About Marrakech – Learn all about Marrakech
Marrakech has become the Moroccan tourism capital in the latest ten years, so it is quite usual to have tourists all over the year. Marrakech is known as the red city and is one of the most important former imperial cities in Moroccan history, with its alleys and minarets. It is inside the Medina that the life of the people who live there takes place and where the tourists enjoy to be. Outside the Medina there is the modern city. Thus, Marrakech turns out to be the perfect combination between the new and the old. You can leave Marrakech, but you will always remember it by its odours, its music, its people and its life.
In Marrakech, almost everything is negotiable and you have to be prepared for the art of bargaining, which is culturally disseminated among the Moroccans, but do not engage in such a campaign if you are not willing to buy, otherwise it would be offensive. Djemaa el Fna is the most exciting place to be in Marrakech, the place where everything happens. It is the main square of the city, [and a place] where locals and tourists have fun together. As you arrive in Djemaa el Fna, if it is daylight there are the orange juice stalls, chained apes so you can photograph them, and sellers of almost everything such as handbags, shoes and food. The water sellers are a picturesque attraction of the square with their large hats and colorful clothes. There are also the snake charmers – you have to pay to photograph them. Everyone tries to sell you something and you have to bargain.
At night, the square wakes up for another life. There are more people seeing the dancers, the musicians, the story-tellers with Berber tales and peddlers. At night, part of the square is occupied by dozens of food-stalls that are like restaurants in the open air. Djemaa el Fna is Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, to protect their traditions and cultural diversity. Near Djemaa el Fna, you will also find the souks, that are like shops to buy everything you want. Djemaa El-Fna is surrounded by labyrinths and alleys of souks covering all the Medina.
If you want to stay inside the Medina you have to stay in a Riad that is a typical Moroccan house. Outside the Medina you have a new city. With hotels and modern restaurants, bars and discos where tourists have fun. If you want, you can go on a tour in a caleche (a carriage with horses) and discover the inside of the Medina. You have to be careful so you don’t get lost inside the souks when you go shopping.
Most Moroccans are tourist-friendly. The inhabitants of Marrakech are used to the tourists so they try to earn money by giving directions. You don’t have to accept that. Just say no, if you don’t want to. Some of them will often lead you round in circles or take you to places you don’t know to increase the amount. Others will also say that the souks are closed so that they can take you to other souks, where they have discount. However, Moroccan can’t guide foreigners without a license and police is usually in control of the situation.