Marrakech (DK Eyewitness Top 10 Travel Guides) (Dorling Kindersley 2010)
Marrakech's Top 10
Marrakech Highlights 6
Jemaa El Fna 8
The Night Market 10
Koutoubia Mosque 12
The Souks 14
City Walls and Gates 18
Saadian Tombs 20
Medersa Ben Youssef 22
Badii Palace 24
Majorelle Gardens 26
Mamounia Hotel 28
Moments in History 32
Celebrity Visitors 34
Moroccan Architecture 36
Modern Moroccan Styles 38
Hammams and Spas 40
Parks and Gardens 42
Arts and Culture 44
Jemaa El Fna and the Kasbah
The New City
MARRAKECH'S TOP 10
Marrakech Highlights 6-7
Jemaa El Fna 8-9
The Night Market 10-11
Koutoubia Mosque 12-13
The Souks 14-17
City Walls and Gates 18-19
Saadian Tombs 20-21
Medersa Ben Youssef 22-23
Badii Palace 24-25
Majorelle Gardens 26-27
Mamounia Hotel 28-29
Top Ten of Everything 32-57
Laid out in the narrow streets to the north of central Jemaa El Fna are a dizzying array of souks, or bazaars. Different areas specialize in their own specific wares, selling anything from carpets, lanterns and slippers, to ingredients for magic spells (see pp14-15).
Preceding pages City Walls along Agdal Gardens
City Walls and Gates
Marrakech's medina, or old city, is wrapped around by several miles of reddish-pink, dried mud walls, punctuated by nearly 20 gates. Having proved ineffective against attackers throughout history, the walls are more ornamental than functional (see pp18-19).
Medersa Ben Youssef
Behind a typically blank Marrakech fagade hides what is arguably the city's finest building. This ancient religious school boasts exquisite decorative detail (see pp22-23).
The ruins of this once fabled palace provide a picturesque setting for nesting storks - and a salutary warning from history against extravagance (see pp24-25).
Jacques Majorelle, a French artist who came to Marrakech to recuperate, created this beautiful garden which was later owned by French couturier, Yves Saint-Laurent. It is open to the public (see pp26-27).
A grande dame among hotels worldwide, the Mamounia has been providing hospitality to the visiting rich and famous for almost a century (see pp28-29).
Jemaa El Fna
The medina's central square means "Assembly I of the Dead", a reference to a time when the heads of executed criminals would be displayed here on spikes. Although nothing as gruesome is on view today, the square is still populated with some extraordinary sights such as snake charmers, monkey trainers and ñë colourfully-costumed waiter sellers. In spite of government efforts to sanitize Jemaa El Fna Jrj with neat paving and ornamental barrows, the place remains endearingly chaotic.
Argana and the Terrasses de l'Alhambra are good lunch spots (see p65) and both offer upper terrace seating overlooking the square.
Cafe de France: 0524 44 32 19; open 6am-11pm daily; closes late In summers; 2 restaurants; no credit cards accepted
Caleche rides: Place Foucault, off Jemaa El Fna; prices are listed for specific tours, or negotiate an hourly rate of about 90 Dh
The heat makes the snakes unresponsive so the charmers work on tourists, cajoling them into draping the lethargic reptiles over their shoulders for a photograph.
The first to appear on the square every morning are these sellers of freshly-squeezed orange juice. They work in brightly painted iron barrows fringing the square.
Cafe de France
There are several places to sit and watch the incessant entertainment of the square over coffee but the raffish air of the Cafe de France (left) lends it an added appeal and is a favourite with tourists and locals alike.
These self-proclaimed "dentists" sit behind wooden trays filled with loose teeth (below) ready to aid cash-poor locals with aching dentures.
Throughout the day, impossibly wrinkled, elderly women squat beneath umbrellas with packs of Tarot cards to hold forth on the fortunes of the people who drop by for a reading.
Known by the locals as gerrab, the water sellers roam the square in colourful costume and tassel-fringed hats, ringing copper bells to announce their arrival (centre). The brass cups are meant exclusively for the Muslims while the white-metal cups are for the thirsty people from all other religions.
Monkey & Trainers
Small monkeys dressed in bright tunics are brought to the square by their keepers to caper and dance for tossed coins.
An Unplanned Masterpiece
Jemaa El Fna is considered to be a "Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity" according to the UNESCO.
The Night Market
Each evening as the sun goes down, dozens of open-air kitchens set up on the east side of Jemaa El Fna. Serving areas are erected and tables and benches are put out to create one vast: alfresco eatery. Beneath a hanging cloud of smoke from the crackling charcoal grills, locals and visitors alike tuck into a vast array of Moroccan cuisine. Nearly every stall has its own speciality, from snails in spicy broth and chunks of lamb stuffed into sandwiches to humble hard-boiled eggs.
Some of the most popular eatables are the varieties of brochette -grilled lamb and chicken - along with bowls of soup, spicy sausages, grilled fish and bowls of boiled chickpeas.
If you find the food stalls at the Night Market to be intimidating, you can always opt for the relative familiarity of salads, pizza and pasta at the Terrasses de l'Alhambra (see p65) instead.
The Night Market sets up at sunset daily and runs until around midnight, or later in the summer months.
Cafe Glacier: 0524 44 21 93; Open 6am-10:30pm daily
Top 10 Features
1 The food
6 Transvestite dancers
9 Cafe Glacier
0 Henna painting
The raw ingredients arrive fresh each evening and the food is cooked in front of you. Plates and utensils are often washed in water that isn't changed for much of the night, so get your food served on paper and eat with your fingers.
Walk around to view what's on offer and when you see something you like, take a seat. You don't have to speak Arabic - just point to what you want. Prices are usually posted and everything is inexpensive.
Knots of excited onlookers surround a menagerie of tricksters, sundry wild-eyed performers and fortune tellers (below) This is where the Moroccan belief in everyday magic is on full display. And it's not put on for tourists.
For more information on Moroccan cuisine, see pp50-51.
You'll find men who dance wildly while dressed in women's clothing (right). It's an
Storytellers age-old practice - Gifted orators enthral their rapt one that lends a audience with tales of Islamic heroes slightly surreal, cliffhanger - the outcome is revealed the goings-on on only on the following night.
A smattering of musicians (below), often groups of Gnawa, specialize in hypnotic, thrumming rhythms, entrance crowds of listeners who stand around swaying in far-off reveries, long after everyone else has called it a night.
At their busiest as the evening comes on, the ladies with piping bags full of henna paste paint hands and feet with the most intricate of designs (above). Clients choose the design from a book of photographs; the "tattoos" usually last a week or more.
The wild-eyed appearance of some of the denizens of Jemaa El Fna is undoubtedly aided by consumption of this mild, hallucinogenic drug. It is basically Moroccan-grown marijuana eaten in a jam- or cake-like form and is best avoided.
One of the best places from which to observe the spectacle of the Jemaa El Fna at night is from the rooftop terrace of Cafe Glacier, located at the southern edge. The best time to visit is as the sun sets.
The Gnawa came to Morocco as slaves from sub-Saharan Africa. Over the centuries they have kept alive their culture through oral traditions and, particularly, music. Played on simple string instruments known as gimbri, their music is looping and repetitive, intended to produce an almost trance-like state in the dancers and vocalists who sometimes accompany the musicians. Gnawa music has made a great impact on the global world music scene.
During the International Film Festival a large screen is erected on Jemaa El Fna, see p44.
I Its minaret is the city's pre-eminent monument, towering above all else and has always been the first visible sign of Marrakech for travellers approaching from afar. This is wholly fitting, because the mosque is not only the city's main place of worship, it is also one of the city's oldest buildings, dating back to the 12th century, not long after Marrakech was founded. The designer of Q the Koutoubia minaret went on to create Tour Hassan in the Moroccan capital, Rabat and the tower of the Giralda in Seville. Unfortunately, as with ñë nearly all mosques and shrines in Morocco, non-Musllms are not permitted to enter the Koutoubia.
Top 10 Features
Although access is denied to non-Muslims, one of the doors on the east wall is often open and you can peer through for a view of the impressive main prayer hall and its seemingly endless arcades of horseshoe arches.
Pizzeria Venezia (see p65), which is just across the road from the Koutoubia, has a rooftop terrace that offers excellent views of the mosque and minaret.
Avenue Bab Jedid, Medina
Mosque: Open only during prayer times (see right); closed to all non-Muslims
Gardens: free entry to both Muslims and non-Muslims
1 Mosque of the Booksellers
3 The minaret decoration
4 The mosque plan
5 Prayer times
6 Ruins of the Almohad Mosque
7 Dar El Hajar
8 Koubba Lalla Zohra
9 Koutoubia Gardens 0 Tomb of Yousef
Mosque of the Booksellers
The Koutoubia was built in 1158. Its name means the Mosque of the Booksellers, which is a reference to a small market that once existed in the neighbourhood, where worshippers could buy copies of religious tracts.
The purpose of a minaret is to provide a high platform from which the muezzin can make the five-times-daily call to prayer. Rather than a staircase, the Koutoubia's towering minaret (left) has a spiralling ramp wide enough for a horse to be ridden to the top.
For more information on Islam and the regulations for visiting mosques, see p106.
The minaret decoration
Originally the whole minaret was encased in tiles and carved stucco, but now only two shallow bands of blue ceramics remain.
Tomb of Yousef Ben Tachfine
Just north of the mosque, glimpsed through a locked gate, is a walled area containing the dilapidated mausoleum of Yousef Ben Tachfine, tribal leader of the Almoravids, and the man credited with the founding of Marrakech.
The mosque plan
The mosque is rectangular in plan. The relatively plain main east entrance leads to a vast prayer hall with its eight bays and horseshoe arches. North of the prayer hall is a courtyard with fountains and trees.
Exact times of daily prayer change with the seasons, but are observed pre-dawn, noon, late afternoon, sunset and late evening, as indicated by the muezzin. The most important prayers of the week are those at noon on Friday.
Ruins of the Almohad Mosque
Next to the Koutoubia are the remains of an earlier mosque, circa 1147. The bases of the prayer hall's columns, secured behind railings, are clearly visible (left). They were revealed during excavations by Moroccan archaeologists.
Dar El Hajar
Two wells on the piazza allow visitors to view the buried remains of the Dar El Hajar, a fortress built by the Almoravids. It was destroyed when the Almohads captured the city (see p32).
The Koutoubia minaret's continued domination of the skyline is owed largely to an enlightened piece of legislation by the city's former French colonial rulers. It was they who decreed that no building in the medina should rise above the height of a palm tree, and that no building in the New City should rise above the height of the Koutoubia's minaret. The ruling holds good even today. Only Muslims may enjoy the great view from the top of the building.
Marrakech's earliest inhabitants made their living from trading with the Africans and with the Spaniards who came by sea. Luxuries like gold and ivory came from the south, while leather, metalwork and ceramics were sent north. Even today, trade continues to be the city's mainstay, with thousands of craftsmen eking out an existence in the maze of souks that fill much of the northern half of the medina. A trip to the souks is part history lesson, part endurance test - to see how long you can keep your purse in your bag or your wallet in your pocket.
Top 10 Features
1 Rue Semarine
2 Souk El Kebir
3 Souk des Babouches
4 Souk des Tapis
5 Souk des Teinturiers
6 Souk des Ferronniers
8 Souk El Khemis
9 Souk El Bab Salaam 0 Rahba Kedima
Cafe Arabe, near the Souk des Teinturiers, and Cafe des Epices in the Rahba Kedima are both great places to relax with a mint tea and a light snack (see p71).
Souk des £Babouches
Every shop and stall here sells nothing but brightly-coloured, soft-leather, pointy-toed slippers known as babouches.
The main route into the souks is via an arch just north of Jemaa El Fna and along this perpetually busy, sun-dappled alley. Shop owners along Semarine attempt to entice with a miscellany of robes, kaftans, carpets and antiques.
Souk El Kebir
Many shops in the souks are closed on Friday
Straight on from Rue Semarine, this is the heart of the souks. It's a narrow alley that lurches from side-to-side and up-and-down. It is lined by dozens of the tiniest shops - barely a person wide - each overflowing with goods, particularly leather.
For more places to shop in and around the souks, see p70.
This open square is home to sellers of dried scorpions, leeches and other bizarre substances and objects for use in sihacen, or black magic
Souk des Tapis
Earlier an auction place for slaves, this souk is now crowded with a number of carpet sellers (left).
The fondouk is an ancient hostelry for travelling merchants built around a courtyard. Most are now gritty workshops.
Souk El Khemis
Souk El Bab Salaam
This covered market serves the nearby mellah quarter with everything from food and spices to caged birds.
Entrepreneurs renovating riads scout this flea market to the north of the medina for unusual items of furniture.
The guide issue
A guide to the souks is really not necessary. Although the souks are a warren, the area is not too large and it's never hard to find your way back to some familiar landmark. Any "best places" your guide may lead you to are only best by virtue of offering your guide the highest of commissions.
Babouches are Moroccan slippers, handmade from local leather, although increasingly the babouches found in the souks are made of a synthetic plastic that only looks like leather. In their most basic form they are pointy-toed and come in a variety of colours - canary yellow being the most common - but are otherwise plain. Increasingly however, boutiques and shops are customizing their babou-ches with silk trim, or even carving the leather with exquisite designs.
Argan oil is an almost mystical substance to which all kinds of properties are attributed (see p90). Part of its mystique can be credited to the rarity of argan trees, which only grow in southwestern Morocco. The oil is sold all over the souks but much of it is low grade. For quality oil, it's best to buy from a reputable dealer.
Marrakech is famed for its carpets, made by the tribes of the south. Each tribe has its own patterns. Beware the salesmen's patter. Some carpets are very old and made of genuine cactus silk but these are rare. Most sold today, though beautiful, are quite modern and made from non-natural fibres. Buy a carpet if you like it, and not because you have been told that it's a good investment.
Marrakech is known for its leather. It is made by treating animal hides by hand in the tanneries (see p68) in the east of the medina which are then dyed. Unsurprisingly, the shops of the souk are filled with leather goods from purses to handbags to book bindings. Do plenty of window shopping before settling on an item.
Leather bag Candles
The local Berber jewellery is silver, chunky and heavy. However, a number of artisans in Marrakech, Candles are used to great effect in local restaurants. They are sold in all shapes, colours and sizes in the souk, and some of the designs can be highly inventive. Some of the best are made by a small company called Amira (www. amirabougies.com) and you can buy them in various boutiques.
Marrakech may have inspired countless foreign couturiers from Yves Saint-Laurent to Tom Ford. However, it's only recently that the city has begun to develop a fashion of its own. There are some young Moroccan designers producing beautiful clothing, like the high profile brothers behind the boutique Beldi, whose collections made from local fabric are tailored to Western sensibilities.
Marra-Kitsch A recent trend amongst local designers involves taking the iconography of Marrakech and giving it a Pop-ish twist. Florence Tarrane of Kulchi (see p70) does shoulder bags that feature the khamsa (five-fingered hand), the Arab good-luck symbol. Hassan Hajjaj makes fanous from sheets of tin printed with advertising logos, sold at his Riad Yima, five minutes from Jemaa El Fna (www. riadyima.com).
City Walls and Gates
The city walls date from the 1120s when, under threat of attack from the Almohads of the south, the ruling Almoravid sultan, Ali Ben Youssef decided to encircle his garrison town with
fortifications. The walls he had built were up to Î 9 m (30 ft) high and formed a circuit of 10 km (6 miles), punctuated by some 200 towers and to 20 gates. Despite changes made in the 20th century to accommodate motor vehicles, the walls remain largely unchanged.
Top 10 Features
2 Bab Agnaou
3 Bab El Rob
4 Bab Doukkala
5 Bab Berrima
6 Bab Debbagh
7 Bab El Khemis
8 The Seven Saints
9 Dar El Haoura 0 Caleche tours
Walking a circuit around the outside of the walls is tiring and can be unpleasant as they are edged by major roads. Better to visit the gates individually or take a caleche tour.
If you take a caleche ride around the walls, make sure that you carry bottled water, as it can get hot and dusty.
Bab Debbagh: permission required to access the roof (not always open to visitors)
Caleche rides: Place Foucault, off Jemaa El Fna; Prices are listed for specific tours, or negotiate an hourly rate of about 90 Dh
The walls are built from a mixture of mud, straw and lime (known as pise), which becomes as hard as brick on drying. The distinctive pinkish-red hue of the walls (below) is a result of pigments in the local earth.
The most beautiful city gate, the "Gate of the Gnawa" is the only stone-built one (right). It was erected during Almohad sultan Yacoub El Mansour's reign.
Bab El Rob
This was the original southern city gate (right). The gatehouse building is now occupied by a pottery shop and all foot and car traffic pass through a modern breach in the old walls.
This massive gate (top left) built by the Almoravids in the 12th century now stands isolated from the walls, thanks to 20th-century urban planning. The cavernous interior rooms lend themselves for use as a sometime event space.
Apart from being perimetre defences, other walls and gates divided up the interior of the medina. For instance, a wall separated the royal kasbah quarter from the city; Bab Berrima was one of the gates between these two distinct zones.
This gate gives access to the tanneries, and when it's open to visitors, you can ascend an internal staircase to the gatehouse roof for sweeping city views.
Bab El Khemis
The most northerly of gates (above) is also the most decorative, with a semi-circle of stalactite mouldings arcing over the entranceway. Outside the gate is a pretty little marabout or shrine.
Dar El Haoura
West of the Agdal Gardens, this curious free-standing fortress used to be a garrison for cavalry and its horse ramp is intact to this day.
The best way to view the walls is by a caleche (see pp8-9). Take a complete circuit for the equivalent of a few dollars.
The Red City
Marrakech's distinctive colouring is from pigments in the local soil, mixed to make pise from which its buildings have traditionally been constructed. In the last century, this was threatened by new building materials such as concrete. Therefore the ruling French decreed that all new buildings be painted pink. This rule continues to be in force even today, with pleasing results.
This is the secluded burial place of a dynasty noted by novelist Edith Wharton for its "barbarous customs but sensuous refinements". The 66 royal tombs that are housed here date from the late-16th and early-17th centuries, but were unknown to the outside world until the 1920s, when they were revealed by the curiosity of a French official. The complex may be modest in size but it is beautifully decorated in the Alhambran style with plenty of carved cedar, stucco and polychromic tiling. The tombs have three main burial chambers that are ranged around a small garden.
Top 10 Features
1 Saadian Dynasty
3 Prayer Hall
4 Hall of Twelve Columns
5 Main Chamber
6 The Garden
7 Kasbah Mosque
8 Morning Market
9 Rue de Kasbah 0 Centre Artisanal
Saadian Dynasty U (1549-1668)
The Sultana Hotel (see p116) next door has a good rooftop terrace restaurant open to the public for lunch and dinner.
Setting out from their powerbase in Taroudant, to the south of the Atlas Mountains, the Saadians defeated the ruling Merenids of Fes. Having established their court at Marrakech, they revitalized the city, endowing it with grand monuments. They were in power for less than 120 years.
Saadian Tombs: Rue de Kasbah, Medina; Open 8:30am-11:45am, 2:30pm-5:45pm daily; Adm 10 Dh
Centre Artisanal: 7 derb Baissi Kasbah, off Rue de la Kasbah; 0524 38 18 53; Open 8:30am-8pm daily; MC, V accepted
The first chamber, intended as a place of prayer, now contains tombs. Most of them are not from the Saadian era, but date back to the Alouite rulers' era.
Reached via the narrowest of twisting passageways (above), the tombs remained a closely-guarded secret for centuries. Even today, visiting retains an element of discovery for tourists.
Hall of Twelve Columns
This chamber holds the tombs of the Sultar Ahmed El Marsour, along with his entire family (right). The stele is ir finely-worked cedar wood and stuccowork The graves are beautifully designed and made from the striking Carrara marble that is particular to Italy.
A grand pavilion at the garden's centre is the only real bit of architecture in the complex. A tall, green-tiled, roofed structure in the Andalusian style, it has three soaring portals with beautiful carved wood and a stucco frieze of eight-pointed stars. Housed within are more mosaic-covered tombs.
The serene garden has countless headstones dotted among the bushes and scrubby plants. These mark the tombs of several children, plus guards and servants. The garden is hugely popular with the local community of stray cats.
Predating the tombs by around 400 years, this mosque was originally built in the year 1190. Since then it has undergone a number of renovations. The cut-brick on green-tile background that decorates the minaret, however, dates back to its original construction.
A small square formed by the convergence of several small side streets south of the tombs is host to a modest fruit and vegetable market every morning except Fridays. Take the second left as you walk south from the tombs to this covered street.
Rue de la Kasbah
When you exit the tombs, take a left to reach this main street running through the old kasbah quarter. It runs arrow straight down towards the Grand Mechouar, or what is known as the parade ground of the royal palace.
One of two vast, government-run stores selling Moroccan handicrafts, it's a one-stop opportunity to stock up on kaftans, jewellery, carpets and ceramics, all at fixed prices. Ideal for anyone who dislikes the hassle of haggling in the souk.
In Islam, it is customary to begin the burial process within 24 hours of death. After a ritual washing of the body, it is then wrapped in a funeral shroud. The wrapped body is put directly into the ground, laid on its right side with the head towards Mecca. Graves are raised to prevent anyone from sitting or walking on them. Islam forbids cremation.
Q The neighbouring Musee de Marrakech (see p68) has a small cafe selling snacks and drinks.
Fondation Omar Benjelloun, Place Ben Youssef, Medina
0524 39 09 11
Open Apr-Sep 9am-6pm daily (except during religious holidays)
Adm 40 Dh; combined ticket to visit Musee de Marrakech and Koubba El Badiyin 60 Dh, discount 8-18 years, under-8 years free
The entrance is via a long, dark corridor leading to a square vestibule opening into a large courtyard. On the left is a marble basin carved with floral motifs in the Andalusian style.
At the heart of the medersa is a light-filled courtyard with arcades down two sides, a rectangular pool in the middle and a prayer hall. Every surface has some decoration.
The lowest part of the courtyard walls is covered with zellij (glazed tiles) tiling in an eight-pointed star motif (below). Above this is a band of stylized Koranic text that is interwoven with floral designs.
Vertical panels of intricately carved plaster stretching above the tiling are decorated with inscriptions or geometric patterns (below); depiction of humans or animals is prohibited by Islam.
Rue de Souk des LiiJ Fassis
This wriggling alley to the medersa's east is lined by beautifully restored fondouks or old hostels. Some are now centres for artisans. One is a fine restaurant, Le Foundouk.
The elaborately decorated prayer hall has an octagonal wooden-domed roof supported by marble columns. The stucco features rare palm motifs and calligraphy of Koranic texts. The room is well-lit by openwork gypsum windows which are crowned by stalactite cupolas.
