MasterCard.

 AgadirCasablancaChefchaouenEssaouiraFezMarrakechMeknesRabatTangierTetouan–  The high atlas- Djamaa El FnaMajorelle GardensMedinaEl Bahia PalaceSaadian TombsKoutoubia Minaret & Koutoubia GardensAli Ben Youssef MedersaEl Badi PalaceMenara GardensMarrakech Museum

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