Culture & Travel25 December 2023
Nestled on the winding slopes of the majestic Atlas Mountains, Marrakech stands as Morocco's initial capital. Its pivotal role as a crossroads between the Atlantic and Morocco adds a distinctive touch. In Berber language, Marrakech translates to the "Land of the Gods." The moniker "Red City" becomes evident as you stroll through its streets, where buildings flaunt a predominant tile red hue. UNESCO recognizes the city's stunning geography and nature by enlisting it as a World Heritage site.
This enchanting city, often likened to a fairy tale, is enveloped by 18 kilometers of walls, punctuated by ten gates. We've curated a list of must-visit spots in this unique city, accessible to Turkish citizens sans visa, offering a view that seems plucked from a cinematic fantasy.
Renowned for its abundance of palm trees, Marrakech boasts over a million of these iconic plants. The city places significant importance on its palm trees, necessitating their smooth relocation to the Palm Grove during any developmental activities. However, this comes at a cost – a hefty €1,200 per tree for transportation. Immerse yourself in the lush greenery of the Palm Grove, a testament to the city's commitment to preserving its natural beauty.
Jemaa El Fna
Once a site for 11th-century executions, this square now serves as the city's central hub. It hosts captivating attractions like snake charmers and magic shows that have endured through the ages, drawing tourists' fascination. Brave souls can pose with snakes or playful monkeys for a nominal fee. The square transforms into a lively fairground in the evenings, attracting both locals and visitors. Explore the shops and savor local flavors in the surrounding restaurants.
Koutobia (Kutubiyye) Mosque
Dating back to the 12th century, this mosque stands as the city's largest. Its name pays homage to a nearby market's tradition of selling books. With a towering 67-meter minaret and surrounded by countless orange trees, this mosque is a historical gem. Remarkably, a replica of this mosque can be found in Spain, underlining its cultural significance. Don't miss the chance to witness this historically rich mosque during your stay.
Constructed by Ba Ahmed between 1873 and 1906, Bahia Palace ranks among the city's paramount historical landmarks. Its grandeur, featured in numerous Hollywood films, is accentuated by a vast garden emitting fragrant orange scents. The palace comprises various interconnected gardens and took 14 years to complete. Admire the intricate hand-embroideries adorning both walls and ceilings, making it aptly named "Bahia," meaning "splendid."
Dating back to the 16th century, these tombs were commissioned for members of the Saadian dynasty, situated just behind the Kasbah Mosque. The tombs' construction involved the use of pure gold and marble imported from Italy, resulting in a cemetery housing around a hundred tombs, a truly spectacular sight within the Kingdom of Morocco.
One of the most vibrant and intriguing parts of Marrakech is undoubtedly the Medina. The gates within the walls of the old city serve as entry points to this area. As you step into the Medina, the narrow alleyways will immediately capture your attention. Red walls, palm trees, intricately adorned doors, and pools characterize this bustling area, especially during specific times of the day.
Bab Agnaou Gate
Dating back to the 12th century, this majestic gateway bears the hallmark of the Almohad Dynasty. Bab Agnaou stands out as one of the most renowned entrances to the Medina. The horseshoe-shaped gate is striking and commanding in its appearance. The upper section of the gate features three intertwined circular shapes, adorned with calligraphic Quranic verses and floral decorations.
A visit to Marrakech is incomplete without exploring its famed souks, known as markets in this region. Marrakech markets, locally referred to as "Souk," are recognized as the largest street bazaar globally. The souks, winding through narrow streets like a labyrinth, create an authentic ambiance. If you're looking to purchase souvenirs in Marrakech, this is a must-visit destination. The bazaar offers an array of items, including antique pieces, colorful glass products, caftans in various hues, and eye-catching carpets and rugs with unique motifs. Intriguing jewelry, available at different price points, adds to the allure. Moroccan tea blends, handmade pottery, spices, teapots, and souvenirs are also prominently displayed here.