The role of the medersa
A medersa was a place for religious instruction -a theological college. The students who boarded here would have studied the Koran in detail and discussed it with the nstitute's sheikhs (learned religious figures)
Arranged on two levels around the central courtyard (right) are 130 tiny rooms. Much like monks' cells, nearly 900 students from Muslim countries studied here until the medersa fell out of use in the 1960s.
Ben Youssef Mosque
The medersa, in its earlier days, was part of the complex of the nearby Almoravid mosque which was founded by Ali Ben Youssef during his reign between 1106-42, to which it was once attached. For several centuries, this mosque was the focal point of worship in the medina and together with the medersa, it constituted an important centre of the Islamic religion in the country.
Chrob au Chouf cLJ Fountain
A twist and turn north of the medersa, this handsome fountain (its name means "drink and look") is worth seeking out. A big cedar lintel covered in calligraphy (below), it is a relic of a time when it was a pious act to provide a public source of clean drinking water.
It reputedly took armies of labourers and craftsmen 25 years to complete the Badii Palace. When it was finished, it was said to be among the most magnificent palaces ever constructed, with walls and ceilings encrusted with gold and a massive pool with an island flanked by four sunken gardens. This grand folly survived for all of a century before another conquering sultan came along and stripped the place bare (a procedure that itself took 12 years) and carted the riches to his new capital at Meknes. All that survives today are the denuded mudbrick ruins.
Top 10 Features
1 Sultan Ahmed El Mansour
2 The gatehouse
3 Basins and gardens
4 A sinister omen
Mosaic, Koubba El Khamsiniya
It's a big sight with very little shelter, so avoid visiting in the heat of the afternoon. It's a good idea to bring some bottled water.
The rooftop terrace of the Kozybar (see p65) on Place des Ferblantiers is the perfect vantage point for a bird's-eye view of the palace walls and the storks that nest upon it.
5 Pavilion of 50 Columns
6 Mosque minbar
7 Underground passages
8 Rooftop terrace
10 Khaysuran Pavilion
11 Sultan Ahmed El LI Mansour
The palace was built by Sultan Mansour who took to the throne after the Battle of Three Kings (1578), in which the Moroccans vanquished the Portuguese. Great wealth was accrued from the ransom of Portuguese captives and from further successful campaigns in Mali. These riches were poured into building the Badii Palace.
Place des Ferblantiers, Medina
Open 8:45-11:45am, 2:30-5:45pm daily
Adm 10 Dh; an
additional 10 Dh for entry to the Koutoubia minbar pavilion
Ed The palace is approached along a narrow way between twin high walls (below). On its completion, the gatehouse carried an inscription to the glories of the palace. Now it is a ruin and entry to the complex is through a breach in the crumbling walls.
Basins & gardens
The palace's central courtyard is dominated by five basins and four sunken gardens planted with orange trees. Of the five basins, the centra one has an island that comes alive every July for the annual folk festival. It is also used as a venue during the International Film Festival (see p44)
The protrusions in the crumbling walls are well-loved by city storks who have made their nests here. Considered holy, an old Berber belief has it that storks are actually transformed humans.
A sinister omen
At a banquet to celebrate the palace's completion, a guest declared, "When it is demolished, it will make a fine ruin" El Mansour was rendered speechless; the guest's sinister omen has come true.
Beside the annexe, a path leads down into the former stables and dungeon (above). Though you can enter, the chambers are only partially lit.
At the northeastern corner is the only intact tower with an internal staircase to the roof where it's possible to get a sense of the immense size of the complex.
Khaysuran liU Pavilion
A pavilion on the north of the great court, once the palace harem, now serves as an exhibition hall with shows of work by local and locally-based foreign artists.
Pavilion of 50 Columns
Ruins around the sides of the courtyard were probably summer houses. The Koubba El Khamsiniya on the far western side is named after the 50 pillars used in its construction.
An "annexe du palais" in the southeast corner displays the 12th-century pulpit (minbar) from Koutoubia Mosque. Intricately carved, this is a celebrated work of art of Moorish Spain.
The Battle of the Three Kings
In an attempt to wrest the throne from his uncle, Abdel Malek, the Saadian Abu Abdallah Mohammed II, along with King Sebastian of Portugal, declared war. Fought in the town of Ksar El Kebir, between Tangier and Fes, all three died in the battle. Malek was succeeded by his brother, Ahmed El Mansour, builder of the Badii Palace.
Of Marrakech's numerous gardens (see pp42-3), these are the most famous and the legacy of an expatriate French painter, Jacques Majorelle, who considered himself a "gardenist". In 1924, he acquired land and set about creating a botanical sanctuary around his studio. oMajorelle opened his gardens to the public in 1947 and they remained a popular attraction until his death 15 in years later. The property fell into disrepair until 1980, hwhen it was rescued from ruin by French fashion designer Jrj Yves Saint-Laurent and his artist-friend, Pierre Berge.
Top 10 Features
1 Jacques Majorelle
2 Louis Majorelle
3 The plants
4 Bassins and fountains
A painted pot
Q This is another very small site, easily crowded by the presence of just a single tour group. Visit early morning or late afternoon for the best chance of avoiding the crush.
Q There is a small, expensive cafe in the gardens, open from 8am, serving hot and cold drinks, salads, sandwiches and, until 11:30am, three kinds of breakfast.
6 Islamic Art Museum
7 Doors and ceilings
8 Majorelle's paintings
9 Majorelle blue
10 Petrol station
11 Jacques Majorelle
French artist Jacques Majorelle (1886-1962) came to Marrakech in 1919 to recuperate from his heart problems and immediately saw the painterly potential of southern Morocco.
A beautiful bamboo "forest" and an arid cactus garden with species from around the world share garden space (below). Most stunning of all are the flowering masses of red and purple bougainvillea.
Avenue Yacoub El Mansour, Gueliz
0524 30 18 52
Open daily: Oct-May 8am-5pm; Jun-Sep 8am-6pm; Ramadan 9am-5pm
Adm to gardens 30 Dh; Museum of Islamic Art 15 Dh
Louis Majorelle was the painter's equally famous father. A French decorator and furniture designer, he was one of the leading exponents of the Art Nouveau style. His work is displayed in celebrated museums, such as the Musee d'Orsay in Paris.
Situated northwest of the medina in the New City, it's a good idea to take a taxi or caleche to the gardens, see p104.
In the northeast corner, a small boutique sells an interesting array of quality local handicrafts including iscellaneous leather products such as bags, sandals and beautifully bound notebooks. However, there is a notable paucity of information concerning Majorelle and his garden.
The name Majorelle lives on in an electrifying shade of cobalt blue inspired by the Berber homes of southern Morocco. His former studio is strikingly painted in this colour.
The museum's first room has a series of lithographs depicting various Atlas kasbahs. Some of Majorelle's most acclaimed works were the tourism posters that he created for Morocco.
At the corner of Boulevard de Safi, this petrol station was designed by Jean-Frangois Zevaco and is possibly the city's most striking modernist building.
Islamic Art Museum
The painter's former studio now houses a small but well-presented collection that includes Berber jewellery, fine embroidery and carved wooden items.
Doors and ceilings
Arguably the highlight of the museum is its collection of wooden doors and ceilings (below), all beautifully carved. Some of the ceiling panels are painted but most impressive are the huge double doors dating from the 17th to the 19th centuries.
French designer Yves Saint-Laurent first visited the city in 1962. By the end of the 1960s, he'd bought his first house here. Later, he moved into a villa next to Majorelle Gardens, which he purchased and saved from being destroyed to make way for an apartment complex. After his death a small memorial stone was placed in the gardens, which now belong to a trust to ensure their continued upkeep.
One of the world's great old hotels, since opening in 1923 the Mamounia has been welcoming the rich and famous; Winston Churchill was one of the ^ most celebrated guests to have frequented this hotel. It was originally built in the 19th century as opthe palace of the crown prince of Morocco, but in I 1923 the French turned it into a hotel for the s Moroccan railways. It is set within 7 hectares (17 hacres) of delightful gardens surrounded by the Jrj city's 12th-century red ochre ramparts.
The hotel boasts several bars and restaurants but perhaps the most pleasurable experience can be had at the lunchtime buffet served beside the swimming pool in the gardens.
Avenue Bab Jedid, Medina
0524 38 86 00
The gardens: Open 24 hours; Non-guests allowed
The acres of formal European-style gardens predate the hotel and were laid out for the prince. Well-manicured paths lead between ponds and flowerbeds to a central pavilion.
Sean Connery and Catherine Deneuve, Bill Clinton, plus scribbles from Kate Winslet and Will Smith: Mamounia's livre d'or must be among the starriest guestbooks.
Extensive renovations to the hotel were behind schedule at the time of going to press; call ahead to check if it has reopened.
Among its several grand suites, the most famous is the one named after Winston Churchill (below). The decoration is intended to evoke the era when the politician visited and contains artifacts including his pipe.
Winston Churchill met fellow painter Jacques Majorelle (see pp26-7) in 1946 during one of his stays at the Mamounia. The portly politician persuaded the hotel's management to commission a mural by Majorelle (above), which you can now see on the ceiling of the extended lobby.
The Man Who Knew Too Much
Several scenes of this 1956 Alfred Hitchcock thriller (below), with James Stewart and Doris Day, were shot in the hotel.
Winston ò Churchill
"This is a wonderful place, and the hotel one of the best I have ever used," were Churchill's views on the hotel and the city that he adored, in a letter to his wife, Clementine.
Churchill would paint in the afternoon and was fond of Marrakech's extraordinary light. A couple of his paintings still hang in the hotel.
The original architects of the Mamounia, Henri Prost and Antoine Marchisio, blended art deco with traditional Moroccan motifs (left). In 1986, renovations were carried out by the company that designed Morocco's royal palaces.
The story may be apocryphal, but film director Alfred Hitchcock was supposedly inspired to make his movie The Birds after being dive-bombed by finches on his balcony at the Mamounia.
Founding of Marrakech
The Almoravids, the most powerful Berber tribe, founded the military outpost of Marra Kouch in 1062, giving them control of the Saharan trade routes.
The Almohads take Marrakech
The Almohads lay siege to Marrakech in 1147 and the city changed hands. Their impressive monuments, including the Koutoubia Mosque, dominate Marrakech to this day.
Decline under the Merenids
The Merenids took the city in 1269 from the Almohads, emerging from the Tafilelt Oasis, which is near present-day Algeria. During their rule, Marrakech was sidelined and reduced to a
provincial outpost after they chose the northerly city of Fes as their power base.
The Saadians return the throne to Marrakech
Prosperity returned to Marrakech under the Saadians who overthrew the Merenids in 1549. This Arabian dynasty expanded their territory across the Sahara to Mali and Mauritania.
SMad Moulay Ismail The Saadians were swept aside by the Alouites in 1668. Their second ruler, Moulay Ismail reigned for 55 years, personally killing 30,000 people. Alouite descendants are still in power.
The Sultan of Spliff Moulay Hassan, the last Moroccan sultan with any real power, ruled from 1873-94 and legalised cannabis cultivation. The Rif region is probably the world's largest cannabis cultivator today.
Imposition of French rule
The lynching of Europeans in Casablanca gave France an excuse to act on their territorial ambitions. The consequent March 1912 Treaty of Fes made Morocco France's protectorate. In this period, a whole nouvelle ville (new city) was constructed outside the walls of the medina.
The Lord of the Atlas
The French enlisted tribal warlord, Thami El Glaoui to rule southern Morocco from 1918-55. The self-styled "Lord of the Atlas" known for his cruel ways, ruled the city with an iron fist. After the French withdrawal in 1955, the citizens took to the streets against his regime.
The crowning of the king
1955 marked the return of exiled Sultan Mohammed V who was crowned king, with Morocco gaining independence a year later. The present monarch, Mohammed VI, is his grandson.
Marrakech goes global
It is claimed that a French television programme in the 1990s, stating that a palace in Marrakech could be purchased for the price of a flat in Paris, was the catalyst for the city's new-found global popularity. Five-star hotels and budget airlines soon followed suit.
Top 10 Chronicles of Morocco
Travels of Ibn Battuta HI (14th century)
This famous Islamic voyager travelled as far as China. He regarded Marrakech as "one of the most beautiful cities".
HI Adventures in HI Morocco (1874)
An account by German Gerhard Rohlfs, who travelled North Africa as a vagabond.
HI Mogreb-El-Aksa (1897)
Robert Cunninghame Graham, former Scottish member of parliament, tried to reach Taroudant disguised as a Muslim sheikh.
HI In Morocco (1920)
A visit to Morocco and Marrakech in 1917 inspired novelist Edith Wharton to try her hand at travel writing.
Morocco That Was HI (1921)
An entertaining account (especially of the Moroccan royalty) by Times correspondent Walter Harris.
A Year in Marrakech
Peter Mayne's engaging
journal of a city little changed since medieval times.
Lords of the Atlas HI (1966)
A history of the colourful Glaoui era by Gavin Maxwell.
HI Hideous Kinky (1992)
Emma Freud's humourous account of a dysfunctional 1970s childhood in Marrakech.
The Tangier Diaries HI (1997)
An account by John Hopkins of 1950s Tangier with drug-fuelled forays to Marrakech.
HI The Red City (2003)
A collection of writings on Marrakech down the ages.
Between 1935-59, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill visited Marrakech no less than six times. "It is," he reportedly said, "the most lovely spot in the world." Usually at the Mamounia Hotel (see pp28-9), his mornings were spent penning his memoirs and afternoons were devoted to painting, his favourite hobby.
The famous author of Animal Farm and 1984 was in Marrakech in 1939 on the advice of his doctor (Orwell suffered from tuberculosis). While recuperating, he wrote Coming Up for Air and an essay, "Marrakech"
The Rolling Stones
Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones visited Marrakech in 1966 and brought the rest of the band on the next trip. Put up at the Hotel Es Saadi in Hivernage, they bumped into Cecil Beaton, who photographed Mick Jagger and Keith Richards by the pool.
The French couturier first visited the Red City in 1962 when memories of his childhood in Oran, Algeria were reignited. He returned a few years later and bought a house in the medina. The city found its way into his work as well, with the colours and patterns of southern Morocco influencing his collections. He spent part of the year here in a villa adjacent to the Majorelle Gardens (see pp26-7).
Colin Farrell Southern Morocco has long been favoured by Hollywood as an exotic, versatile and, most importantly, cheap spot for filming. Consequently, Marrakech has become a favourite place for actors to unwind; while shooting for Alexander, actor Colin Farrell reputedly ran up a $64,000 hotel bill at Le Meridien N'Fis.
P Diddy In 2002, rap artist P Diddy flew nearly 300 guests into Marrakech on chartered jets from New York and Paris to celebrate his 33rd birthday in opulent Moroccan style. The king, apparently a rap fan, also contributed to the party and lent him the use of the Bahia Palace (see p63) for the high-profile celebrations.
John Paul Getty Jr.
In the 1960s, American oil heir John Paul Getty Jr. and his wife Talitha owned a place in the medina. They were famously photographed by Patrick Lichfield clad in kaftans on their mansion's roof terrace with a backdrop of the Atlas Mountains.
The author of The Sheltering Sky was an occasional visitor to Marrakech. There's a famous photograph of him from 1961 taken while he was sitting on the roof terrace of the Cafe Glacier.
General Charles de Gaulle
After the Casablanca Conference in January 1943, a meeting of leaders of the Allied forces, General Charles de Gaulle travelled to Marrakech, staying at the Mamounia Hotel. The hotel's director had to create a bed for him in order to accommodate his considerable frame.
Led Zeppelin vocalist Robert Plant and guitarist Jimmy Page first visited Marrakech in 1975. Twenty years later, they recorded some video footage on Jemaa El Fna to accompany the release of their album, "No Quarter"
Morocco on Film
Orson Welles put the Moor in Morocco, shooting much of his troubled masterpiece in Essaouira.
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1955)
Hitchcock filmed James Stewart and Doris Day in the Mamounia and Jemaa El Fna.
Our Man in Marrakech(1966)
A little-seen silly spy comedy, but the city features heavily.
The Atlas Mountains were cast as Tibet in this Scorsese epic. Some of the film's props can still be seen at Kasbah du Toubkal (see p56).
Hideous Kinky (1998)
The souks and Jemaa El Fna were prominent in this film adaptation of Emma Freud's autobiographical book.
Russell Crowe is sold into slavery at Ait Benhaddou (see p95). Also shot here were The Last Temptation of Christ and Lawrence of Arabia.
Black Hawk Down (2001)
US marines, caught in a firefight in Somalia, did all their shooting in Morocco.
Alexander of Macedonia was, in fact, Alexander of Marrakech.
Kingdom of Heaven (2005)
The Mediterranean port for embarkation to the Holy Land in this Ridley Scott epic is the port city, Essaouira.
The village of Tazatine in southern Morocco appears as itself in this film.
For more on Essaouira, favoured Hollywood destination in Morocco, see pp80-83.
Left and centre Details of the courtyard in Hotel La Sultana Right The Bahia Palace courtyard
Properly known as outrepasse arches, these are where the arch curves back inwards after its widest point, to give an effect like a horseshoe or keyhole. Its use is most commonly associated with Moorish Spain and North Africa.
One of the most striking features of Moroccan architecture is its use of multicoloured, small tiles laid in complex geometric patterns. This is known as the zellij technique, where tiles are created as large squares and then hand cut into smaller shapes. Conventional shapes and sizes are typically used, though there are as many as 360 different types of pieces.
This technique was initially associated only with bathhouses to counter the heat and moisture. Walls are treated with a plaster of powdered limestone, which, once set, is polished with flat stones, then painted with a glaze of egg whites and polished again with the local black soap, made from olives. The finished surface looks akin to soft leather.
A decorative element of Moroccan architecture, carved plaster can cover entire walls in fantastic curvilinear and geometric design. The work is executed by craftsmen while the plaster is still damp - the patterns are sketched onto the surface, then gouged out with hammer and chisel.
Carved woodwork Although some of the same designs are used to decorate both plaster and wood, often wood is deployed as a frieze and carries inscriptions in Arabic, the language in which the Koran was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed and therefore of a sacred character. The inscriptions are of a religious nature and invariably praise the glory of Allah. They are used both to decorate and impart information.
A distinctive feature of Islamic architecture is its focus on internal spaces as opposed to the exterior, where the fagades are generally ordinary window-less walls. Courtyards serve as air-wells into which the cool night air sinks. They also allow women to venture outside while shielding them from the eyes of strange men.
Fountains and basins are required for ritual ablutions before prayers. Also, in an arid climate, the provision of drinking water is seen as a charitable act.
The basic building material used in Morocco, pise is wet earth mixed with straw and gravel pounded between two parallel boards and strengthened by lime. If not well made, the structure can crumble in the rain - Southern Morocco is littered with semi-melted buildings.
The numerous pigeonholes peppering walls in the city are, in reality, remnants of wooden scaffolding used to erect walls.
Top 10 Historic Buildings
HI Koubba El Badiyin
The earliest example of Islamic architecture with beautiful carved plasterwork seen nowhere else in Morocco (see p68).
HI Koutoubia Mosque
The city's biggest and tallest minaret (see pp12-13).
HI Badii Palace
Its pise walls are in an advanced state of dilapidation with clearly visible "pigeonholes" (see pp24-5).
HI Bahia Palace
This 19th-century palace features a riot of zellij work (see p62).
HI Medersa Ben Youssef
This structure displays nearly all the decorative elements, including fine zellij work, superbly carved stucco and woodwork (see pp22-3).
HI Tin Mal Mosque
Some rare, surviving carved plasterwork dating to the early Almohad dynasty adorns the interiors (see p90).
HI Bab Agnaou
This gate into the kasbah quarter is in the form of a keyhole arch (see p18).
Home to a busy cultural centre, this is an example of a wealthy courtyard home, with some extraordinary carved woodwork (see p67).
HI Dar El Bacha
Enough dazzling multicoloured, polychromically-patterned zellij tiling to make your head spin (see p69).
HI Dar Si Said
For an insight into architectural techniques and decoration, visit this museum (see p63).
Left A Bill Willis-designed fireplace at Dar Yacout Right Palais Rhoul with its trendy domes
Ø10 Modern Moroccan Styles
Traditionally, this silky plaster finish with its water-resistant qualities (see p36) was reserved for bathhouses, but interior designers have now begun applying it for all sorts of rooms. The range of colours has also broadened; now it's common to see tadelakt in pink, green or even black.
J Willis, a Tennessee-born designer, first accompanied Paul Getty Jr. (see p35) to Marrakech in 1968. He worked on the Getty house, then designed one for the Rothschilds and another for Yves Saint-Laurent (see pp 26-7 & 34). He continues to reside in the medina and has been enormously influential in the reinterpretation of traditional Moroccan crafts and styles for the modern age.
Carved plaster, Riad Farnatchi
Mud-hut chic The term was coined by style magazines and refers to a new generation of highly designed buildings that advance the art of constructing in pise (see p37). They enhance traditional forms by adding new, vibrant colours and cool, modern decorative touches.
One of the essentials of any modern Moroccan riad is an ostentatious lantern. Known in Arabic as fanous (see p16), these large lanterns are fashioned from beaten metal laced with cut-out patterns, and they have historically been connected with the celebrations for Ramadan. One whole area of the souks has been given over to their manufacture.
The traditional art of laying zellij (see p36) has evolved in new and exciting ways in the last two decades. Contemporary designers use new colours and striking colour combinations. Earlier limited to wainscoting, zelije is now applied to a greater variety of surfaces.
Born in Tunisia, educated in Morocco and professionally trained in France, Boccara is an influential Marrakech architect. He was one of the first to take traditional Moroccan elements
and reinterpret them to suit the modern age. He has often been credited with repopularising tadelakt and domes.
^Wafer-thin coverings of beaten metal, earlier adorning grand wooden doors, are now used to fashion sheets of copper into hand basins.
With updated traditional techniques, the interiors have made creative use of carved plaster, like the floor-to-ceiling stucco of the dining room at Riad Farnatchi (see left & p116), which resembles flock wallpaper.
Moroccan craftsmen are adept at transforming ordinary sheets into geometric-patterned screens and furniture panels, which are sometimes backlit to stunning effect. Although not indigenous to the country, they also assemble small, lathe-turned pieces of wood to form the screens known as mashrabiya.
While Marrakech is a uniform dusky pink, her interiors are painted in bold colours. Favourites are fruity orange, rose pink, lemon yellow, mustard and cobalt sky blue.
Top 10 Milestones in Modern Moroccan
An elegant Palmeraie villa which is a regular venue for fashion shoots (see p117).
HI Tichka Salam Hotel
Look out for Bill Willis' palm tree columns in the restaurant (see pill).
HI Les Deux Tours
A landmark design by Charles Boccara with plenty of tadelakt and mud-brick domes (see p117).
HI Riad Enija
A conversion of old townhouses updated and filled with fabulous custom-made furniture (see p116).
HI Theatre Royal
A spectacular Boccara building on a monumental scale (see p76).
HI Dar Yacout
More Willis magic at work, including magnificent candy-striped fireplaces (see p7i).
A modest riad with contemporary Moroccan design by French architect Christian Ferre (see p114).
This vast luxury hotel is modern Moroccan as an operatic set piece, complete with reservoirs and green tile-roofed pavilions (see p1166).
HI Dar Les Cigognes
A Charles Boccara, it typically features gorgeous tadelakt, plus beautiful wood and plaster carving (see p114).
HI Le Foundouk
A restaurant that combines the traditional (an old courtyard building) with the modern - backlit water features, leather armchairs, a bar - to sublime effect (see p71).
Products used in Moroccan hammams and spas
Hammams and Spas
Hammam El Bacha
One of the most historic hammams, it was initially used by the staff of the Dar El Bacha (see p69) just across the road. Still functioning, though poorly maintained, the highlight is an impressive 6-m (20-foot) cupola in the steam room. ® Map H3
20 rue Fatima Zohra, Medina
Open: men 7am-1pm daily; women -1pm-9pm daily No credit cards
The hammam is attached to an exclusive Palmeraie villa (see p117) but is open to all. Purpose-built, it is palatial with a central plunge pool and boasts the finest masseur in Marrakech. ® Dar Tounisi Km 5, Route de Fes, Palmeraie I 06 67 35 35 40 Open 10am-7pm
daily; by appt only www.palais-rhoul. r com MC, V accepted
All hammams are single sex and have three main rooms: one cool, one hot, one - the steam room - very hot. Men keep on their underwear, women go naked. In public hammams, a masseur is available for an additional fee. Carry your own towels and toiletries.
La Maison Arabe
The hammams housed in larger riads and hotels are often restricted to guests, but not at the Maison Arabe. Book yourself in for a vigorous gommage (rubdown) with a kissa (loofah mitten) and follow it up with a thorough massage. ® Map H2
1 derb Assehbe, Bab Doukkala 0524 38 70 10
Open 9am-12:30pm, 3-8pm daily; by appt www. lamaisonarabe.com
MC, V accepted
% All riads offer massages on request, but for a professional touch, visit a hammam or go to one of the spas burgeoning in the city. Most local masseurs use essential oils, including locally produced argan oil (see p90). Some also specialize in particular techniques such as tuina or deep touch.
Bains de Marrakech Located just inside Bab Agnaou, this spa centre offers a full range of treatments, from
water massage to shiatsu, plus a
traditional hammam. Spend a day pampering yourself, then pop over next door for cocktails at Riad Mehdi, occupying the other half of the town house. ® Map J6
2 derb Sedra, Bab Agnaou, Kasbah
0524 38 47 13 Open 8:30am-8pm daily
www.riadmehdi.net MC, Vaccepted
looking to sweat it out. A sauna, jacuzzi and a
large pool are other options. ® Map G4 Cnr
ave Echouhada & rue du Temple, Hivernage 0524 42 41 00 Open 9am-10pm daily
AmEx, MC, V accepted
Apart from weekends which are reserved for hotel guests (see p111), the doors of what is arguably the best spa in the city, are open to all. It offers attractive packages. d Map G5 Rue Harroun Errachid, Hivernage 0524 42 56 00 Open 7am-8:30pm daily www.sofitel.com AmEx, MC, V accepted
five-star hotel (see p116) next to the Saadian Tombs, it has a beautiful basement spa, complete with a star-domed marble jacuzzi, a hammam, a fitness centre and solarium. Packages include aromatherapy and seaweed treatments. ® Map K6
Hivernage Hotel & Spa
A smart hotel (see p111) close to the Mamounia, it has a well-equipped modern spa centre. Services include a hammam, essential oil baths, massages and a sports hall for those
403 rue de la Kasbah, Medina 0524 38 80 08
Open 10am-8pm daily; closed 6-26 Aug
www.lasultanamarrakech. com AmEx, MC, V accepted
Hammam Ziani Located near the Bahia
Palace, this hammam offers all the basic facilities (scrub, soak, steam and pummel) in significantly cleaner environs than many other medina bathhouses. ® Map K4
Rue Riad Zitoun El Jedid, Medina
Open 8am-10:30pm daily
Î Left Koutoubia Gardens Right Menara Gardens
a. Parks and Gardens
The Beverly Hills of Morocco, the Palmeraie is a vast palm grove on the northern fringe of the city, and is home to some fantastical and outlandish architectural creations. Some of the luxury villas also double as guesthouses and exclusive hotels (see p117). You can also still see the remains of the early irrigation system introduced by the Almoravids. ® Map F4
The Menara Gardens, with their orchard, pool and pavilion, epitomize a typical Islamic garden. Laid out in the 12th century, the gardens feature a large pool overlooked by a green tile-roofed pavilion. ® Map B7
Avenue de la Menara, Hivernage
0524 43 95 80 Open 5am-6:30pm daily Free entry; adm to picnic pavilion
Dating back to the 12th century, the Agdal comprises several linked gardens including an orange grove, an olive plantation, vineyards and orchards of pomegranates and figs. The garden was enclosed within pise walls in the 19th century. There is a large pool at the heart of the garden called the Tank of Health -in 1873, Sultan
Mohammed IV tragically drowned in it when he went boating with his son. ® Map E7
South of the Grand Mechouar Open Fri, Sun; closed if the king is in residence
Landscaped with flowerbeds and groves of olives and orange trees, the gardens predate the world-famous Mamounia Hotel. The Arset El Mamoun were established in the 18th century by Prince Moulay Mamoun, laid out around a central pavilion that served as a royal residence; the hotel was added a century later (see p28).
Formerly owned by Yves Saint- Laurent (see p34), the gardens were first created by expatriate French artist, Jacques Majorelle. Though small, they are quite lovely with bamboo groves, cacti and palms, and pools floating with water lilies. The
artist's former studio is now a mini Museum of Islamic Art, painted a searing blue, known as "Majorelle blue"(see pp26-7).
Arset Moulay Abdesslem
Between Avenue Mohammed V and the walls of the medina, this public garden has been given a makeover. The lawns, divided by palm-shaded pathways, are a favourite lunch spot. The park also has public internet centres. ® Map G3 Avenue Mohammed V
On the south side of the landmark mosque, these formal gardens have stone pathways lined with flowerbeds and topiary hedges. The roses seem impervious to the heat and appear to be in bloom throughout the year (see p12).
moments, away from the prying eyes of families and relatives (see p77).
Regreening of Marrakech
Your first pleasant surprise as you drive from the airport are the roads lined with rose bushes and jasmine, all part of an initiative to transform the city into a great green garden.
Apart from jacaranda, the streets of the New City are lined with orange trees which flower and bear fruit each spring. The blossom is sold to perfume companies for use in scents.
Jnane El Harti
It may not be the prettiest but this neatly-planted green space is beloved by locals and its proximity to places of work makes it a favourite lunchtime hangout. Come evening, you will spot young couples looking for a few private
PLACE SEN SALAH
Left Shelves of books at Cafe du Livre Right Photography exhibition at Gallerie 127
Arts and Culture
jThis 16th-century town house is a cultural centre and holds regular exhibitions, often with Gnawa musicians (see p11) performing on opening nights. Its small library contains art and heritage books which you can browse through while enjoying some tea or coffee (see p67).
Wt Marrakech International Film Festival
Sponsored by movie fan King Mohammed VI, the festival was launched in 2001 and is held in November. Guests who have walked the red carpet include Martin Scorsese and Sean Con-nery. d www.festival-marrakech.com
Cafe du Livre ;JThe city's only English-language bookstore, the Cafe du Livre is also a cafe and restaurant with Wi-Fi and games. There is a permanent collection of books on Morocco or by Moroccan authors (see pp78-9).
Festivals in Essaouira The Festival des Alizes is held in April/May in Essaouira
(see pp80-83) where thousands of classical music lovers enjoy the free concerts and recitals. In June, there is a four-day festival of Gnawa (see p11) and world music with two stages reserved for international artists. Impromptu performances are held all over the medina. ® www festival-gnaoua.co.ma
Galerie 127 Apparently the only gallery in all of North Africa dedicated to photography, its sparse, white-walled room on the second floor exhibits both local and international works. ® Map B5 127ave Mohammed V, Gueliz 0524 43 26 67 Open 2-7pm Tue-Sun
Arts in Marrakech Festival
Primarily a literary festival, AiM is held the weekend before the international film festival, with art events and exhibitions also featuring. ® www kssouragafay.com/aim
This is a contemporary art gallery at the northern end of the New City and holds regularly changing exhibitions. The owner, Lucien Viola, a renowned international collector of carpets, also has
Berber horse show
plans to open a contemporary art museum. d Map C5 Residence El Andalous III, cnr rue de la Mosquee & rue Ibn Toumert, Gueliz 0524 43 22 58 Open 9am-1pm, 3pm-8pm Mon-Sat.
Created by architect Charles Boccara (see pp38-9), this building is a modern adaptation of traditional Islamic models. Sadly, the 1,200-seat venue is rarely occupied. Nearly 15 years after its design was first undertaken, it remains incomplete due to lack of funds (see p76).
Usually meaning a fortified village, here kssour refers to a restored private town house in the medina. A private members' club, it opens to the public for Sufi music events, readings and exhibitions. d Map J3 52 Sabet Graoua, off rue Mouassine, Medina 0524 42 70 00 www. kssouragafay.com
Marrakech Festival of Popular Arts
Troupes from all over Morocco perform at this annual celebration of Berber music and dance held in June or July. Don't miss the magnificent fantasia, a charge of Berber horsemen, outside the ramparts near the Bab El Jedid. d www.maghrebarts.ma
Top 10 Moroccan Cultural Figures
Tahar Ben Jelloun
Morocco's best known writer won the French Prix Goncourt in 1987 for his novel The Sacred Night.
This Marrakech-based artist authored the excellent Welcome to Paradise.
The graphic artist behind the T-shirts worn by the staff at London's famous Moroccan restaurant, Momo.
A Casablanca-born filmmaker, her debut feature Marock caused a scandal on its release in 2006.
One of Morocco's most influential artists, he often works on lamb-skin canvases.
Based in New York, this Moroccan trance specialist performed on Jemaa El Fna as a child.
This well-known architect is high on the list of celebrities looking for a suitably fancy residence.
Master Musicians IB of Jajouka
International fame came upon this musical ensemble from a North Moroccan village courtesy of the Rolling Stones.
The first Moroccan woman author to have her work translated into English.
Amelie and the Oscar-nominated Days of Glory brought this French actor of Moroccan descent into the spotlight.
The intimate yet deluxe Farnatchi has a design that is a playful update of the local aesthetic. Luxurious suites boast sunken baths and private terraces. d Map K2 Derb El Farnatchi, off rue Souk des Fassis, Medina 0524 38 49 10 www.riadfarnatchi.com ©©©©
Riyad El Cadi
This rambling residence, created by connecting no less than eight houses, was designed by a former German ambassador to Morocco with a passion for collecting; the suites, rooms and I salons have museum-worthy
items of Islamic art, such as wooden screens, Berber hangings and painted ceilings. However, the overall feel is very clean and contemporary. d Map K3
87 derb Moulay Abdelkader, off derb Debbachi, Medina 0524 37 86 55
One of the older riads, it still manages to remain one of the most striking. The spacious rooms feature the most outlandish collection of furniture. TV sets, telephones and other modern accoutrements are nonexistent, while at the heart of the riad is a wild courtyard garden. d Map K3 9 derb Mesfioui, off rue Rahba Lakdima, Medina 0524 44 00 14 www.riadenija.com ©©©©
La Maison Arabe
More a small hotel than a riad, La Maison Arabe began life as a restaurant in the 1940s, closing in 1983 and then reopening 16 years later as the
city's first maison
d'hotel. It feels almost like a country mansion and retains a definite colonial air. Guests can use a lovely garden pool on the outskirts of the city in a garden setting. d Map H2 1 derb Asse-hbe, Bab Doukkala 0524 38 70 10 www.lamaison arabe.com ©<© to §)§)§)§)§;
Riad Kaiss JJThe small Kaiss is the quintessential riad. Rooms surround a courtyard full of trees and have pink walls with Majorelle-blue trim and zellij tiling. There are lots of private terraces and balconies. d Map K4 65 derb Jedid, off rue Riad Zitoun El Kedim, Medina 0524 44 01 41 www.riadkaiss.com
Riyad Al Moussika
Formerly owned by Thami El Glaoui (see p33), the Italian owner of this riad has created a traditional-style residence with six rooms on two levels, an Andalusian courtyard and a music room with piano. The food here is particularly good. d Map L4
17 derb Cherkaoui, off rue Douar Graoua, Medina
0524 38 90 67 www. riyad-al-moussika.com
This is a tiny riad with just four rooms overlooking a small courtyard full of banana trees and coconut palms. The
rooms feature earthy tones and have dark-wood ceilings and tadelakt bathrooms (see p36). Owner Lucrezia Mutti runs cookery courses. d Map J3 23 rue Laksour, Quartier Laksour, Medinai 0524 42 69 66 www.darattajmil.com ©©
Reasonably priced, this riad has two suites, two big double rooms and one smaller double room. The decor in each room is beautiful and highlights the "African" in North African. The rooms are set around a large central courtyard that is used for breakfasts and candlelit dinners. d Map K2 25 derb El Ferrane, Quartier Azbest, Medina 0524 38 51 50 www. tchaikana.com ©©
Not as grand as other riads, it compensates with a homely atmosphere and attentive service from the Moroccan staff. There are six differently coloured rooms on two floors around a central orange-tree shaded courtyard. d Map K3 79 derb Moulay Abdel-kader, off derb Dabachi 0524 42 66 88 No cards accepted ©©
Left The dinosaurs at Jnane El Harti Right Riding camels in the Palmeraie
Ø10 Marrakech for Children
Jemaa El Fna
With dancing monkeys, snake charmers, acrobats and musicians, Jemaa El Fna will definitely capture the children's fancy. However, make sure kids have adequate protection from the heat, especially during the summer months when temperatures can top 40° C (104° F) (see pp8-11).
Pony and camel rides
Off the main route through the Palmeraie among the palms is the Tansift Garden that has a children's playground and the Palmier d'Or cafe. Ponies can be hired and camels are available nearby. d Circuit de la Palmeraie 0524 30 87 86 Open 8am-11:30pm or midnight daily
On the north side of Place de Foucault, just off Jemaa El Fna, a ride in brightly painted horse-drawn caleches (carriages) might be a novel way to entertain kids. The carriages circle the medina walls or go up to the Palmeraie. Prices are listed for some tours, or negotiate an hourly rate (90 Dh is reasonable).
For a small fee, the Palmeraie Golf Palace will allow non-guests the use of its swimming pools. It has a young children's play area and a bowling alley.
Horse riding Pony- and horse-riding facilities can be found opposite the Palmeraie Golf Palace Hotel and Resort (see p117). The Royal Club Equestre also has horses and ponies available to hire for both adults and children under ten years (15-minute rides are offered). d Royal Club Equestre, Route du barrage (opposite Oasiria) 0524 38 18 49
South of the Jnane El Harti, next to the Royal Tennis Club, this bright coffee shop serving ice cream also has indoor and outdoor play areas. Kids can have a go at playing table football, table tennis and video games. d Map C5 1 rue Imam Shafi, Kawkab Centre, Hivernage 0524 43 89 29 Open 2-10pm Tue-Fri, 9:30am-11pm Sat, Sun and holidays www.kawkab-jeu.com
Parents of fussy eaters might be glad of Le Catanzaro (see p79), a friendly Italian restaurant in Gueliz that does great pizza and has a children's menu. Alternatively, there are always the ubiquitous McDonald's outlets for a quick bite.
If you are travelling with kids, opt for one of the larger hotels (see p111), instead of the smaller riads where noisy kids can be an issue. The Coralia Club Palmariva is child-friendly with a pool, playground and an activity centre. d Coralia Club Palmariva, Km 6, Route de Fes 0524 32 90 36 H3000@accor.com
South of the city, this large waterpark features a wave pool, lagoons, a covered and heated pool, an artificial river and beach, plus many restaurants. A free shuttle bus runs seven times a day from Jemaa El Fna and Gueliz. d Km 4, Route du barrage 0524 38 04 38 Open 10am-7pm daily, closed winter, Ramadan Adm
Jnane El Harti
This public park has a small kid's play area with two big green dinosaurs for kids to clamber over. There's a McDonald's on the other side of the traffic junction (see p77).
Top 10 Other Activities
Souk Cuisine organizes culinary weeks or tailor-made programmes. d www. soukcuisine.com
Bicycles can be hired from various places, including Bazaar Salah Eddine (off Rue de Bab Agnaoul) and Rue Bani Marine.
Play at the Palmeraie Golf Palace (see p117) or the Golf d'Amelkis. d Golf dAmelkis: Km 12, Route de Ouarzazate; 0524 40 44 14
HI Hammams & spas
A popular pastime is to strip down for a relaxing massage (see pp40-41).
HI Horse riding
The Royal Club Equestre is one of several stables. d 0524 38 18 49
Atlas Karting on the Route de Safi also offers quad bikes. d Map C4 0661 23 76 87
Learn French or Moroccan Arabic at the Institut Frangais in July. d Map B5 Jbel Gueliz 566 0524 44 69 30 www. ifm.ma
A marathon takes place in January. d www.marathon-marrakech.com
There are also hotel swimming pools open to non-guests at Les Jardins de la Koutoubia, Le Meridien N'Fis and Sofitel (see p111).
The Royal Tennis Club welcomes non-members (except Sat). d Map C5 Rue Oued El Makhazine, Gueliz 0524 43 19 02
A staple cuisine across North Africa, couscous comprises tiny grains of semolina that are cooked by steaming, which causes it to swell and turn light and fluffy. It is usually eaten with a spicy, harissa-flavoured broth, and served with steamed vegetables and meat.
Cooked slowly at low temperatures in a clay pot with a cone-shaped lid, tajines typically combine meat with fruits. Ingredients for these dishes include any foodstuff that braises well, such as fish, beef, dried fruits, olives and vegetables.
Pastilla is a starter as well as a main dish. It is a pillow of filo pastry with a sweet and savoury stuffing - generally shredded pigeon cooked with onions. The dish is dusted with cinnamon to give it that distinctive Moroccan flavour.
Small triangles of filo pastry with a variety of fillings, the most common being minced lamb with spices and pine nuts, and feta cheese with spinach. Some kitchens in Marrakech also prepare them with
lemon. Their sweet version is prepared with groundnuts and soaked in honey.
A traditional Moroccan soup made with tomatoes, lentils, chickpeas, spices and lamb, it is a substantial meal by itself. Associated with special occasions, it is also served during Ramadan when it is eaten at sundown to break the fast.
A serving of Harira soup
Moroccan salads Moroccan salads are served at the beginning of a meal. Orange blossom water, a signature local ingredient, is used in the preparation of some salads.
The end of a meal is often marked with a serving of pastries. The popular honey cakes or chabakia, deep-fried and dipped in honey, are served during Ramadan. Another tasty dessert is sweet pastilla - a filo pastry covered in nuts and creme shrimp, chicken and Traditional handwashing kettle Anglaise (custard).
A belly dancer entertains at dinner time Mint tea
The ubiquitous green tea with mint is invariably served with vast quantities of sugar. The technique of pouring is almost as crucial as the drink itself; the long, curved teapot spouts allow the tea to be poured theatrically, the liquid gracefully arcing into the small glasses.
In cheaper restaurants, set meals consist of a starter (soup or a salad), a main dish and a dessert (fruit or creme caramel). The more expensive restaurants serve a seemingly limitless succession of courses with more food than you could possibly eat. Indulge in it at least once for a true Marrakech experience.
Some restaurants combine dining with entertainment, such as belly dancing or performances by Gnawa musicians. Es Saadi (see p111) and Chez Ali take kitsch to extremes, with acrobats and even snake charmers displaying their antics.
Top 10 variations on a tajine
HI Lamb, prune and HI roast almonds
The sliced almonds add crunch to the sticky consistency of the prunes.
HI Lamb, onions and HI almonds
This savoury lamb tajine is a great favourite.
HI Lamb and dates
Served at Le Tanjia (see p65) and widely used in French cuisine.
HI Lamb and pear
The pear all but melts to the consistency of a puree. Served at La Maison Arabe (see p46).
HI Veal and green HI peas
The added saffron and ginger give this tajine a very special taste.
Beef with fennel HI and peas
The chefs at La Maison Arabe (see p46) make good use of beef in this extremely tasty tajine.
HI Kefta tajine
These are small balls of spicy minced meat that are slow-cooked in a rich tomato sauce, with an egg occasionally added.
Apart from Dar Moha (see p71), you will find the best, freshest fish tajines in Essaouira.
Lamb and HI artichokes
Strong-flavoured lamb works beautifully with caramelised onions and artichokes.
HI Veal and quince
Those who like a mixture of sweet and sour should try this popular tajine.
This stylish restaurant serves French and Moroccan cuisine. An old courtyard building has been given a modern look, complete with leather seating and a wonderful chandelier. A small bar area and a beautiful roof terrace provide the perfect spot for an aperitif while waiting for a table (see p71).
Taste Moroccan cuisine as reinterpreted by Marrakech's celebrity chef, Moha Fedal. Lunch and dinner are set menus but the food is unlike anything you will eat elsewhere. Gnawa musicians add to the ambience and perform by the poolside during summer (see p71).
This completely women-run Moroccan restaurant is unusual in that it offers a la carte choices rather than a set menu. The restaurant has a charming garden, but lacks the panache of its many competitors though it compensates with its terrific food (see p79).
Don't go by the
looks of this modest
restaurant (the waiter
writes your order on a
paper napkin). The
and brouchettes Dar Moha
(kebabs) served here are tasty and very affordable. The atmosphere is terrific, thanks to its ringside view of the Jemaa El Fna (see p65).
Le Tobsil Dine at Tobsil for a sumptuous experience. Occupying two levels of an old house around a central court, it is lit up by candlelight and has no menu; waiters deliver a seemingly endless succession of dishes -vegetarian meze, pastilla, tajines, couscous and pastries (see p71).
Jemaa El Fna Each evening, a part of the main square in the medina is transformed into a vast open-air eatery; crowds flock between the numerous makeshift kitchens set up to prepare food for the people assembled. It's possible to sample most Moroccan classics, from harrira and brochettes to couscous and tajines (see pp10-11).
When you couldn't possibly face another tajine, Kechmara is a smart, hip bar-restaurant with a distinctly European aesthetic. The Continental menu includes tasty salads, meat in sauces and desserts. The atmosphere is light and fun and there's a fine rooftop terrace (see p79).
JThis restaurant's as famous an attraction as the Koutoubia or the Mamounia. Much of its reputation rests on its interior, a
striking mix of the traditional and the bizarre, with flowering columns and quaint candy-striped fireplaces. Sit at the mother-of-pearl-inset tables and feast on the limitless set menu (see p71).
I Located in a two-storey villa, this remains the best venue for a night out in town. Always packed, the noise levels are invariably high, with voices competing with the DJ. While the food is good, with saveurs d'ici (Moroccan) and saveurs d'ailleurs (French), it is the atmosphere that makes Comptoir memorable, especially on weekend nights when diners are entertained by belly dancers (see p79).
Like Comptoir, Le Tanjia excels in ramping up the atmosphere to almost nightclub-like levels, with a bevy of genuinely sexy belly dancers. Apart from the show, the menu lists some unforgettable Moroccan classics, such as the mouthwatering lamb meshaoui (see p65).
A spacious lounge above the ground floor restaurant (see Jr; p79), with a long and alluring bar v stretching along one wall, this is (U the place where women dress up and men turn on the charm. J2 The atmosphere is smart and sophisticated, verging on the louche. d Map C6 Ave Echouhada, Hivernage 0524 43 77 02 Open 4pm-1am daily www.comptoirdarna.com
MC, V accepted
ten-minute drive south of town is North Africa's largest, megadecibel, super club. A I massive, purpose-built affair, it can accommodate up to 3,000 people. It also boasts a chillout lounge, two restaurants and a swimming pool with sunbathing terrace. Guest DJs are flown in from overseas every weekend. d Blvd Mohammed VI, Zone hoteliere de lAguedal 0524 38 84 82 Open noon-5am daily www.pachamarrakech.com
MC, V accepted
With a largely "no liquor" rule in the medina due to its religious status, the nightlife is mostly outside the city walls. The buzz of activity is around Place Abdel Moumen Ben Ali where this pavement cafe is located. Coffee-drinkers can be found at streetside tables; those with a more boozy disposition can enjoy alcohol inside. d Map B5 Ave Mohammed V, Gueliz 0524 44 88 88 Open 8am-10pm daily No credit cards
Kozybar A pub-style bar with intimate dining spaces above, crowned by a rooftop terrace. Live music Thu-Sun and a show at 10:30pm. d Map K5 47 place des Ferblantiers, Mellah 0524 38 03 24 Open noon-1am Tue-Sun MC, V accepted
Kechmara Though mainly a cafe-restaurant, Kechmara also boasts a busy bar complete with taps for biere pression. The rooftop terrace is one of the few places to enjoy beer in an alfresco setting (see p79).
This small lounge bar is notable for its outdoor terrace; you'll even find a sofa under a palm tree strung with fairy lights. d Map B4 24 rue de Yougosla-vie, Gueliz 0524 43 37 03 Open 11am-midnight daily MC, Vaccepted
This budget hotel's informal bar allows impecunious travellers to kick back over cheap beer. It's shabby, but one of few places to enjoy drinks in the medina. d Map J4 Rue Almouwahidine, Bab Agnaou, Medina 0524 44 27 87 Open noon-11pm daily Credit cards accepted
Set in a converted theatre, this hip nightclub is known for its uproarious hedonism. The former stage is now a busy dance floor.
d Map C6 Hotel Es Saadi, Ave El Kadissia, Hivernage 0524 44 88 11 Open 11pm-5am daily www theatromarrakech.com MC, Vaccepted
SNikki Beach Lounge by the pool and swim out to the "floating bars" at this fabulously glitzy club 15 minutes from the medina. At night, it transforms into a busy nightclub with DJs playing over an amazing sound system. d Circuit de la Palmeraie 0524 36 87 27
Open 11:30am-midnight daily www. nikkibeach.com MC, V accepted
Casino de Marrakech
Opened in 1952 with a full revue show imported from Paris, the Casino has seen the likes of Josephine Baker grace its stage. It now features 14 gaming tables and a cabaret show. d Map C6
Hotel Es Saadi, Hivernage 524 44 88 11 www.casinodemarrakech.com
Left Tameslohte Right The artificial lake, Barrage Lalla Takarkoust
many waterside restaurants, including the long-established Relais du Lac, which also offers accommodation. d Map C2 Relais du Lac, Route d'Amizmiz 061 18 74 72 www.hotel-relaisdulac-marrakech.com
Kasbah du Toubkal
IOukaimeden Marrakech also serves as a base for skiing for a part of the year. Snowfall on the Atlas between February and April means business for the ski resort at Oukaimeden high above the Ourika Valley. There is a chairlift and ski equipment can be hired on site. The Bronze Age petroglyphs are an attraction in spring and summer. d Map C2
HJA former tribal stronghold deep in the Atlas Mountains, this kasbah is at the foot of Jbel Toubkal. The last part of the journey is done by mule. Visitors are brought up for a Berber lunch and a hike and delivered back into town before dark. You can even stay overnight at the kasbah (see p93).
Travellers to Ouarzazate invariably call on the imposing mountain palace of Telouet, but if your plans don't include a trip south of the Atlas, then visit the kasbah on a day trip from Marrakech. A daily bus goes to Telouet or you can hire a taxi for the day; ask your hotel to arrange it (see p95).
About two hours' drive south of Marrakech, the ancient, restored mosque of Tin Mal makes for a stunning day out in case a full trip over the Tizi-n-Test pass is not possible. If you go on
^This medieval walled port-city on the Atlantic coast a few hours from Marrakech, boasts rampart walks, souks, beaches, a fishing harbour and a fascinating hippy-era history (see pp80-83).
Barrage Lalla Takarkoust
To the south of Marrakech on Route d'Amizmiz, this is an impressive artificial lake with the Atlas Mountains as a backdrop. The clear water makes it a great place to go swimming. You can also take out one of the boats for hire. Try out the fare at the
20-minute drive out of Marrakech on the Route d'Amizmiz, Tameslohte is a roadside village famed for its busy potters' cooperative. There's also an ancient mule-driven olive oil press, weavers' workshops and a crumbling kasbah. Start your trip by paying a visit to the Association
Several small villages in the vicinity of Marrakech host weekly markets. Villagers from surrounding regions flock to them to buy and sell produce, cheap clothing and assorted bric-a-brac. Donkeys and mules are the dominant means of transport. Cattle auctions are also common, as are makeshift salons of travelling barbers and dentists. Ask your hotel for details on where and when to find them.
Tameslohte, an information office on the main square, Place Sour Souika, next to the main mosque. There's also a branch in Marrakech d Map C1 Association Tameslohte: 6 Galerie Bab Semarine, rue de la Liberte, Gueliz; 0524 44 87 43
Cascades d'Ouzoud Two hours northeast on Route de Fes, these are the most beautiful waterfalls in Morocco. Trek through wooded groves (ouzoud is Berber for olives) to reach the gorges of Oued El Abid. There's a lovely riad at the top of the Cascades if you fancy spending the night. d Map D1 Riad Cascades d'Ouzoud 0523 42 91 73 www.riadouzoud.com
Left Maison Tiskiwin Right Bahia Palace
Jemaa El Fna and the Kasbah
HE SPIRITUAL AND HISTORICAL HEART OF MARRAKECH, the Jemaa El Fna I (pronounced as a rushed "j'maf na") was laid out: as a parade ground by the city's founders (see pp8-11). After the new rulers of Marrakech constructed a walled royal domain to the south - known as the kasbah - the open ground passed into the public domain. Sultans have come and gone and royal palaces have risen and fallen, but the Jemaa El Fna remains eternally vital. Used earlier to display the heads of executed criminals, it is still home to some extraordinary sights, like snake charmers and monkey trainers. By night, it transforms into a busy eating area.
7 Bahia Palace
8 Rue Riad Zitoun El Jedid
9 Dar Si Said Museum
0 Maison Tiskiwine
Preceding pages Bahia Palace
Kasbah Mosque, which itself is just inside the beautiful and equally historic Bab Agnaou (see p18). The small garden site is the final resting place for some 66 royals who belonged to the Saadian dynasty, whose reign marked a golden era in the history of the city (see p20-21).
It is difficult to reconcile these ruins with a palace once reputed to be among the world's finest. An expanse of dusty ground within half-eroded walls, it retains some of its old elements, including sunken gardens and a dazzling piece of Moorish craftsmanship (see pp24-5).
The Koutoubia Mosque is easily identified by its magnificent minaret or tower. And what a beautiful structure it is; at a towering height of 77 metres (252 ft), its rose pink colour makes for an eye-catching contrast, silhouetted against the cobalt blue sky by daylight and in the fiery orange twilight of the evenings (see pp12-13). Only Muslims are permitted inside the mosque.
Fue de Bab Agnaou
Running south off Jemaa El Fna, this is the medina's pedestrianised "modern" main street. Though not a particularly picturesque street, it is a very servicable one with postcard sellers, cash-dispensing ATMs, telephone offices, pharmacies and internet cafes. Its narrow side alleys are home to hotels that are easy on the wallet. While in the city, you will definitely find yourself making a trip here to make use of its many facilities. d Map J4
The historic Saadian tombs are located down a narrow passageway that runs beside the Underground passage at the Badii Palace
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The King and his Palaces
Throughout Moroccan history, the
royal court has shifted base between Fes, Meknes, Rabat and Marrakech. The Almohads furnished Marrakech with its first royal palace south of Jemaa El Fna in the 12th century and it's been there ever since. The present King
Mohammed VI had a smaller palace built for his personal use, outside the Bab Agnaou.
The old Jewish quarter lies immediately east of the kasbah. You can enter via the Souk El Bab Salaam, a busy, covered market street across from a rose-planted square. This street leads to Place Souweka and just to the north you'll find one of the city's last working synagogues. Most of the Jewish population of Marrakech left for Israel after the Second World War, in the 1940s and 1950s, but the number of graves in the nearby Miaara Jewish cemetery is testament to how many there once were. d Map L5
Built in the 1890s by a powerful grand vizier (high official), the Bahia ("Brilliant") is a minor palace complex
approached by a long garden driveway. Inside, arrows direct visitors through a succession of courtyards and private rooms that were used by the vizier and his four wives. All the rooms are lavishly decorated with zellij tiling (see p36), sculpted stucco and carved cedarwood. The ruling sultan, Abdel Aziz, was so jealous of the riches of the Bahia that on the vizier's death he had the palace stripped and looted. d Map K5 Rue Riad Zitoun El Jedid 0524 38 91 79 Open 8:45-11:45am, 2:45-5:45pm Sat-Thu, 8:45-11:30am, 3-5:45pm Fri Adm
Rue Riad Zitoun El Jedid
A long arcing alley which translates as the "Street of the New Olive Garden" this is another main route through the southern part of the medina. It connects several major sights with Jemaa El Fna, including the Bahia Palace and Dar Si Said Museum. You will also come across the small derb (alley) that leads to Riad Tamsna, a restaurant, gallery and boutique, housed in a beautiful old courtyard building that has upper galleries and a roof terrace. d Map K4 Riad Tamsna: 23 derb Zanka Daika 0524 38 52 72 Open noon-midnight daily
Dar Si Said Museum
Built by the brother of Ba Ahmed, builder of the Bahia Palace, this is an altogether more modest dwelling. However, what it sacrifices in scale, it makes up for in its impressive detailing - the house has some beautiful
painted ceilings. It also serves as a museum for decorative arts; the exhibits on display include fine examples of carved wooden panels and painted Berber doors. The museum also includes some interestingly designed jewellery, carpets and metalwork. d Map K4 Rue Riad Zitoun El Jedid 0524 44 24 64 Open 9am-noon, 3-6:30pm Wed-Mon Adm
Located en route to the Dar Si Said Museum, this is a private house belonging to the Dutch anthropologist Bert Flint. An avid documenter of tribal arts and crafts, particularly carpets, Flint had amassed a fascinating and vast collection. Presented in his home for public viewing, the exhibition has been organized geographically as a journey that traces the old desert trade routes from Marrakech to Timbuktu. Unfortunately, you'll find the labelling of the exhibits in French only. d Map K4 8 derb El Bahia, off rue Riad Zitoun El Jedid 0524 38 91 92 Open 10am-12:30pm, 3:30-5:30pm daily Adm
To the palaces
Start on Jemaa El Fna
(see p61). On the south side is an arch that leads through Rue Riad Zitoun
El Kedim (see p61). This
area is mainly inhabited by locals and there's an absence of souvenir and trinket vendors. At the southern end of the street, several places sell items fashioned out of old car tyres, from the purely practical (buckets) to the quirky (stylish mirror frames). Over the main road, is the Marche Couvert (see p64), a fruit, vegetable and meat market, worth a quick look. Then just southeast is the
Place des Ferblantiers
(see p64), a paved plaza surrounded by metalworkers, with a gate that leads through to the haunting Badii Palace (see p61). After visiting the ruins, grab a cheap snack on the northwest corner of Place des Ferblantiers.
Wander through the Souk El Bab Salaam (see p64) before heading back north up the Rue Riad Zitoun El Jedid. At the end of the street, on the right is the gateway to the Bahia Palace but anyone pushed for time should turn right and take the first left to the excellent Dar Si Said Museum. Along Rue Riad Zitoun El Jedid to the left is Riad Tamsna, worth dropping in to shop, have a cup of tea or simply admire. Further north is a good little boutique, Jamade (see p64). Pass by the Cinema Eden, one of the city's few open-air picture houses, and bear left to re-emerge onto Jemaa El Fna.
Left Souk El Bab Salaam Centre 1920s postcard in Aya's shop Right Akkal pottery at Jamade
elO Places to Shop
This vast government-run storehouse is just a few minutes' walk from the Saadian Tombs. You'll find an array of traditional Moroccan handicrafts, from carpets to pottery. The prices are fixed, so no haggling (see p21).
Displaying the work of Moulay Youssef, a famous Moroccan metalworker, this charming atelier is hidden away in an alley west of the rose garden across the Place des Ferblantiers. d Map K5 6-46 Fondouk My Mamoun 0524 38 49 09
Commonly called the Mellah Market, this indoor market sells local produce including dried fruit, nuts, meat and fish. d Map
K5 Ave Houman El Fetouaki Closed Fri
Souk El Bab Salaam
Follow the aromas, wafting from the edge of the old Jewish quarter, to this small market selling herbs and spices. d Map K5
Rue Riad Zitoun El Jedid This street is lined with plenty of small boutiques offering an alternative to the souks. d Map K4
Jamade A contemporary little boutique, it has a well-chosen selection of pottery, jewellery and tea glasses. d Map K4 1 Douar Graoua, rue Riad Zitoun El Jedid 0524 42 99 84
Herman If you want to try your hand at Moroccan cooking, this small place off the main square has authentic red earthenware tajines. d Map J4 3 rue Moulay Ismail, off Jemaa El Fna
It may be hard to find (a door away from Le Tanjia), but worth seeking out for exotic clothing and jewellery, as well as curiosities such as saucy "ethnic" postcards from the 1920s. d Map K5 11 bis, Derb Jedid, Bab Mellah 05 24 38 34 28 www.ayasmarrakech.com
Place des Ferblantiers
As an alternative to the souks, this is the place to go to for the unique brass and iron lanterns that come in all shapes and sizes, including some inset with coloured glass. d Map K5
Cordonnerie ll'l Errafia
A small shoemaker who specializes in stylish loafers fashioned from raffia for men, and more decorative ones for women. d Map K4 Rue Riad Zitoun El Jedid 0662 77 83 47
HO Places to Eat
The terrace upstairs offers superb views over the main square and good Moroccan fare. d Map J3 1 & 2 Jemaa El Fna 0524 44 53 50 Open 5am-11pm daily No credit cards ©©
This restaurant has an a la carte menu, music and belly dancing. d Map K3 52 rue des Ban-ques 0524 44 33 77 Open 11:30am-3pm, 7:30pm-midnight daily www.lema rrakchi.com MC, Vaccepted ©©©
Terrasses de l'Alhambra
Enjoy the pizzas and pastas on this eatery's first-floor terrace. d Map K3 Jemaa El Fna Open 8am-11pm daily No credit cards ©©
Set in a mansion, the Thai food matches the resplendent surroundings. d Map J4 30 rue de
la Koutoubia 0524 44 08 44 Open 7pm-1am daily MC, Vaccepted ©©
Eat out on the lovely terrace overlooking the kas-bah walls. d Map K5
47 place des Ferblantiers
0524 38 03 24 Open noon-1am Tue-Sun MC, Vaccepted ©@©
Patisserie des Princes
A local version of a French pastry parlour with glass cabinets
displaying creamy and sugary cakes, it also offers ice creams, juices, tea and coffee. d Map J4
32 rue de Bab Agnaou 0524 44 30 33
Open 5am-11pm daily
Chez Chegrouni Try the couscous here. Scribble your order on a paper napkin for the waiter; it returns at the end as your bill. d Map K3
Jemaa El Fna Open 6am-11pm daily
No credit cards ©
A three-storey temple with a party-like ambience, enhanced by music and belly dancers in the evening. d Map K5 14 derb Jedid, Hay Essalam, Mellah 0524 38 38 36 Open noon-3:30pm, 7:30pm-1am daily ©©©
Jemaa El Fna
For the ultimate dining experience, dine at one of the stalls in the square. Play safe with brochettes (kebabs) or experiment with snail soup or smoked goat's head (see pp10-11).
The pizzas are good, but the best thing about this place is the view of the stunning Koutoubia minaret from the rooftop terrace. d Map J4
279 ave Mohammed V
0524 44 00 81 Open noon-3pm, 6-11pm daily
MC, V accepted ©©
ORTH OF JEMAA EL FNA is one vast area of tightly squeezed commerce with dozens of narrow alleyways, all lined with shops the size of . cupboards selling cloth, leather, metalwork, brass lanterns, carpets and jewellery. Each area is dedicated to a single item, so a street might be packed with nothing but sellers of canary-yellow leather slippers and another with vendors of glazed pottery. Don't fall for the sellers' flattering cry, "Hey my friend, for you I give special price": it always pays to haggle. Irrespective of whether you are buying or not, it is an entrancing experience.
1 Mouassine Fountain
2 Dar Cherifa
4 Souk des Teinturiers
5 The Kissaria
6 Musee de Marrakech
7 Medersa Ben Youssef
8 Koubba El Badiyin
9 The Tanneries
0 Dar El Bacha
There are two main routes into the souks: Rue Mouassine and Rue Semarine. The former runs past the Mouassine Mosque, after which the neighbourhood is named. A right turn at the mosque leads to a small plaza that holds a fountain with four bays, three for animals and one for humans. An arched gateway next to the fountain leads to the Souk des Teinturiers (see below). d Map J2
This beautifully renovated town house can be located by following the signs at the head of the alley opposite the side of the Mouassine Mosque. Boasting exquisite woodwork and carved plasterwork, some of the interiors date back to the 16th century. The house operates as a cultural centre, hosting regular shows by local artists. There's also a small library and tea and coffee served. d Map J2 8 derb Charfa Lakbir, Mouassine 0524 39 16 09 Open 9am-7pm daily www.marrakech-riads.net
To the north of the Mouassine Mosque, past Cafe Arabe (see p71), is an excellent
example of a fondouk or old merchants' hostel. Currently the rooms on the ground floor are used as workshops and the ones upstairs are mainly used for storage purposes. This particular fondouk has had a brush with moviedom, when it featured in the film Hideous Kinky as the hotel where actress Kate Winslet and her daughters are shown to be lodged. d Map J2 192 rue Mouassine
Souk des Teinturiers
One of the most alluring places in Marrakech, the Dyers' Souk is a tangle of narrow
alleyways east of the Mouassine Mosque. It becomes a riot of colours during the days, when hanks of just-dyed wools are hung out to dry above certain alleys. The dyers themselves are very easy to identify; they are the men with red, purple and blue colours up to their elbows (see p14).
The deepest part of the souks, the kissaria is a tight grouping of narrow, parallel alleys that run, much like the rungs of a ladder, between the Souk El Kebir and Souk des Babouches. Most of the shops are no bigger than cupboards and the passageway between them scarcely wide enough for two people to pass. A visit here is like stepping into the past, until a shopkeeper enquires whether you'd like to pay by cash or card. d Map K2
Musee de Marrakech
While the museum's exhibits are generally unengaging - the rotating collection includes ceramics and a thin collection of traditional crafts - the building itself is splendid. A finely restored 19th-century palace, it once belonged to a member of the royal court. An impressive central court has an imposing chandelier, while the former hammam makes an unusual exhibition space. d Map K2 Place Ben Youssef 0524 44 18 93 Open 9am-6pm daily (except religious holidays) Adm www.musee.ma
The Seven Saints
Marrakech has seven patron saints, all of whom are believed to be sleeping and will one day rise again. The medina is dotted with the green-roofed shrines of the saints, all off limits to non-Muslims, though it is possible to walk through the outer precincts of the Shrine of Sidi Bel Abbes. Once a year, pilgrims flood into the city to visit a shrine a day.
Medersa Ben Youssef
North of the Musee de Marrakech, the Medersa is an even more stunning building. A 16th-century theological college, it has tiny, windowless cells for several hundred students and a still functioning bathroom. The real glory, however, is the central courtyard, which combines poly-chromic tiling, decorative plaster-work and carved-wood panelling to sublime effect (see pp22-3).
Koubba El Badiyin
f*J The dusty open plaza across the Musee de Marrakech is named after the Ben Youssef Mosque, lying beyond a wall on the north side. Although non-Muslims are forbidden to enter the mosque, all visitors are allowed into the Koubba El Badiyin, a small domed structure that sits alone in its own garden. This is the only surviving structure from the Almoravids era, the founders of Marrakech. The underside of the dome carries a beautiful eight-pointed star motif. d Map K2 Place Ben Youssef 0524 44 18 93 Open Apr-Sep 9am-6pm daily; Oct-Mar 9am-6pm daily (except religious holidays) Adm www.musee.ma
A strong stomach is required to visit this particular quarter of the medina. This is where animal
A "three monuments" pass for 60 Dh gives admission to Musee de Marrakech, Medersa Ben Youssef and the Koubba El Badiyin.
hides are turned into leather. The work is done by hand and involves the hides being soaked in open vats, which look like a paintbox of watercolours from a distance, but up close smell foul, like cesspits. The guides who show visitors around hand out sprigs of mint to hold under your nose. If you venture this far, pay a visit to the Bab Debbagh, which is located nearby (see p19). d Map L1
Dar El Bacha
This is the former residence of Thami El Glaoui (see pp33 and 96), the much feared and little loved ruler of Marrakech and southern Morocco during the first half of the 20th century. This is where the Glaoui entertained guests such as Winston Churchill and kept his extensive harem. But beyond the colourful history associated with the place, the complex veers towards the tawdry. Parts of the palace, currently closed to visitors, are set to open as an archaeological museum. d Map J2 Rue Dar El Bacha Open 9am-2pm Mon-Fri Adm
&\ Wrong turns and too many distractions make it impossible to plan a walk through the souks, which you should explore by yourself. On another day, head up Rue Mouassine. At the first crossroads, look left: a lantern dangles above the door of the Kssour Agafay (see p45), the city's exclusive "members' club" (ask and you might be allowed to look around). Continue north and take the next left, then the first right to the gem that is Dar Cherifa (see p67). Return to Rue Mouassine and turn left at the T-junction. Take the first right through a low archway; follow the alley left and then right to No. 22 and ring the bell for Ministerio del Gusto, a studio and gallery (9am-noon, 4-7pm). Back on the main street, take a left to the Mouassine Fountain (see p67) and then start heading northward. Stop at the Cafe Arabe (see p71) for lunch.
Ahead of the cafe is the fondouk made famous in Hideous Kinky (see p67). The Shrine of Sidi Abdel Aziz is barred to non-Muslims, so take a left. On Rue Dar El Bacha, you will find many antique emporiums and the Dar El Bacha. Along Rue Bab Doukkala, stop at the shopping emporium, Mustapha Blaoui (see p70). Walk west past the Bab Doukkala Mosque, through a street market to the Bab Doukkala gate (see p19) and the exit from the medina; this place is packed with taxis - it is 10 Dh to Jemaa El Fna.
Monsieur Blaoui's twinkling warehouse of Moroccan goods has everything from candle-holders to wardrobes. d Map H2
142 rue Bab Doukkala 0524 38 52 40
Another government store of Moroccan handicrafts. Though not as much fun as the souks, it's less stressful. d Map H3 Ave
Mohammed V 0524 38 66 74
Above the gate beside the Mouassine fountain, this shop sells exquisite own-label clothing and accessories, plus jewellery by local designers. d Map J2 114 place de Mouassine 0524 39 16 78
A charming shop selling jewellery, clothes and home accessories. d Map J3 8 rue des
Ksours 061 08 20 41
La Maison du Kaftan Marocain
Dress up like a local in the flowing robes sold here. Styles range from sedate browns to the most outrageously embroidered items in silk. d Map J2 65 rue Sidi El Yamani, Mouassine 0524 44 10 51
Creation Chez Abdel
Contemporary pottery with a traditional glaze finish or a gorgeous tadelakt effect. Impossible to resist. d Map J2
17 Souk des Teinturiers 0524 42 75 15
Miloud El Jouli Buried deep in the kissaria, this hard-to-find boutique nevertheless attracts fans from Europe and America with its own-brand clothing and clever designer-label copies. d Map K2 6-8 Souk Smat El Marga 0524 42 67 16
Bazaar du Sud Of the countless carpet shops in the souk, this has possibly the largest selection of all, backed up by a highly professional sales service. d Map K2 117 Souk des Tapis 0524 44 30 04
Kulchi Run by a French woman, Kulchi's own-label clothing is bright and playful and there are similarly fun accessories, including raffia shoes from Essaouira. d Map J3 Bab Laksour, off rue Sidi El Yamani 0662 64 97 83
IBeldi This tiny boutique at the entrance to the souks showcases the work of brothers Toufik and Abdelhafid. They adapt Moroccan clothing for Western tastes to stunning effect. d Map J3 9-11 rue Laksour 0524 44 10 76
Places to Eat
This long-standing French restaurant with beautiful interiors is set around a tree-shaded courtyard. d Map H2 47 derb Zaouia 0524 38 70 40 Open 7:30pm-midnight Mon, Wed-Sun Cards accepted
La Maison Arabe
This restaurant of the hotel serves a three-course set menu.
d Map H2 1 derb Assehbe 0524 38 70 10 www.lamaisonarabe.com Cards accepted ©©©©©
;J Lounge on the pillow-strewn roof terrace. The food is Italian and Moroccan. d Map J2 184 rue
Mouassine 0524 42 97 28 www. cafearabe.com
Wonderfully stylish restaurant with a French-Moroccan menu. d Map K2 55 rue du Souk des Fassis 0524 37 81 90 Open noon-4pm, 7pm-midnight Tue-Sun www.foun douk.com MC, Vaccepted ©©©©
JSet in a 16th-century mansion, the owner is a seafood lover. d Map J3 34 rue Ksour 0524 44 35 87 MC, V accepted ©©©
Sit by the pool and enjoy the exceptional food. d Map H2 81 rue Dar El Bacha 0524 38 64 00 Open 12:30pm-2:30pm, 7:30-10:30pm Tue-Sun www.darmoha.ma AmEx, MC, V accepted ©©©©
Dine here for a typical Marrakech experience, more for the entertainment and decor than the food. d Map H1 79 rue
Ahmed Soussi, Arset Ihiri 0524 38 29 29 Open 8pm-1am Tue-Sun MC, V accepted ©©©©©
Cafe des Epices
yThis three-storey cafe has a roof terrace and offers tea, coffee, salads, sandwiches and the occasional omelettes. d Map
K3 75 Rahba Lakdima 0524 39 17 70
Beautiful decor, charming atmosphere, intimate and great food - it's just a pity that it's a set menu. d Map J3 22 derb Moulay Abdellah Ben Hessain, Bab Ksour 0524 44 40 52 Open 7:30-11pm Mon, Wed-Sun MC, V accepted ©©©©©
Riad des Mers This is a French seafood restaurant that's supplied with a fresh catch each day - deliveries are direct from the Atlantic coast. d Map D4 411 derb Sidi Messaoud, Bab Yacout 0524 37 53 04 Open noon-3pm, 8pm-midnight daily - ©©©
Left The busy Avenue Mohammed V Right A pavement cafe
The New City
1 Avenue Mohammed V
2 Mauresque architecture
3 Marche Central
4 Eglise des Saints-Martyrs de Marrakech
5 Majorelle Gardens
6 Theatre Royal
7 European cemetery
8 Spanish Quarter
9 Jnane El Harti 0 Hivernage
Preceding pages Souk Attarine
Avenue Mohammed V
The wide avenue named after Morocco's first king is the spine of Marrakech. It connects the old and new cities, running from the Koutoubia to Jbel Gueliz (Mount Gueliz), a grandly named rocky outcrop northwest of the town. Along the way are three major traffic circles: Place de la Liberte with its modern fountain; Place du 16 Novembre where the main post office is located; and the heart of the New City, Place Abdel Moumen Ben Ali. d Map C5
The French brought with them European architectural styles which mixed with local Moorish influences, to create a new style, dubbed "Mauresque" Avenue Mohammed V is dotted with structures that were built within this particular style, especially where it intersects with Rue de la Liberte; here several buildings have clean Modernist lines but also have pavement arcades to shade pedestrians from the blazing North African sun.
Marche Central The once popular central market has suffered from the arrival of edge-of-town hypermarkets and by its relocation. From a former prime site on Avenue Mohammed V, it has now shifted to its current home, buried behind the enormous new Marrakech Plaza development on Place 16 Novembre. Still, the handful of adjacent flower shops in the market make for a colourful scene. There are also one or two good handicraft shops that are worth visiting. d Map C5 Rue Ibn Toumert Open 7am-2pm, 4-8pm Mon-Sat, 7am-2pm Sun
Eglise des Saints-Martyrs de Marrakech
Built in 1926, the otherwise spartan interior of this Catholic church is enlivened only by colourful panels of stained glass and stands as a tribute to six 13th-century Franciscan friars who were beheaded by the sultan as a punishment for preaching Christianity. The church's bell tower is now almost entirely overshadowed by the minaret of an adjacent mosque. Protestant services are conducted in the library. d Map C5 Rue El Imam Ali, Gueliz 0524 43 05 85 Services 6:30pm Mon-Sat, 10am Sun
For more on Moroccan architecture and design styles, see pp36-9. 75
Before the medina's hotel boom, those who couldn't afford the Mamounia, or considered it too establishment, stayed in Gueliz. The Es Saadi in Hivernage was popular with the Rolling Stones,
while Beat writer William Burroughs shacked up at Hotel Toulousain (see p112). The big hippy hang out at the time was the Renaissance.
A ten-minute walk east of Place Abdel Moumen Ben Ali, these are the absolute must-see sight in the New City. Created in the 1920s and 1930s by French painter Jacques Majorelle, the artist's former studio now houses an Islamic Art Museum. The gardens were owned by French couturier Yves Saint-Laurent until his death and are open to the public (see pp26-7).
This striking piece of architecture by leading local light, Charles Boccara, is crowned by a grand dome. The interior has a
beautiful, tiled courtyard linking a 1,200-seat open-air theatre and an 800-seat opera house. Since its inauguration in September 2001, the theatre has only been used sporadically but an exhibition hall housed here displays the work of local artists and sculptors. d Map B5 Ave Hassan II 0524 43 15 16 Open 8:30am-7pm daily
North of Boulevard Mohammed Zerktouni is a walled graveyard dating back to the
1920s. It is the burial ground of many of the original inhabitants of Gueliz. A white obelisk is dedicated to the North African soldiers who died fighting to free France during World War II - a little known historical episode that was brought to the world's attention in the award-winning film Days of Glory. d Map C4 Rue Erraouda Open Apr-Sep 7am-7pm; Oct-Mar 8am-6pm
Spanish Quarter Running west off Rue de Yougoslavie is a narrow street lined with single-storey houses of a unique design, much like terraced cottages. This single lane, planted with mulberry trees, constitutes the city's old Spanish quarter, a testament to Marrakech's once considerable Hispanic population. This is possibly the only street in the whole of Marrakech in which
Jnane El Harti
A small and very pretty park just off Place du 16 Novembre, it was originally laid out by the French as a formal garden and zoo. In a 1939 essay titled "Marrakech" George Orwell (see p34) writes of feeding gazelles here. Numerous notices provide information about the various species of plants growing in the many flowerbeds. The plaza fronting the park gates is often used for events. d Map C5
South of Gueliz and immediately west of the medina walls, Hivernage is a small neighbourhood of quiet streets that are shaded by trees. Its mix of villas and a handful of five-star hotels ensures a tranquil atmosphere with light pedestrian traffic. There are one or two good restaurants in the area, including the city's favourite nightspot, Comptoir (see p54). d Map C6
, Start next to the Koutoubia Mosque and head up Avenue Mohammed V. After a few minutes you will come to Ensemble Artisanal (see p70) on the right, a government-run handicraft store. Over the road is Arset Moulay Abdesslem (see p43) known as "Cyber Park",
Exit the medina from Mohammed V through the Bab Nkob, plunging into the large traffic island, Place de la Liberte. A second left after the traffic junction, followed by the first right, will lead you to historic Eglise des Saints-Martyrs de Marrakech (see p75). Continue north up Avenue Yacoub Marini to reach Jnane El Harti park. Lunch at the Grand Cafe de la Poste (see p79), hidden from view behind the main post office.
The road next to McDonald's leads to the Marche Central, (see p78), a worthwhile 15-minute detour. Return to Mohammed V for some of the best shopping in town, particularly around Rue de la Liberte (see p78). The next major traffic intersection, Place Abdel Moumen Ben Ali, is overlooked by two pavement cafes: Les Negociants and Atlas (see p54); if you're after some authentic Moroccan food, try Al Fassia (see p79) on Boulevard Mohammed Zerktouni. You have the option of several good restaurants if you fancy a meal (see p79). A taxi back to the medina will cost around 20 Dh.
Left Cafe du Livre Right Intensite Nomade
Places to Shop
Scenes du Lin
Browse through the finely-designed curtains with Fes embroidery and unusual lamps.
d Map B5 70 rue de la Liberte 0524 43 61 08 Closed Aug MC, V accepted
The leather items here are of greater quality than in the souks and are designed with an international flavour. d Map B5
141 ave Mohammed V 0524 43 52 63
Closed Jul-Aug MC, V accepted
Cafe du Livre
A secondhand bookshop with some new titles connected with Morocco and Islam. d Map
B5 44 rue Tarik Ben Ziad, next to Hotel Toulousain 0524 43 21 49 Closed Sun
A tiny corner shop with a big basement stocking mixed pickings by local fashion designers.
d Map B5 139 ave Mohammed V
0524 43 13 33 AmEx, MC, V accepted
Good for leather goods or international designer sportswear. d Map B5 169-171 rue Mohammed El Bekal 0524 44 69 63 Closed 15 Jul-15 Aug AmEx, MC, V accepted
This is a favourite with expats for groceries (including foreign imports), fruits and cut flowers. Not a bad place for hassle-free souvenir shopping either. d Map C5 Rue Ibn Toumert
HAswak Assalam This Western-style supermarket just outside Bab Doukkala is ideal for stocking up for long bus journeys. d Map C5 Avenue du 11 Janvier
De Velasco De Velasco houses some serious (and seriously expensive) antiques, from giant vases to Orientalist paintings and glorious kaftans. d Map B5 Residence le Verdoyant, 4 ave Hassan II 0524 43 03 27 AmEx, MC, V accepted
L'Orientaliste A small shop with small items like tea glasses and jewellery, its huge basement is packed with antique furniture. d Map B5 11 & 15 rue de la Liberte 0524 43 40 74 Closed Jul-Aug MC, V accepted
The best shop for unusual furnishings, ceramics, old embroidery, plus a basement full of carpets. Photos of celebrity shoppers hang on the walls. d Map B5 54 blvd Moulay Rachid
This hip bar-restaurant wouldn't look out of place in Paris.
d Map B5 3 rue de la Liberte 0524 42 25 32 Open 7am-midnight Mon-Sat, 9am-7pm Sun MC, Vaccepted ©©
An expat favourite, it offers tasty wood-fired pizzas. d Map B5
42 rue Tarik Ben Ziad 0524 43 37 31
Open noon-2:30pm, 7:30-11pm Mon-Sat; closed Aug MC, V accepted ©©
Grand Cafe de la Poste
The food is good at this French-style brasserie, but not the service. d Map B5 Cnr of blvd El Mansour Eddahbi & ave Imam Malik
0524 43 30 38 Open 8am-1am daily
www.grandcafedelaposte.com MC, V accepted ©©©
Rotisserie de la Paix
This grill restaurant with a lovely garden is a meat-eaters' delight. d Map B5 68 rue de Yougos-lavie 0524 43 31 18 Open noon-3pm, 6:30-11pm daily MC, Vaccepted ©©
Table du Marche
Dine on the excellent Continental fare in the outdoor terrace. d Map C6 Cnr ave Echou-hada & rue du Temple 0524 43 41 00
Excellent, frill-free restaurant with a peaceful garden. d Map B5
55 blvd Mohammed Zerktouni 0524 43 40 60 Open noon-2:30pm, 7:30-11pm daily Cards accepted ©©©
Cafe du Livre This bookshop has a good cafe that serves a fine breakfast, tapas, risotto and even homemade chocolate cake (see p78).
La Trattoria de Giancarlo The city's best Italian restaurant is housed in a beautiful villa with seats beside the garden pool. d Map B5 179 rue Mohammed El Bekal 0524 43 26 41 Open 7:30-11:30pm daily; closed part of Jan MC, V accepted ©©©
Set in a garden villa, this Italian restaurant offers tasty seafood and desserts. d Map C6
Displays at Galerie Damgaard
HERE MARRAKECH IS A UNIFORM pink, this sun-beaten town on the Atlantic coast is blue and white. The prosperity of the place peaked in the 18th and 19th centuries, when it was the most important port on the North African coast. It faded from consciousness in the 20th century, but drew plenty of travelling hippies in the 1960s and early 1970s. Its agreeably languid atmosphere is stirred only in late afternoon when the fishing fleet returns. It is known as the Wind City because of the constant winds.
2 Place Moulay Hassan
3 The port
4 The medina
5 The mellah
6 The souks
7 Place Orson Welles
8 The beaches
9 Galerie Damgaard
0 Musee des Arts et Traditions Populaires
Supratours runs buses to Essaouira five times a day from its office beside the old train station. For more on Supratours, see p104.
Essaouira's current layout can be traced back to 1765. That year, the town's local ruler captured a French ship and hired one of its passengers, an architect, to rebuild his port. He had the city surrounded with a heavy defensive wall, much of which still stands. The most impressive stretch is the Skala de la Ville, where you can walk along the top of the ramparts and examine several ancient cannons. d Map N1
Place Moulay Hassan
Place Moulay Hassan is the focal point of Essaouira. A square in two parts, narrow and elongated to the north and opening out at the southern end, it lies between the medina proper
Guarded by a toy-like, square fortress, Essaouira's port, the Skala du Port, is still a working concern complete with a boat yard, where vessels are still constructed out of wood. A daily market kicks into life between 3pm and 5pm with the arrival of the day's catch. Visitors can watch as the fish are auctioned off and follow that up by feasting on fresh sardines, grilled to order at the port end of Place Moulay Hassan. d Map N2
As in Marrakech, Essaouira's medina is a labyrinth of narrow streets. It is, however, not as hard to navigate, bisected as it is by one long, straight street. This street begins at the port and runs all the way up to the north gate, the Bab Doukkala, undergoing two name changes along the way. d Map P1
During the 18th and 19th centuries, a Jewish community gained prominence in Essaouira, becoming the most important economic group. They have all long since left and the town's Jewish quarter is in a dilapidated state. You can reach the mellah by following the alleys just inside the ramparts beyond Skala de la Ville. You can still identify the former Jewish residences, fronted as they are by balconies. In some cases, the Hebrew inscriptions on their lintels are also visible. d Map Q1
At the heart of the medina is a lively market, the Souk Jdid, divided into four quarters by the intersection of two main thoroughfares. There is a daily souk for fish, spice and grains and a cloistered square, known as the Joutia, where secondhand items are auctioned. d Map P1
Place Orson Welles
Between the medina walls and the beach, a small park-like square goes by the name of
A popular hippy stopover in the late 1960s, Jimi Hendrix famously passed through, as did Frank Zappa. Cat Stevens, now Yusuf
Islam, still returns each summer. The hippy influence lingers on here: the annual Gnawa Festival
d'Essaouira (see p44) attracts musicians from around the globe and has been described as the world's biggest jam session.
Place Orson Welles, in honour of the great filmmaker who came to Essaouira in 1949 to shoot his version of Othello. Since then, Essaouira and the surrounding area have been used as movie locations in many international film projects, the most recent ones being Oliver Stone's epic Alexander the Great and Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven. d Map N2-P2
The beaches Essaouira's beach, to the south of the medina, is one of the finest in Morocco. However, the strong winds that batter this part of the Atlantic coast frequently make it a little too cold for comfort - not that this bothers the windsurfers or the boys who gather here to use the compact sand of the beach as a football pitch. d Map P2
For about a quarter of a century, a generation of painters and sculptors have made Essaouira an important centre of artistic activity. Many of these artists were brought to public attention by Dane Frederic Damgaard who used to run this influential gallery, but has now retired. d Map P2 Ave Oqba Bin Nafia, Medina 0524 78 44 46 Open 9am-1pm, 3-7pm daily
Musee des Arts et Traditions Populaires
This small ethnographic museum occupies a 19th-century house that was formerly the town hall. It contains displays of ancient crafts, weapons and jewellery. Also displayed here are instruments and accessories that were used by religious brotherhoods. In addition you can also view some stunning examples of Berber and Jewish costumes. d Map N1 Rue Derb Laalouj, Medina 0524 47 53 00 Open 8:30am-noon, 2:30-6:30pm Wed-Mon
A day by the sea
&\ It is possible to do Essaouira as a day trip from Marrakech. You can get an early morning CTM bus from gare routiere (see p104), a Supratours coach at 8:30am or a grand taxifrom a rank behind the bus station and arrive by 10 or 11am (although Essaouira is worth at least a couple of days). You will probably enter the city from the Bab Marrakech and follow Rue Mohammed El Qorry to the main crossroads of the medina, which is also the middle of the souks. Walk south down Avenue de L'Istiqlal, A\ taking a right turn into shop-lined Rue Attarine. A first left leads down to Place Moulay Hassan (see p81), a great place for ^> a snack at one of the many cafes. Follow the squawks of the seagulls south to the port (see p81) and a lunch of grilled sardines.
From the port, backtrack to Place Moulay Hassan but take a left at the famed Taros cafe (see p85) and follow the narrow alley, Rue de la Skala, on the inside of the high sea wall.
There are some interesting boutiques here. After a short walk, a ramp leads up to the ramparts (see p81) for a wonderful view. Descend and then continue to the mellah, the old Jewish quarter. Find your way back to the souks and again follow Avenue de L'Istiqlal south. Take a left along Avenue du Caire, exiting by the Bab Sbaa and turning left for the beach. The Chalet de la Plage (see p85) is perfect for an early (or late) dinner by the ocean.
Places to Stay
Room sizes vary but it's got atmosphere and offers excellent value. d Map P2 12-14 rue Youssef El Fassi 0524 47 22 27 www.palazzo-desdemona.com ©©
Riad El Medina
The former Hippy Cafe, supposedly frequented by Jimi Hendrix, restored as a charming riad. d Map P2 9 rue El Attarine 0524 47 59 07 www.riadalmadina.com ©©
All rooms have en suite bathrooms and there's a courtyard with a fountain and a terrific roof terrace. d Map P2 12 rue
dAgadir 0524 47 49 40 www
This solar-powered eco-hotel has an organic restaurant and a hotel farm. Guests get free use of the hammam next door. d Map Q2 14 rue dAlgerie 0524 47 50 46 www.lallamira.ma ©©©©©
Villa Maroc Essaouira's first boutique hotel, it was built by knocking together four houses. Some of its roof terraces offer fine views of the fishing port. d Map P2 10 rue Abdellah Ben Yassine 0524 47 61 47 www.villa-maroc.com ©©©
Sofitel Mogador Apart from the usual luxuries of a five-star hotel, you can also indulge in thalassotherapy treatments that use marine minerals. d Map Q3 Avenue Mohammed V 0524 47 90 www.sofitel.com
This cosy house has five bedrooms, a sitting room and a roof terrace. d Map N1 63 rue Touahen 0524 47 39 10 www.dar-adul. com^ ©©
Perfectly located just off Place Moulay Hassan, this is a
This hotel has colonial-style rooms and all the facilities you could want: a screening room, a pool and the medina's only lift. d Map Q2 2 rue Ibn Batouta
0524 78 34 34 www. heure-bleue.com
Villa Maroc, Sofitel Mogador and L'Heure Bleue all accept credit cards.
For a full meal for one © under Dh100 with half a bottle of ©© Dh100-200 wine (or equivalent ©©© Dh200-300 meal), plus taxe s ©©©© Dh300-400 and extra charges. ©©©©© over Dh400
Left Taros Right A port-side fish stall
HO Places to Eat and Drink
Port-side fish stalls
The best meal in Essaouira is seafood fresh off the boat, grilled and eaten at a group of stalls on the port side of Place Moulay Hassan. d Map N2 Place Moulay Hassan 0524 78 40 33 ©
Chalet de la Plage
An Essaouiran institution, this beachside restaurant has a wonderful sea-facing open terrace. Wine and beer are served. d Map N2 1 ave M'hamed V 0524 47 59 72 Open noon-1:30pm, 6:30-9pm Mon-Sat Cards accepted ©©
This boat-shaped shack sits at the harbour's end. It's great for watching the boats come into the harbour to deliver the catch -part of which will end up as your meal. d Map N2 Port de Peche 0524 47 62 38 Open 12:30pm-3pm, 7:30-10pm daily MC, V accepted ©©©
This excellent restaurant serves "fusion" cuisine and has a cocktail terrace with sea views and live music. d Map N2
Place Moulay Hassan
0524 47 64 07 Open 11am-4pm, 6pm-midnight Mon-Sat Cards accepted
Cosy place serving traditional, seasonal Moroccan
cuisine. Prices are cheap and the place is hugely popular - so book in advance. d Map P2 27 rue Abdes-salam Lebad 0524 47 36 55 Open 12:30pm-3pm, 7:30-11pm daily ©
Les Alizes Mogador This restaurant beside the ramparts serves hearty portions of Moroccan food. d Map N1 26
rue de la Skala 0524 47 68 19 Open noon-3:30pm, 7:30-11pm daily ©©
This unpretentious Italian restaurant has a short list of Italian wines. d Map N1 70 rue
Laalouj 0524 47 3 5 55 Open 11:30am-3pm, 7-11pm daily ©©
Dating back to 1925, this patisserie serves cakes in a courtyard. d Map N2 10 rue El Hajali 0524 47 57 93 Open 7am-10pm daily
Cote Plage Part of the Sofitel complex, this beachfront cafe serves tapas and barbecues. d Map Q3 Blvd M'hamed V 0524 47 90
Restaurant El Minzah
A popular place for a good meal in a relaxed atmosphere.
d Map N2 3 ave Okba Ibnou Nafia 0524 47 53 08 Open noon-3pm, 6:30-11pm daily . ©©©
The precarious highway hugging the Atlas Mountains
THE HIGH-ALTITUDE TIZI-N-TEST PASS, the westerly of the two great passes over the Atlas Mountains, is cautiously navigated by the R203 highway to Taroudant. Although the distance between the two cities is only 223 km (138 miles), the road's tortuous hairpins demand such respect from drivers that the journey takes nearly five hours. Not to mention the time needed to stop off at the many sights along the way. If you don't have your own vehicle or grand taxi, you can make the trip by public transport: buses depart Marrakech early each morning, taking up to eight hours to reach Taroudant.
2 Moulay Brahim
4 Jbel Toubkal
6 Kasbah Talaat-n-
7 Tin Mal
8 Tizi-n-Test Pass
0 Tichka Plateau
This administrative centre is just a 20-minute drive south of Marrakech. The old village has a cascade of red clay houses, surrounding a massive rock sheltering the shrine of Sidi Mohammed El Kebir, whose festival is celebrated at Mouloud, the Prophet's birthday. It was the subject of Winston Churchill's last painting in 1958. Every Tuesday, a country market is held here. d Map C1
Moulay Brahim South of Tahanoute, the road winds uphill to Moulay Brahim, named after a local saint, with a green-roofed shrine dedicated to him in the middle of the village (entry to non-Muslims is forbidden). The shrine is a popular pilgrimage spot, especially for women with fertility problems. d Map C2
The village of Asni lies at a fork in the road - a left turn leads up to the village of Imlil and the striking kasbahs Tamadot and Toubkal (see p56). Jbel Toubkal dominates the view to the west, but there's little for visitors to explore at Asni itself, apart from
shops selling trinkets (things are cheaper in Marrakech). The highlight is the busy country market held on Saturdays - the largest in the Atlas. d Map C2
Take the left fork at Asni to Imlil at the foot of Jbel Toubkal, North Africa's highest peak. Mountain guides can be hired in Imlil at the bureau des guides in the centre of the village. There are some basic budget hotels here, but the Kasbah du Toubkal just up the hill is a better option (see p93). d Map C2 Bureau des guides: tel/fax 0524 48 56 26
The precious Argan trees, similar in appearance to olive trees, are
found only in southwestern Morocco. They bear a fruit from which oil can be extracted by splitting, roasting and pressing the nuts. Locals use it as a medicine; it's also a staple of beauty and massage treatments and tastes delicious when it's drizzled on couscous.
Ouirgane, 16 km (10 miles) south of Asni, is a pretty little place. The actual village is hidden among the trees along the valley above the Oued Nifis river. There's a Jewish saint's shrine and two salt factories (one modern, one traditional). Stop by for lunch or, if you plan on lingering in the village, spend the night at one of the two enchanting hotels - La Roseraie and the Au Sanglier Qui Fume (see p93) for which the place is best known. d Map C2
The main attraction at Tin Mal is an ancient mosque that dates back to the time of the Almohads (see p32). Way back in the 12th century, this was the heart of a mountain empire that had unified local tribes under a militant version of Islam. It was from here that an army set out in 1144 to lay siege to Marrakech and went on to conquer the rest of Morocco. This mountain mosque provided the basic architectural prototype for the impressive Koutoubia in Marrakech. Though roofless, it continues to be the venue for Friday prayers, the one day when it remains inaccessible to visitors. d Map C2 Closed Fridays Adm
South of Ouirgane, the road climbs steadily through a rocky, bare landscape. After passing through the small Berber hamlet of Ijoujak, visible off to the right is the commanding hilltop fortress of Kasbah Talaat-n-Yacoub. This was once a stronghold of the Goundafi tribe who controlled access to the Tizi-n-Test until the early 20th century, when they were subdued by the French. d Map C2
How much you enjoy the experience of this 2,092-m (6,861-ft) pass depends on whether you Argan fruit are a passenger or in the driver's seat. As a driver, you have to keep your eyes glued to the road ahead in order to negotiate the endless hairpin bends. The narrow road with no safety barriers ensures that you won't have much opportunity to enjoy the spectacular views. But for passengers, the view across the plains of the Sous to the south is beautiful. There are various souvenir stalls and small cafes located on the pass itself where you can stop and enjoy the panorama. d Map B2
Built on the proceeds of gold brought from the Sahara, Taroudant was the capital of the Saadian empire early in the 16th century. Today, enclosed within reddish-yellow walls, it resembles a smaller, sleepier version of Marrakech. It features a grand kasbah that can be reached by passing under the triple-arched Saadian Gates, as well as some foul-smelling tanneries. You will also find two excellent souks here, including the Arab Souk, with its focus on traditional crafts. d Map B2
A highland plateau of beautiful meadows, the Tichka Plateau is found to the north of Taroudant. Particularly striking in spring when the wild flowers are in full bloom, it's a fine place to go trekking but best enjoyed with qualified guides. Go to the bureau des guides in Imlil (see p89) to arrange for one. d Map B2
A Day in Taroudant
&\ Though Taroudant resem-ÒÃ bles a more ramshackle Marrakech at first sight, it has more of an African than Arab identity. Unlike most other Moroccan cities, it was never under French occupation and so doesn't possess a European quarter. Begin your exporation of the city on Place El Alaouyine, known by its Berber name as Place Assarag. Follow Avenue Mohammed V south of the square and head east into Souk Arabe, famed for its antique shops. At the souk's edge, Boulangerie El Widad offers tasty Moroccan pastries. South of the main street, across Place El Nasr is Souk Berbere the main fruit and vegetables market. Return north up Ave Bir Anzarene and take a right on Avenue Moulay Rachid; sample the tajines at Chez Nada.
As you walk east on Avenue Moulay Rachid through an orange tree-lined path, you will come upon the triple-arched Saadian Gates at Bab El Kasbah. These lead to the walled kasbah quarter built by Mohammed ech-Cheikh who made it the capital of the Saadian empire. The poorest part of town, it used to house the governor's palace, now the very chic Hotel Palais Salam (see p93). Stop at the hotel for a snack and then make your way back to the Bab El Kasbah. Hop into one of the waiting caleches and for a small fee, do a circuit of the city walls. You can take the caleche back to Place El Alaouyine or your hotel.
Left Sous Massa National Park Right Saffron flowers at Taliouine
elO West to the Coast
About 37 km (23 miles) southeast of Taroudant, the imposing Tioute Kasbah (containing a restaurant) dominates a palm grove. This was the location for the film Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves in 1954. d Map B3
The Atlas Mountains
The peaks of the western High Atlas - particularly Jbel Aoulime, at a height of 3,555 m (11,667 ft) - can be reached via road 7020 north of Taroudant. d Map B2
Taliouine, a town with a ruined kasbah once owned by the Glaoui clan (see pp32 & 96), is also the world's biggest saffron growing area. d Map C2
In Tazenakht, beneath the Jbel Siroua peak, carpets with an orange weft are woven by the Ouaouzgite tribe. d Map C2
As the R106 crosses the Anti-Atlas, at the 94-km (58-mile) mark, Igherm is a large mountain village with pink-stoned houses and women clad in all black and coloured headbands. d Map C3
At an altitude of 1,200 m (3,938 ft), Tafraoute stands in the heart of a stunning valley in the Anti-Atlas. The palm groves here
are lush and when they flower in February, the almond trees are covered with clouds of pink and white blossom. d Map B3
Tiznit A small town surrounded by pink pise ramparts, you feel the proximity of both the Atlantic and the desert here. Its central mechouar parade ground is lined with cafes and shops. d Map A3
Sidi Ifni This colonial-style town sits on the crest of a rocky plateau overlooking the Atlantic. Follow the coast road after Tiznit.
Sous Massa National Park The park along the banks of Wadi Massa contains reed beds inhabited by flamingoes and the endangered bald ibis. d Map A3
Flattened by an earthquake in 1960, Agadir was rebuilt and is now a thriving charter tourist resort. The grim aspect of the town is compensated by its fantastic beaches. d Map A3 Tourist information: Ave du Prince Moulay Abdallah 0528 84 63 77
ÏÎ Places to Stay
Set in extensive gardens blooming with roses and olive trees, there are three pools and stables with horses for riding in the mountains. d Map C2 Km 60, Route de Taroudant, Val dOuirgane 0524 43 91 28 ©©©©
Au Sanglier Qui Fume
This friendly inn has 25 cabin-style rooms, an outdoor pool and a restaurant. d Map C2
Ouirgane 0524 48 57 07 www
A former abode of a tribal chief, this is a garish version of a Moorish palace in a spectacular setting among landscaped gardens. d Map C2 BP67, Asni
0524 36 82 00 www.virgin.com/ kasbah ©©©©
Kasbah du Toubkal
A beautifully restored mountainside kasbah in the shadow of North Africa's highest peak, it's a great base for trekking and still has props left behind from the filming of Martin Scorsese's Kundun. d Map C2
BP31, Imlil 0524 48 56 11 www. kasbahdutoubkal.com ©-©©©©
A fading institution, it still offers the best budget beds in town. The hotel also organizes mountain treks. d Map B2 Place El Alaouyine, Assarag, Taroudant 0528 85 24 16 ©©
Hotel Palais Salam
Sheltered within Taroudant's fortress walls, the hotel was once the palace of a pasha (provincial governor) and boasts ornate Moorish interiors and lush Andalusian gardens. d Map B2
Ave Moulay Ismail, BP 258, Taroudant
0528 85 25 01 ©©©
Gazelle d Or
Outside Taroudant, this former Belgian baron's hunting lodge has been converted into a hotel with 30 grand bungalows set in enormous grounds. d Map B2 83000 Taroudant 0528 85 20 39
Auberge Souktana A family-run auberge just outside Taliouine. Accommodation is in four small bungalows; not all rooms have their own showers. Tented accommodation is available in the gardens. d Map C2 Opp. Kasbah Laglaoui, Taliouine 0528 53 40 75 ©-©©
Hotel Idou Tiznit A mid-range hotel, the Idou is the best option in Tiznit, with its grand lobby and clean rooms.
d Map A3 Ave Hassan II, Tiznit 0528 60 03 33 www.idoutiznit.com ©©
Hotel Les Amandiers On top of a hill overlooking the town, this kasbah-style place has spacious en suite rooms, most of which have terrific views. d Map B3 BP 10 Centre de Tafraoute 0528 80 00 88 ©©
Recommend your favourite hotel on traveldk.com
HE N9 HIGHWAY RUNS FROM Marrakech south over the Atlas Mountains, crossing the country's highest pass. On the other side, it then descends down to the town of Ouarzazate, considered to be the gateway to the Sahara. Along this route, you will come across some interesting sights, including the the kasbahs of Telouet and Alt Benhaddou (off the main road). From start to finish, the route is 196 km (122 miles) on a good road. However, there are some tortuous stretches that demand careful driving; as a result, the journey invariably takes nearly four hours. Travellers can arrange for a grand taxi or hire a car. Alternatively, several Ouarzazate buses travel this route daily from Marrakech's main bus station. Supratours runs daily trips to Ouarzazate.
1 Ait Ourir
3 Tizi-n-Tichka Pass
4 Kasbah Telouet
5 Ait Benhaddou
6 Kasbah Tiffoultoute
8 Kasbah Taourirt
9 Atlas Corporation Studios
0 Horse and Camel Fantasias
Reception room of Kasbah Telouet Ait Ourir
This is no more than a small roadside hamlet, 35 km (22 miles) outside Marrakech. However, the place comes to life each Friday when it hosts a weekly country market. If you choose to pass through on the right day, it makes for a diverting hour-long stop off. d Map C1
After Ait Ourir, the road starts to climb. The last halt before the pass is the busy village of Taddert, set among walnut groves. In the higher part of the settlement, a handful of good cafes offer views of the valley below. When the pass is closed by bad weather, a barrier is lowered here to halt all south bound traffic. d Map C1
As the road leaves Taddert the greenery comes to an end and the landscape turns scenically barren and rugged. The twisting road with precipitous drops will keep drivers' eyes firmly fixed on the road. At its highest point, the pass peaks at 2,260 m (7,415 ft), marked by no more than a few stalls selling mineral-filled rocks that are found around here; broken in half, they reveal glittering crystal formations within. d Map C2
Telouet, the stronghold of the Glaoui clan who, in the early 20th century, came to rule all of southern Morocco under French sponsorship, is a small town dominated by a magnificent kasbah. Abandoned for nearly half a century, much of the structure is crumbling and dangerous, but you can visit the ornate reception hall and the rooftop terrace, which gives stunning views. d Map
Thami El Glaoui
In 1893, the Glaoui clan of Telouet were rewarded for rescuing Sultan Moulay Hassan and his army from a raging blizzard, and benefited further after the French took over. Thami El Galoui was then made pasha (lord), one of the most powerful men in the country. Hated for his support of the French, he died soon after Morocco gained independence.
This kasbah is on UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites and is one of the best preserved of all the kasbahs in the Atlas Mountains. It is also the most famous, thanks to its popularity with visiting film producers and has been immortalized in dozens of movies, including Lawrence of Arabia, The Last Temptation of Christ, The Mummy, Gladiator and Alexander. Part of the appeal lies in the location: the kasbah tumbles down a hillside beside the Ouarzazate River. It is still partially inhabited by ten families. d Map D2
Kasbah Ait Benhaddou
Tiffoultoute is another kasbah that once belonged to the Glaoui and is situated just outside of Ouarzazate. Although parts of it are crumbling away, another section has been rebuilt and serves as a hotel and restaurant. The location is beautiful, situated dramatically between a river and a palm oasis. d Map D2
Open 8am-7pm daily
Ouarzazate The so-called "Gateway to the Sahara" (pronounced "war-zazat") is a town of around 60,000 people. Most visitors tend to spend at least one night here before pushing on south to the desert proper (see "South to the Desert"right) or heading east to the Dades Valley and beyond (see p98). The number of hotels in town is always increasing and with constantly improving quality. There are plenty of interesting activities here, from camel-trekking and quad biking to visiting the film studios for which the town is renowned (see below). d Map D2
Tourist Office: 0524 88 24 85
This is the main landmark of Ouarzazate, a large kasbah that used to belong to the Glaoui clan. Parts are still inhabited, while some abandoned sections have been carefully restored. A pleasant place to wander through, its atmospheric, narrow alleys evoke a real sense of what life in the kasbah was like in the past. d Map D2 Open 8:30am-6pm daily Adm
Atlas Corporation Studios
A busy, administrative hub of a region with spectacular mountain and desert scenery,
Ouarzazate has become the centre of the Moroccan film industry and is also home to the Atlas Corporation Studios, 6 km (4 miles) north of town. They were built specifically to provide some infrastructure, including sound stages and sets, for movies. They can be toured when no film shoots are in progress. It's well worth dropping in to see sets like the Tibetan monastery built for Kundun and Egyptian temple sets from French production, Asterix and Cleopatra. A yellow bus shuttles between the studio and Ouarzazate's main street, Avenue Mohammed V. d Map D2 0524 88 22 33 Open 8:30am-11:30am, 2:15-6pm daily; closed during shoots Guided tours last 30-40 mins Adm
Horse and Camel Fantasias
A company called North Africa Horse, known for its choreography of charges and equestrian stunts for many of the "sword-and-sandal" adventure films, also puts on horse and camel shows for tourists. Watch recreations of famous scenes from movies such as Kingdom of Heaven and Alexander over dinner. Call for details. d Map D2 Route de Skoura, km 20 from Ouarzazate, next to Golf Royal 0524 88 66 90/ 0661 16 84 72
South to the Desert
( Day One
Cfo From Ouarzazate, the
jp road continues south through the Draa Valley
JL down to the administrative Y town of Zagora. A drive of about four hours, stop over at Tamnougalt, a
dramatic ksar (fortified village) 10 minutes off the main road, 5 km (3 miles) after the small market town of Agdz. Further south is the Glaoui-era Kasbah Timiderte. Zagora itself is dominated by Jbel Zagora, a rocky outcrop at the town's end. The lively market held on Wednesday and Sunday teems with dates, grown in abundance here. Just south of the centre is the pretty hamlet of Amezrou. Nearby, the Kasbah des Juifs is inhabited by Berber silversmiths (the Jews who lived here are long gone). Zagora's most famous attraction is at the town's exit: a sign with a camel caravan that simply reads, "Timbuktu, 52 Days"
The village of M'Hamid is 96 km (60 miles) further south of Zagora. En route, Tamegroute's mosque-
and-shrine complex is off limits to non-Muslims, except for the library with its collection of ancient manuscripts. Five kilometres (3 miles) further on, you will see the first of the sand dunes at Tinfou. The best dunes, however, can be accessed from M'Hamid, a sleepy outpost at the road's end -a one-street settlement, it feels like it's at the end of the world. Desert trips, from excursions of a few hours, to expeditions lasting few days, can be arranged from here.
The first town east of Ouarzazate is notable for a palmeraie with impressive old kasbahs, including the Kasbah Amerhidil (part hotel, part museum), once owned by the Glaoui family (see p96). d Map D2
El Kelaa M'Gouna
This small town lies at the heart of rose-growing country. Most of the petals picked each spring are exported for use in the perfume industry. d Map D2
Follow the road north from Boumalne du Dades to this stunning gorge, a spectacular backdrop for several kasbahs.
d Map E1
Built on a rocky outcrop, the region's administrative centre is bordered by lush palm groves. Known for its silver jewellery, it has several working silver mines nearby. d Map E1 Tourist information: Hotel Tombouctou; 0544 83 46 04
Sheer cliffs dramatically rise on either side of this narrow gorge with the picturesque village of Tamtattouchte at the northern end. Two hotels make an overnight stay possible. d Map E1
The fortified villages, or ksours, here were built to
provide a strong defence against the pillaging nomads. A walled settlement east of the Erfoud road is worth a detour. d Map E1
From this town, the extensive palm groves of Ziz and Tafilalt begin. The place is known for crafts such as pottery and carved wooden objects. d Map F1 Tourist information: 0535 57 09 44
This peaceful town serves as a base for tours to the soaring Erg Chebbi sand dunes and the Tafilalt palm grove. It also hosts a three-day Date Festival each October following the annual date harvest. d Map F1
This ancient town dating back to the 7th century lies on the edge of the Sahara and has a very famous souk. d Map F1
Merzouga This is a Saharan oasis at the foot of the Erg Chebbi dunes. Camel drivers offer one-hour to two-day tours into the sand hills. d Map F2
Kasbah Ait Ben Moro
HO Places to Stay
A small budget hotel overlooking the Kasbah Telouet, the restaurant in the form of a Berber tent serves couscous and tajines. d Map C2 Telouet (fax) 0524 89 07 17 www.telouet.com
Midway between Telouet and Ait Benhaddou, the simple rooms off the central courtyard are all en suite. The terrace of the hotel offers lovely valley views. d Map C2 Tisselday 0667 73 70 02 www.irocha.com ©©
Hotel la Kasbah
Across the river from the kasbah, this pleasant hotel also boasts a hammam and pool. The cheaper rooms are not air conditioned. d Map D2 Ait Benhaddou 0524 89 03 02 ©©
jAn intimate, 12-room kasbah-style hotel at Talmasla, south of town. It has a restaurant, hammam and a garden pool. d Map
D2 Route de Zagora, Ouarzazate 0524 85 42 32 www.dardaif.ma ©©
Le Berbere Palace
This is one of the three luxury hotels in Ouarzazate, and offers air-conditioned bungalows as accommodation. It boasts a large pool, hammam, solarium and tennis courts. d Map D2 Quartier Mansour Eddahabi 0524 88 31 05 www.ouarzazate.com/leberbere palace ©©©©
Kasbah Ait Ben Moro A converted 18th-century tribal fortress, this 16-room budget hotel has splendid views from the roof terrace. d Map D2
Skoura 0524 85 21 16 www. kasbahbenmoro.com ©©
Dar Ahlam Ridiculously luxurious, this is a kasbah transformed into a palatial boutique hotel complete with a library, hammam and use of a 4-wheel drive and driver. d Map D2 Skoura 0524 85 22 39
This small kasbah with 22 air-conditioned rooms is a good base for a trip to the Todra Gorge 15 km (7 miles) away. d Map E1
Tinerhir 0524 83 50 17 www. kasbahlamrani.com ©©
A large place within a walled enclosure with a big swimming pool, it is tailored to suit groups and even has DJs at night.
d Map F1 Erfoud 0535 57 84 50
Hotel Kenzi Belere This four-star just outside Erfoud is easily the area's best. Accommodation is in 140 separate air-conditioned rooms, all equipped with satellite television sets, arranged off the swimming pool garden. d Map F1
Route de Rissani, Erfoud 0535 57 81 90 www.belerehotels.com ©©©
Getting There 102
Planning Your Trip 103
Getting Around 104
Useful Information 105
Things to Avoid 107
Security and Health 108
Shopping and Eating 109
Accommodation Tips 110
International and Chain Hotels 111
Hostels and Other Cheapies 112
Budget but Chic 113
Mid-range Riads 114-115
Luxury Riads and Hotels 116
The Palmeraie and Further Afield 117
Left Reaching Marrakech by air Right The local railway station
Marrakech is most
easily accessible by air. Royal Air Maroc (royal airmaroc.com), Atlas
elO Getting There
% By train
Blue, a Royal Air Maroc If you have time and franchise (atlas-blue.com), money to spare, you can take the Eurostar from London to Paris, and then the daily TGV service to Algeciras in Spain. From Algeciras it's a ferry ride to Tangier. There are no public lavatories in Marrakech and the station has the only free facilities.
The modern train station receives daily services from Rabat, Casablanca and Tangier.
and Ryanair (ryanair.com) all run regular services.
@ Air fares
P| By bus
The national bus company, CTM, running locally and out of town, is the best. Supratours
Marrakech, Essaouira and many other destinations.
& Grands taxis
These shared taxis gather on Marche du Mellah and at the gare routiere. They connect Marrakech with Casablanca, Fes and Essaouira. All the fares are fixed; just turn up and take a free seat. Alternatively, hire a normal taxi and get it to take you wherever you want.
* By car
There are frequent ferry services operating between France, Spain and north Morocco. A mo Tangi
Since budget airlines began services to the city, it has become remarkably cheap to travel there. Fares from London Gatwick, London Stansted and Luton airports start from as low as £1 one way plus taxes. It's possible to get a return fare for under
£100 if you book ahead. I runs buses between
The formerly modest airport has been siginificantly expanded in order to accommodate the vast number of flights to the city Located just 4 km (2 miles) from the centre of town, the drive takes no more than six or seven minutes.
and currently a continuation of this motorway to Agadir is
Taxis gather in the car park outside the Arrivals terminal. Even though all taxis are metered, they are never actually switched on for the airport run. A ride which would otherwise cost 30 Dh, can cost over 100 Dh.
under construction and should be open in 2010.
I (Organised tours
Numerous companies offer Morocco packages and most include stays in Marrakech. Best of Morocco (www.morocco-travel.com) is UK-based; Marrakesh Voyage (www. morocco-travel-agency. com) is US-based; Yallah (www.yallahmorocco.com) is a national operator.
) The tunnel
In 2006, Lombard Engineers (Swiss) were retained to build the ambitious tunnel connecting Spain and Morocco. The tunnel is expected to be completed by 2025
Marrakech Menara Airport
0524 44 78 55
Airport, Marrakech, Menara
0524 42 42 00
Royal Air Maroc
197 ave Mhmd V
0524 42 55 00
ONCF Railway Station
Ave Hassan II
0890 20 30 40
0524 43 39 33
Most riads and hotels can recommend a car and driver for private hire.
H Passports & visas
Citizens of the EU, Switzerland, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand need a valid passport to visit Morocco, but no visa. To be able to stay for three months, your passport should be valid for at least six months after your date of arrival. If your time exceeds the three months, then you must get an extension from the central police station (see p108).
All visitors should take out an insurance policy before travelling to Marrakech. There are no reciprocal health agreements between Morocco and the EU countries, and if you fall ill you will have to pay the doctor's bills. Theft is rare, but it cannot be ruled out.
£ When to go
Marrakech is warm all year round, although January and February see rainfall, with the temperatures dropping during the nights. The summer heat is at its most oppressive and fierce in July and August. The best times to visit are March to June and September to December. The peak tourist season is Easter and Christmas/ New Year, so be sure to make reservations well ahead in order to secure a room if you plan to visit during these periods.
What to take
Take good, solid footwear as the alleys of the medina are often uneven. Clothes should be light but not revealing. Take something warm for winter evenings. Carry any necessary medication as your own particular brands may not be available. Everything else is easily obtainable in Marrakech at the hypermarket Marjane, located on the Route de Casablanca just north of the New City.
% How long to stay
Marrakech is not exactly a large city and as such, possesses proportionately few crowd-pulling sights and monuments. Most visitors pass their time sunning themselves on rooftop terraces with frequent forays into the souks. Unless daytrips south to the mountains or to the coastal region of Essaouira are on your agenda, three or four days is long enough.
The electric current is 220V/50Hz. Moroccan sockets take European-style two-pin plugs, so bring an adaptor.
The main Islamic holidays follow the lunar calendar. They are Eid El Fitr (8 Sep in 2010, 31 Aug in 2011) and Eid El Adha (16 Nov in 2010, 6
Nov 2011). During this time, the city stays shut for two days, so travelling is very difficult. In the holy month of Ramadan (begins 10 Aug in 2010, 1 Aug 2011) many Muslims fast during the day; due to this, most restaurants and eateries are closed until sundown.
* Tourist office
The Office National
Marocain du Tourisme (OMNT) is a bit inconvenient to reach, located as it is in Place Abdel Moumen Ben Ali in the New City, a taxi ride away from the medina. Moreover, the staff is not particularly well-informed, so don't visit unless necessary. You will find that the staff at your hotel or riad will be of more help.
( Disabled visitors
Wheelchair users will find Marrakech a tricky place to navigate, especially in the medina where the crowded roads tend to be narrow and in poor condition. Beyond
railway station, very few buildings are disabled-friendly, though the better riads will do their best to accommodate.
French and Arabic are the main languages and the signboards are also bilingual. English is spoken by those in the tourism industry.
Local celebrations: Manifesto of Independence Day (11 Jan), Feast 103 of the Throne (30 Jul), King Mohammed Vl's Birthday (21 Aug).
These horse-drawn cabs are located on Place Foucault between Jemaa El Fna and the Koutoubia, and by the Bahia Palace and Majorelle Gardens There are posted fees for typical rides or you can negotiate an hourly rate (90 Dh is reasonable)
Beige municipal petits taxis should be metered, but you may have to prompt the driver to turn it on. Most trips cost around 10 Dh and slightly more at night with the 50 per cent surcharge. The cabs carry a maximum of 3 passengers at a time.
$ Sightseeing $ Bus Tours
Starting at the tourist office in Place Abde Moumen Ben Ali, this double-decker, open-topped bus follows two circular routes, taking in the Koutoubia, Place des Ferblantiers (for the Badii and Bahia palaces), the Menara and Majorelle Gardens and Palmeraie. Services are every 30 minutes from 9am to 5pm. The tickets cost
ani Marine. Hire scooters at Marra-kech Motos in Gueliz.
To Essaouira A Supratours bus is the easiest way to get to Essaouira from the city. They leave five times a day, starting at 8:15am departing from beside the old train station on Avenue Hassan II in Gueliz. The ticket costs 60 Dh. It's wise to book a seat in advance. Or opt for the cheaper, though slightly shabby CTM bus from the gare routiere. There is also a plane service between Marrakech and Essaouira.
£ Rules of the road
The Moroccan highway code is similar to that of France, so give way on the right (note that whoever is on a town roundabout has priority). Speed limits are 40 or 60 kmh (25 or 37 mph) in city areas, 100 kmh (60 mph) on open roads and 120 kmh (74 mph) on motorways. The road signs are in Arabic and French. As you head south over the Atlas, a 4-wheel-drive is a must for travelling on dirt tracks.
( Car rental
Car hire is quite expensive with local agencies charging around 400 Dh a day. If you need a car only for the drive over the Atlas, a grand taxi may be cheaper.
LLU Grands taxis are the best way to cross the Atlas - you get to dictate where to stop. Expect to pay from 700 Dh for the whole car on a one-way trip to Ouarzazate.
Car rentals Avis
Map B5 137 ave
Mohammed V 0524 43 25 25 www.avis.com
Map B4 68 blvd Mohammed Zerktouni
0524 43 11 80 www.budgetrentacar. com
Map B5 63 blvd Mohammed Zerktouni
0524 43 12 28 www.europcar.ma
Map B5 154 ave
Mohammed V 0524 43 13 94 www.hertz.
Supratours: 0524 43 55 25 for national destinations; 0524 43 64 73 for international destinations.
H Business and U shopping hours
Although a Muslim country, much of Morocco follows a Monday to Friday working week. Business hours for banks are 8:15am-3:45pm Monday to Friday (9:30am-2pm during Ramadan). Shops start their day a bit later but stay open until 8pm or 9pm. On Fridays, the shops in the souks stay shut at lunchtime.
The Moroccan unit of currency is the dirham (Dh), divided into 100 centimes; centimes are of little value but beggars are grateful for them. The most useful coins are the denominations of 1 Dh, 5 Dh and 10 Dh. These are really handy when travelling by taxis. Notes are in denominations of 20, 50, 100 and 200 dirhams. Always try to have a stock of 10 Dh coins for taxis.
£ Banks and ATMs
Banks are clustered on Rue de Bab Agnaou in the medina and Place Abdel Moumen Ben Ali in the New City. Most of the banks have automatic cash dispensers (ATMs), most of which give cash if your card is part of the Cirrus, Maestro or Visa networks. Cash is issued in dirhams only.
Credit cards Credit cards are accepted by most highend hotels. However, this may not be the case for all restaurants in the city. Some places may decline your card in the hope that you will pay cash. Insist that you have no other means of payment and your card may just be accepted.
% Mobile phones
National operator Maroc-Telecom and rival Meditel both have arrangements with European networks that allow visitors to use mobiles in Morocco. Calls will, of course, be expensive. If you are visiting for a long period, buy a pre-paid SIM card from either of the operators, with shops just off Place du 16 Novembre in the New City.
£ International L£] phone booths
For overseas calls, use one of the teleboutiques (phone offices) dotting the medina, identified by large blue-and-white signs with a telephone handset. The phones take 5 Dh and 10 Dh coins; get change from the person manning the desk. You can use the street cardphones with phonecards from post offices or tabacs. The international access code from Morocco is 00.
£ Internet access
There are internet centres off Jemaa El Fna, but the best one is a
spacious, well-equipped centre in Cyber Espace, Arset Moulay Abdesslem (5 Dh per hour).
* Post offices
The main post office
on Place du 16 Novembre in Gueliz opens from 8am-4:15pm Monday-Friday and from 8:30am-noon on Saturday. There is also a post office on the south side of Jemaa El Fna with the same opening times and outside public phones. For all international express parcel post, the Amana Bureau Gueliz is open from 8am-6:15pm Monday-Saturday and there is Chronoposte on Avenue Hassan II. Stamps are also available at the local tobacconists.
£ Poste restante
The main post office
in Marrakech offers a free poste restante service. All mail should bear the first name and surname of the recipient, as well as the post office address. You will need some form of identification when collecting mail.
) Shipping and liiJ couriers
Many shops offer a shipping service for overseas customers, however, it is advisable to take care of the arrangements yourself. The parcel office is located next door to the main post office on the Place du 16 Novembre.
To call Morocco from abroad, dial 00 212 + number; Marrakech area 105 code is 0524; always dial 10 digits when ringing within the city.
For Moroccans, hospitality is more than just tradition; it's a matter of honour. Particularly if you travel out of Marrakech, people you meet may well invite you to their homes to drink tea or have a meal; a refusal could be seen as offensive. Never offer to pay for your meal. Carry a small gift along, like chocolates or cakes.
Islam is a state religion and the king of Morocco is the leader of the faithful. It is therefore considered to be in bad taste to criticise religion. Dress properly (see below) and refrain from overt signs of affection. During the fast of Ramadan (see p103) do not eat, drink or smoke in public during the day.
Although Moroccan women do wear Western clothes, play it safe and dress conservatively. Headscarves are not necessary but neither women nor men should wear shorts. Women should also avoid mini skirts, baring their midriff or leaving their shoulders bare. Revealing bikini tops should be restricted to the hotel pool.
$ Female travellers
Marrakech is safe for solo female travellers, although you should
expect to attract more than your fair share of attention wherever you go. However, avoid travelling down south on your own. People are more conservative south of the Atlas; a woman on her own will draw a lot of unwelcome curiosity.
I % Photographing % people
You can take photographs almost anywhere in Morocco but avoid official
buildings and anything that looks like it might be police or military. Before turning your camera on anyone, always ask for permission, since the more traditional
ingrained suspicion of any type of image. You may be asked for money by those you photograph, especially in tourist spots and in particular around Jemaa El Fna.
The stigma of nicotine hasn't yet filtered through to Morocco, and everybody smokes everywhere, all the time. Get used to eating in smoke-filled restaurants and travelling on smoke-filled buses and in smoke-filled taxis.
The monarchy Since the accession of Mohammed VI, attitudes towards the monarchy have relaxed. You may even hear Moroccans criticizing the
king. Even so, the subject of the monarchy is
still largely taboo. It is never a good idea to show any disrespect to the king's image, which hangs in shops and in all public places.
You are expected to tip in restaurants and cafes, but not too great an amount. As a rule of thumb, leave about 10 per cent unless a service charge is included. You are also expected to tip porters (about 20 Dh is the usual amount) and the staff at your riad -leave 100 Dh on top of the bill.
You may notice that Moroccans give freely to the beggars hanging around the streets, anything from 10 cents to 1 Dh. One of the "Five Pillars of Islam" is charity, which is just as well as there is no social security system to support those unable to work.
) Visiting mosques
Unlike most other Arab countries, non-Muslims cannot visit mosques or shrines. There are even one or two streets (well marked) in the medina that non-Muslims are not allowed to enter because they lead to holy places. Curiously, this rule was instituted by the French during their colonial rule.
Bottled water is easily available so be sure to drink lots of it. If you don't take in enough liquids, you are liable to end up feeling quite faint or possibly worse.
@ Souk guides
In spite of the strict clamp down ordered by the king himself, you may still have guides approaching you to offer their services. Always decline. With the help of this book, there's nothing you can't find yourself. Any discount a guide may obtain for you at shops will be negated by his own commission, which the shopkeeper will factor into the price he charges you.
£ Getting drunk
Alcohol is frowned upon by Islam. Which is to say that Moroccans drink discreetly and out of the gaze of the general public. Alcohol is forbidden within the medina, given the holy status conferred on it courtesy of its seven shrines. However, hotels and restaurants with a predominantly foreign clientele are allowed some flexibility.
The country is one of the major producers of cannabis (known locally as kif), so drugs are freely available. Ignore all whispered offers of hash
around Jemaa El Fna -secret police are present all around and buying or selling drugs, including hash, is illegal. A fine or, worst case, a prison sentence awaits anyone caught red-handed.
Hitchhikers dot the road between Marrakech and Ouarzazate. Should you stop, your new passenger will invariably attempt to either sell whatever is in his bag or cajole you into detouring off route to a "special" place, that ends up at some friend's or family member's restaurant or shop. It is best not to pick anyone up.
I £ Overstretching the plumbing
Even in the best of hotels, Moroccan plumbing is temperamental. Locals use water rather than toilet paper. As a consequence, the pipes may get blocked very quickly if you do use toilet paper. So use it sparingly -older, cheaper hotels even recommend that you dispose of it in the bin provided instead of flushing away the paper.
£ Public displays of £ affection
Displays of public affection, even walking with arms around each other, are taboo. You will not suffer any extreme form of punishment if
caught, but this kind of behaviour is sure to cause offence.
* Being openly gay
Marrakech has, since the 1970s, been popular with the gay crowd. The city has even been marketed as a gay destination with several riads advertising themselves as gay-friendly. However, homosexuality is forbidden in Morocco and carries a prison sentence. Foreigners are rarely troubled by the police, but be discreet.
£ Driving Conditions
If you choose to negotiate the hairpin turns of the passes through the Atlas Mountains, drive with great concentration. It is worth it though for the spectacular scenery that unfolds around you. There are several stopping places along the way. You should avoid driving at night as many roads and crossroads are poorly lit.
) Don't believe all you are told
Marrakech inspires the invention of myths. Jimi Hendrix did not write "Castles Made of Sand" after a trip to Essaouira. Sting did not hire out the Amanjena to celebrate his 50th birthday. However, almost everything else you may hear is possibly true. Or possibly not.
Pharmacies are denoted by a green crescent sign and have
H Vaccinations and U other precautions
Polyclinique du Sud.
£ Animal dangers
Morocco doesn't have particularly harmful insects, but scorpions and snakes are common in the countryside. If you are somewhere in the Atlas Mountains, always check your clothing before getting dressed. Carry some repellent to combat the abundant
No vaccinations are required for visitors entering Morocco, except for those coming from a country where yellow fever exists. However, vaccinations against hepatitis A and B and typhoid are advised. Be
Be particularly careful when walking through a quiet medina late in the evening. Pickpockets are also common in the souks and on Jemaa El Fna, so be vigilant.
Drinking water and food safety
Drink bottled mineral water and avoid salads and fruit juice. Don't add ice to your drinks.
Approach street food with mosquitoes in desert caution, though the food oasis areas. at the stalls on Jemaa El
Fna is usually safe. Serious illness
Being careful about
Emergencies what you eat should
In the case of an prevent any serious
emergency don't wait for illness, but in case of an ambulance: flag a taxi persistent diarrhoea, and go to the Polyclinique consult a doctor without du Sud in the New City, delay. Stray dogs may a private hospital with carry rabies and if you
In case of problems, try the tourist police first
Fna (not to be confused
with the Judicial Police to the east of Jemaa El Fna). The main police station is on Rue Oued El Makhazine near Jnane El
(Brigade Touristique; 0524 38 46 01) at Sidi Mimoun,
there is a Marrakech-based UK honorary
consul in the New City.
Polyclinique du Sud
Map B4 2 rue de
Yougoslavie 0524 44 79 99 Open 24hrs
Map B5 166 ave
Mohammed V, Gueliz
0524 43 01 58
Pharmacie du Progres
Map J3 Jemaa El
Fna 0524 44 25 63
British Honorary Consul
Map B4 55 blvd Mhmd Zerktouni, Gue-liz 0524 43 60 78/ 42 08 46
The US Embassy, 0537 63 33 33, and UK Embassy, 0537 76 22 65, are both in Rabat. The US Consulate, 0522 26 45 50, is in Casablanca.
Haggling is de rigueur in the souks. If you don't haggle, you may pay massively over the odds. It all revolves around the considerable difference between the price offered by the seller and the price that he will actually accept if pushed. Shop around and get a few different quotes on identical items before the game begins in earnest.
@ The offer of tea
You will invariably be offered tea as part of the bargaining process. Accepting places you under no obligation to buy. It does, however, allow the seller more time to draw your attention to other potential sales. If you aren't that interested in what he has to offer in the first place, then definitely decline the tea.
£ Avoiding the £ hard sell
The sales pitches of the souk traders are nothing if not amusing. But if you are not interested then just walk on, don't respond and don't catch anybody's eye. No seller is going to waste time on somebody who is not going to purchase goods.
$ How will it look at $ home?
A souk is a seductive place with items that may tempt you into a purchase. But stop to consider before you buy:
how well will a brass platter the size of a tractor wheel fit with your furniture at home? And would you actually dare to wear the canary yellow slippers and take a stroll down a high street at home?
% For something % different
If you want a break from the monotony of the always busy souks and wish to purchase something more unique but distinctly Moroccan, visit some of the shops that line the medina, such as Atelier Moro, Kif Kif and Kulchi (see p70), or Scenes du Lin (see p78) up in the New City. All these places are run by young designers with a very unique take on local crafts and traditions.
£ Types of £ Restaurants
There are two types of restaurant in Marrakech: those that offer Moroccan food and those that offer international food. The Moroccan restaurants either feature an a la carte or set menu. The set menu meal is something you do once and never repeat again (see below). Your next evening's meal could probably be Moroccan a la carte, and if you're around a third night, you may want to dine at one of the restaurants serving excellent international cuisine.
The set meal
In the cheaper restaurants a set meal consists of a starter (soup or salad), followed by a main dish and finishing with a dessert (usually something like a creme caramel or fruit). At the more expensive restaurants such a meal involves more courses than could ever be eaten.
* Opening hours
* and reservations
Many restaurants open only for dinner, typically from around 7:30pm until 10:30 or 11pm. You may find it difficult to scout a place for lunch away from Jemaa El Fna or the New City. Reservations are advisable for popular restaurants (see pp52-3).
£ Alcoholic drinks
Most restaurants frequented by Western tourists have a license to serve alcohol. The Moroccan rose wines are perhaps the best of the lot. In Ramadan (see p103) some restaurants that normally serve alcohol stop selling it.
It is possible to eat well for not very much. However, many of the more popular and fashionable restaurants in Marrakech charge European prices. The prices given on menus usually include all taxes, but check if the service is included.
The pharmacies are generally open by 8:30am and stay shut for lunch.
which are either riads (see below) or maisons d'hotes, a term that roughly translates to mean "boutique hotels" Some of these places are so stunning, you may
find it hard to
self into the throng of the medina. However, for those who find comfort in standard international hotels, there are plenty of those too.
A riad is a house in the medina with a courtyard. Uniquely Moroccan, they can range from a cosy four rooms to close to 20, from humble to ultra-stylish. Nearly all are privately-owned guesthouses and the levels of service and luxury tend to reflect the personalities - and financial resources - of their owners. It is possible to rent a whole riad at a reduced rate. Many riads offer transport to and from the airport.
£ Location, location, £ location
All the riads are in the medina. The closer you are to Jemaa El Fna, the central whirlpool of Marrakech, the better. The big international hotels are in Hivernage, between the medina and the airport - a taxi ride away from all the action.
five-star grading system. This system, however, is not applied to riads. Listed hotels are often ambitiously graded and it is not recommended that you venture below three stars.
By law, prices for accommodation must be shown in the reception area as well as in rooms. Be aware, however, that these prices rarely include tax and they do not include breakfast. Again, riads and maisons d'hotes are exempted from this rule.
È Negotiating a L£] lower price
Negotiating a lower price for a hotel room is common - and fruitful. At slack times, it is possible to obtain reductions of up to 30 per cent. It is a waste of time, however, during high season or with most riads.
£ High and low £season
High season is Christmas and New Year and the weeks around Easter. At
such times, prices of rooms can go up by as much as 25 per cent and that's if you can find one - you really need to have something booked months in advance. September and October are generally also busy as the worst of the summer heat is over. January and February are low seasons.
* Disabled access
Most accommodation in the medina is not wheelchair accessible, as Moroccan houses are built with lots of steps. The international hotels in Hivernage are the best bets, as many of them are disabled-friendly.
( Travelling with kids
Riads are not great places to holiday with kids. Being essentially small, former family homes with a central courtyard, noise carries to all rooms. Unless your children are remarkably quiet, you are liable to disturb other guests.
All riads and maisons d'hotes offer breakfast. Few have restaurants but all have kitchens, where lunch and dinner can be prepared to order and usually eaten in the courtyard or on the roof terraces. The food from riad kitchens is as good, if not superior, to most of the local restaurants.
© under Dh500
©©©©© over Dh3500
Le Meridien N'Fis
A five-minute taxi ride from the medina. It has 277 rooms, restaurants, a popular nightclub and an excellent spa. The architecture is utilitarian but it does have a nice garden setting. d Map C7
Ave Mohammed VI, Hivernage 0524 33 94 00
www.lemeridienhotels. com ©©©©
Royal Mirage Marrakech
A former Sheraton property set within its own walled gardens, the rooms are laid out around a vast central garden pool. d Map C7 Ave de la Men-ara, Hivernage
0524 44 89 98 www. royalmirage hotels.com
£ Sofitel Marrakech
The 207-room Sofitel boasts less offensive architecture, brighter rooms and is closer to the medina. What's more, the excellent Comptoir, Alizia and Table du Marche (see p79) are just a minute's walk away. d Map G5 Rue Harroun Errachid, Hivernage
0524 42 56 00 www. sofitel.com ©©©©
$ Les Jardins de $ la Koutoubia
Steps away from the Koutoubia Mosque, this
well concealed, 72-room five-star hotel is relatively
modern. The rather large rooms are smart and kitted out with full
facilities. A swimming pool dominates the central courtyard. d Map J3 26 rue de la Koutoubia, Medina 0524 38 88 00
www.lesjardinsdela koutoubia.com ©©©©
% Club Med
The location is unbelievably central, the actual hotel "village" neatly disguised by masses of foliage. Apart from the pool and spa, the holiday package includes language classes, Oriental dance and a singing workshop. d Map J4 Jemaa El Fna
0524 44 40 16 www. clubmed.co.uk ©©©©
£ Hotel Es Saadi
In business since 1952, the Es Saadi, with its 150 rooms, is one of the city's older hotels and ageing well. Rooms are well kept, the garden pool is lovely and the house restaurant is not bad. d Map C6 Ave El Kadissia, Hivernage
0524 44 88 11 www. essaadi.com ©©©©
£ Tichka Salam
Located on the Casablanca road, a 15-minute taxi ride from the medina, the hotel does boast the best pool in town, two restaurants and a bar with interiors by Bill Willis (see p38) verging on the ridiculous. Fun, though remote. d Route de Casablanca, Semlalia 0524 44 87 10
A modern, clean hotel, it is close to Marrakech's train station on the western edge of Gueliz. It may be a 10-minute taxi ride from the medina but it does offer good value for money. d Map B5 Ave Hassan II, Place de la gare 0524 43 59 29 www.ibishotel.com
£ Hivernage Hotel £ and Spa
A member of the "Great Hotels of the World" network, this is a very stylish and modern, 34-room, independently-owned hotel. Just outside the medina walls, it has an excellent restaurant in the Table du Marche, a popular patisserie and beautiful spa. d Map G4 Cnr of ave Echouhada and rue du Temple, Hivernage 0524 42 41 00 www.hivernage-hotel.com ©©©
) Atlas Asni
The Atlas chain has two hotels in Marrakech and this is the cheaper. Nothing to look at from outside, the 329 rooms are pleasant enough and it has a swimming pool and a fitness centre, if you're looking for a workout after sightseeing. Guests can also access the spa facilities of its ritzier sister hotel nearby. d Map B6 Ave Mohammed VI, Gueliz
0524 33 99 00 www. hotelsatlas.com^ ©©©
Recommend your favourite hotel on traveldk.com
U Grand Tazi
A legendary medina hotel that's well past its sell-by date (rooms are worn and battered), it has retained its popularity thanks to its prime location, within sniffing distance of Jemaa El Fna. It has a large swimming pool and a lobby area where alcohol is served. d Map J4 Cnr of ave El Mouahidine and rue de Bab Agnaou, Medina
0524 44 27 87 ©
@ Hotel Gallia
Of all the budget options in the bylanes off Rue Bab Agnaou, this is one of the best, with en suite rooms arranged around two charming Andalusian-style courtyards. Be sure to book in advance. d Map J4 30 rue de la Recette, off rue de Bab Agnaou, Medina
0524 44 59 13 www. ilove-marra kesh.com/ hotelgallia ©
£ Hotel Medina
On a street full of Moulay Ismail, Me cheap rooms, the Medina 0524 44 49 79 © stands out for its cleanliness and the hospitality of the owners. The really impecunious can sleep on the roof terrace for just 25 Dh. Note that the showers are communal. d Map K4 1 derb Sidi Bouloukat, Medina 0524 44 29 97 ©
$ Hotel Souria
A tiny, popular hotel. It's basic and you pay extra (10 Dh) to use the
dining. Advance booking is essential. d Map K4
3 derb Djama, Medina
0524 42 93 05 www. hotelsherazade.com ©
£ Hotel Farouk
Owned by the same people as the Hotel Ali this is the best budget option for anyone looking to stay close to the shops and nightlife of the New City. Rooms vary greatly so view several before choosing. All the rooms have en suite bathrooms. d Map B5
66 ave Hassan II, Gueliz
0524 43 19 89 ©
ÈHotel Toulousain Right in the heart of the New City, the Toulousain (established by a Frenchman from Toulouse) has been around forever - US Beat writer William Burroughs was a regular here. The rooms surround a leafy courtyard and there are plenty of good cafes and restaurants nearby, including the popular Cafe du Livre (see p79) next door. d Map B5
Rue Tarek Ben Ziad, Gueliz
0524 43 00 33 www. geocities.com/hotel_ toulousain ©
Close to the Musee de Marrakech (see p68), this riad has two suites, two big double rooms and one smaller double room. Delphine, one half of the friendly Belgian couple who run the place, is an expert in souk shopping. d Map K2
25 derb El Ferrane, Quar-tier Azbest, Medina 0524 38 51 50 www.tchaikana. com ©©
@ Riad Magi
Named after its English owner, Maggie Perry, this six-room riad is terrifically unpretentious and friendly. Each room is done out in a different colour and all have en suite bathrooms. Breakfast is served on the roof terrace. d Map K3 79 derb Moulay Abdel-kader, uerb Dabachi, Medina 0524 42 66 88 ©©
£ Dar Fakir
A short distance from Jemaa El Fna, Dar Fakir is like a Buddha Bar chill-out lounge, with a cushion-strewn roofed courtyard adorned with artifacts from India, Thailand and Morocco. It has eight chic guest rooms and a roof terrace from which you can hear the crowds on the nearby square. Clientele are predominantly youthful and arrive in groups. d Map K3 16 derb Abou El Fadail, Kenaria, Medina
0524 44 11 00 www. darfakir.com ©©
Tlaata wa Siteen
This small riad, which means "63", is to the north of the souks, located behind Musee de Marrakech and has all the charm of the more pricey riads. The frill-free rooms are stylish with a laid-back air. Bathrooms are shared. d Map K2 63 derb El Ferrane, Riad Laarous, Medina 0524 38 30 26 ©
% Hotel Jnane % Mogador
A restored 19th-century residence that falls between a riad and hotel, it has 17 rooms around a central courtyard with a fountain and grand staircase. The decor may lack sophistication, but the place represents excellent value. d Map K4 116 rue Riad Zitoun El Kedim, Derb Sidi Bouloukat, Medina 0524 42 63 23 www. jnanemogador.com ©
È Riad Blanc
An attractive little riad, it is well-located between Maison Tiskiwine and the Dar Si Said Museum (see pp62-3). It has been lovingly decorated in a traditional style with green-tiled eaves, flesh-toned tadelakt walls (see p36) and carved stucco. Rooms are small and there's a courtyard plunge pool, a rooftop jacuzzi and a hammam. d Map K4 25 derb Si Said, Medina 0524 38 67
This curiously named place is stunning and has a terracotta-tiled courtyard. Rooms are a fusion of Moroccan and cool minimalism - with more quirky names (the Chewing Gum room, the Egg Suite). d Map J1 97
, Sidi Ben
Slimane 0524 37 72 27
I * Dar Salam
This riad is more like a Moroccan B&B. Apart from five bedrooms, it has two tents on the roof: large marquees with showers and toilets. d Map H1 162 derb Ben Fayda Arset Hiheri, Rue Legza, Bab Doukkala 0524 38 31 10/32 93 09 www. dar-salam.com ©
I ( Riad Altair
This six-room riad has a friendly staff. Close to the Bab Doukkala, light sleepers may be woken up by the call to prayer. d Map H2 21 derb Zao-uia, Medina 0524 38 52 24
I)Riad Nejma Lounge
The funkiest riad in town, with its striking colours, looks like it's from a Lenny Kravitz video shoot. A plunge pool in the courtyard and a roof terrace add to its "loun-gey" feel. d Map G1
45 derb Sidi M'hamed El Haj, Bab Doukkala 0524 38 23 41 www. riad-nejmalounge.com ©
A lovely little riad with just four rooms, it is a short meandering walk north of Jemaa El Fna, and convenient for you to drop in at the souks and Mouassine (see p68). It's an intimate place that bears the stamp of its (English-speaking) Italian owner Lucrezia Mutti. d Map J3 23 rue Laksour, off rue Sidi El Yamami
0524 42 69 66 www. darattajmil.com ©©
@ Riad 72
This stylish Italian-owned riad is very Milan-meets-Marrakech. The house is traditional but the black-and-white colour scheme and sleek furniture all imported. There is one dramatically large main suite and three smaller double rooms. d Map H2 72 Arset Awsel, Bab Doukkala
0524 38 76 29 www. riad72.com ©©©
£ Riad Zina
If red happens to be your favourite colour, then this funky riad with a 1970s feel is the place for you. The spacious suite can sleep up to five people. d Map J1 38 derb Assabane, Riad Larousse 0524 38 52 42
www.riadzina-marrakech. com ©©
Dar Doukkala Six high-ceilinged rooms and suites in this enchanting riad are filled
with wonderful period details, and clawfoot tubs in the bathrooms. Other eccentricities include a wall of lanterns above a small terrace pool. Also has a hammam. d Map H2 83 rue Bab Doukkala, Dar El Bacha 0524 38 34 44 www.dar doukkala.
% Riad Noga
A spacious riad with a homely air and efficient service, it has a pool and all the rooms have TV sets, sound systems and cosy fireplaces. d Map L3
78 derb Jdid, Douar Graoua
0524 38 52 46 www. riadnoga.com ©©©
Riad Lotus Ambre The Lotus has four double rooms and one suite which boast branded bed linen, Bang & Olufsen plasma screens and whumping sound systems. Warhol art decorates the walls. If bling's your thing, this riad's for you. d Map J3 22 derb Fhal Zefriti, Quartier Leksour
0524 44 14 05 www. riadslotus.com ©©©
£ Riad Azzar
This tasteful, Dutch-owned riad is unique for its small, heated plunge pool right in the middle of the courtyard. Three of its six rooms are suites
fireplaces and air conditioning. d Map K3 94 derb Moulay Abdelkader, off derb Dabachi 0661 15 81 79 www.riadazzar.com
This elegant riad combines Moorish architecture with subtle tones of Arabia, Turkey and Persia, in the form of antique kilims, rich Ottoman tapestries and a Damascene fountain -reminders of the years that its British owner spent in the Middle East d Map L4 27 derb Bouderba, off rue Riad Zitoun El Jedid www. riadhayati.com ©©©
£ Riad Kaiss
This riad is everything that you might have imagined a Marrakech riad to be Pink-walled and green-tiled terraces and crisp, pristine white linen in the bedrooms scattered with deep red rose petals. Its courtyard is planted with orange and lemon trees. d Map K5 65 derb Jedid, off rue Riad Zitoun El Kedim
0524 44 01 41 www. riadkaiss.com ©©©
) Riad Kniza
Dating from the 18th century, this is an almost unique example of a Marrakech riad, in that it is owned and run by Moroccans and not foreigners. The owner is a respected "guide to the stars" and an antique dealer, which explains the plethora of antiques that are scattered around the place. d Map G1 34 derb L'Hotel, Bab Doukkala
0524 37 69 42 www. riadkniza.com ©©©©
A contemporary, eight-room riad, it is decorated in a simple and uncluttered, yet appealing style. The traditional feel that permeates the place is augmented by modern comforts such as air conditioning and a hammam. It's located right on the doorstep of the souks. d Map K2
12 Talaa Ben Youssef
0524 42 90 45 www. talaa12.com ©©©
@ Riyad El Cadi
A rambling maze of a riad, it is made up of eight connected houses. It's a beautiful place to lose yourself - admiring the collected Islamic art along the way. The staff is super efficient and the quality of service is second to none. d Map K3
87 derb Moulay Abdel-kader, off derb Dabachi
0524 37 86 55 www. riyadel cadi.com ©©©
£ Riyad Edward
In the remote north of the medina, Edward has a raffish, bohemian charm uniquely its own. A hammam, a beautiful garden, pool and a roof terrace are among the many facilities for days of indolent lounging. d Map D4 10 derb Maristan
0524 38 97 97 www. riyadedward.com ©©©
$ Riyad Al Moussika
A beautifully restored and maintained former grandee's home, it is especially notable for its good food - including an enormous breakfast of eggs, pancakes, pastries and fruit. d Map K3 62 derb Boutouil, Kennaria
0524 38 90 67 www. riyad-al-moussika.com
% Riad El Mezouar
A serene, whitewashed riad with large rooms fitted with contemporary furnishings. Its only drawback is the location 15 minutes from Jemaa El Fna. d Map L3
28 derb El Hammam
0524 38 09 49 www. mezouar.com ©©©
È Riad El Arsat
This riad has ten rooms split between "winter" and "summer" houses at either end of what is the largest garden of any riad in the medina - with a pool and free-roaming tortoises. The decor mixes traditional Moroccan with European Art Deco. d Map L3 10 bis, Derb Chemaa, Arset Loughzail 0524 38 75 67 www.kasbah-tabel koukt.info ©©©
£ Les Jardins de la £ Medina
Not a riad but a former Marrakchi princess's residence with extensive centuries-old gardens, it was transformed into a boutique hotel. A total of 36 rooms combine modern hotel efficiency and amenities with full
on Moroccan splendour.
and a Thai restaurant for respite from tagines. d Map K7 21 derb Chto-
38 18 51 www.lesjardins delamedina.com ©©
In this seven-room riad, the bedrooms come in a variety of different colours of tadelakt. All the rooms are air conditioned and equipped with satellite television. Amenities include a hammam, Jacuzzi and solarium. d Map D4 413 Arset Ben Brahim, Bab Doukkala
0524 38 13 10 www.riad sindibad.com ©©©
( Riad El Ouarda
A beautifully restored 17th-century riad, deep in the heart of the northern medina, well away from the crowds. Each room is differently styled. The roof terrace is one of the best in Marrakech. d Map J1 5 derb Taht Sour Lakbir 0524 38 57 14
) Bab Firdaus
This striking riad is just a few steps from the historic Bahia and Badii palaces (see pp24-5 and 62). The three suites and four guest rooms are all absolutely sumptuous, heavy with sculpted plaster decoration and carved cedar ceilings. d Map L4 57 rue Bahia
0524 38 00 73 www. babfirdaus.com ©©©
r Sign up for DK's email newsletter on traveldk.com 115
colonial bar and a garden traditional style just
% Villa des % Orangers
A grand residence that once belonged to a judge, this boutique hotel vill
courtyards. The roof
terrace has unrivalled
riadelfenn.com ©©©© views of the Koutoubia.
d Map J5 6 rue Sidi Mimoun, Medina 0524 38
outside the medina walls Its rooms are five-star standard with facilities such as minibars and internet access but the place feels like a private te with a pool d Map G3 Ave El Yarm-ouk, Hivernage 0524 43 70 40 www.theredhouse-marrakech.com ©©©
46 38 www.villadesorang Kssour Agafay is
ers com ©©©© North Africa's first private
members' club. Built in the late 15th century, it is a UNESCO World
houses and a wild garden Heritage building. It has
courtyard make up this particularly splendid since I striking riad. Rooms
As much a landmark as the Koutoubia Mosque ers.com ©©©© and Jemaa El Fna, the Mamounia has been hosting movie stars, heads of state and royalty since 1923. And it's looking
restored, with six stunn-verge on the fantastical, ing suites on the upper
non-members. d Map J3
52 Sabet Graoua Ksour, Medina 0524 36 86 00
its refurbishment (see
pp28-9). d Map H5 Ave I with furniture fashioned | levels usually available to
Bab Jedid, Medina 0524 by international artists.
38 86 00 www.mamounia. Do you photograph or
HRiad Farnatchi Buried deep in the medina, Farnatchi is sheer luxury. It's an al suite hotel with Philippe Starck fittings and custom-made furniture. It
accommodation with personality, this country mansion-styled residence
sleep in the beds? d Map K2 9 derb Mesfioui, Medina 0524 44 09 26 www.riadenija.com
ÈLa Sultana This luxury hotel is discreetly hidden off a
also boasts possibly the court beside the Saadian by star architect Charles
Tombs. The interiors, a
riot of Asian and African styles, are a complete contrast. It's one of the
Boccara is a short taxi ride from the medina Rooms are luxurious -some even have their
few hotels in the medina own walled gardens. The with a decent-sized pool ultimate private retreat in
(plus spa). d Map K6 403 rue de la Kasbah, Medina 0524 38 80 08
the heart of the city. d Map C6 Rue Jnane El Harti, Hivernage 0524 42
best informed, most capable manageress in town. d Map K2 2 derb Farnatchi, Medina 0524 38 49 10 www. riadfarnatchi.com
www.lasultanamarrakech. 13 03 www.dar-rhizlane.
$ La Maison Arabe
The first boutique
hotel in Marrakech still
116 For more on Charles Boccara, see p38.
U Jnane Tamsna
This coolest and most elegant of the Palmeraie villas has featured in an array of international fashion magazines but there's plenty of substance here too - surrounding fruit orchards, vegetable and herb gardens provide the all-organic produce for the kitchen. d Douar Abiad, La Palmeraie 0524 32 84 84 www.jnane tamsna.com ©©©©
@ Ksar Char Bagh
This maddest of Marrakech accommodations is a virtual recreation of an Alhambran palace court on a grand scale. It's all about excess - from the heated pool to the cigar salon. The hotel offers a pick-up service; guests are picked up from the airport in reconditioned London taxis. d La Palmeraie 0524 32 92 44
£ Les Deux Tours
A landmark piece of architecture by Charles Boccara, this is a beautiful walled retreat of interconnected villas in lush gardens. The softly seductive rooms make lavish use of Boccara's trademark tadelakt, not to mention the lawn-fringed pools. d Douar Abiad, La Palmeraie 0524 32 95 27
Built in the 1990s as a private villa and set in three acres of gardens, this hotel has just three exquisite suites and two equally fantastic, massive bedrooms. The marble baths are the size of sarcophagi. d Rue El Andalib, La Palmeraie
% Palmeraie Golf % Palace and Resort
This large five-star hotel on the northern edge of the Palmeraie with a golf course attached, also has pools, gardens, tennis courts, restaurants and a popular nightclub. d Circuit de la Palmeraie
0524 30 10 10 www. pgpmarrakech.com
È Palais Rhoul
An opulent, sunken residence straight out of a James Bond movie, its gardens are vast and shared by just 20 rooms. The hotel has two restaurants - and one of the world's best hammams. d Km 5, Dar Tounisi, Route de Fes 0667 35 35 40
A conversion of several village dwellings north of Marrakech, this is the place to hole up and leave modern life behind. The mudbrick architecture is simple but oh-so-chic and there's a
beautiful pool, lots of terraces and a hammam. A mini-bus shuttles into town three times a day should you wish. d 264 Ouled Ben Rahmoune, 40,000 0524 30 03 02
I * Part of the ultra
exclusive Amanresorts group, the place resembles a film set of an Oriental epic. Accommodation consists of 39 private villas, some with their own walled gardens. d Km 12, Route de Ouarzazate 0524 40 33 53
I (Kasbah Tamadot
One hour's drive south of Marrakech, this former residence of a tribal leader was taken over by Richard Branson's Virgin company and transformed into an exclusive and expensive retreat. d BP67 Asni
0524 36 82 00 www. virgin.com/kasbah
I )Kasbah du Toubkal
A few miles further from Tamadot, the Toubkal is at the foot of North Africa's highest mountain. Rooms here range from £20 a night for dormitory beds to a suite costing 12 times that much. d BP31, Imlil
0524 48 56 36 www. kasbahdutoubkal.com
© to ©©©©
For more information about Kasbah Tamadot and Kasbah du 117
Toubkal, see pp89 and 93.
A architecture 36-7 Bab Firdaus 115
A Year in Marrakech 33 Mauresque 76 babouches (slippers) 14,
Index Abu Abdullah Mohammed modern styles 38-9 16 see also souk
II 23 argan oil 16, 90 see also souvenirs
Abdel Aziz 62 souk souvenirs Bahia Palace 37, 62, 41, 104
Abdel Malek 23 Argana 8, 65 Badii Palace 7, 24-5,
Abouzeid, Leila 45 Arset el Mamoun see 68-9
accommodation 110-17 Mamounia Gardens Bains de Marrakech 40
budget hostels 112 Arset Moulay Abdesslem banks and ATMs 105
budget hotels 113 43, 117 Barrage Lalla
child-friendly 49 art and culture 44-5 Takarkoust 56
international and chain Arts in Marrakech Festival bars 79, see also nightlife
hotels 111 (AiM) 44 bazaars see markets
luxury riads and Asni 56, 89 bargaining (haggling) 109
hotels 116 Association Tameslohte 57 Bazaar du Sud 70
mid-range riads Aswak Assalam 78 beaches 83
114-15 Atelier Moro 70 begging 106
places to stay 84, 93, 99 Atlas Asni 111 Beldi 17, 70
riads 46-7, 110 Atlas Blue 102 Belkahia, Farid 45
tips 110 Atlas Corporation Studios belly dancing 51, 53, 65
activities for children 95 see also films shot Ben Jelloun, Tahar 45
48-9 in Morocco Ben Youssef Mosque
Adventures in Morocco 33 Atlas Mountains, the 6, 23, 37, 68
Agadir 92 32, 35, 56-7, 61, 88, 92 Berbers, the 17, 45, 51,
Agdz 97 Tizi-n-Test Pass 88-93 56-7, 83, 90, 97
Agdal Gardens 19, 42 Tizi-n-Tichka Pass 94-9 Binebine, Mahi 45
Ahmed, Ba 62 Au Sanglier Qui Fume Boccara, Charles 39, 76
Ahmed El Mansour 21, 24 90, 93 books on Morocco 33
airlines and airport 102 auberge Boulmane du Dades 98
Ait Benhaddou 96, 99 Souktana 93 Boulangerie El Widad 91
Ait Ourir 95 Telouet 99 Bowles, Paul 35
Al Fassia 52, 79 Avenue Mohammed V British Honorary
alcohol 109 see also bars, 43, 75 Consul 108
nightlife, restaurants Avis 104 budget accommodation
Alexander 34-5, 96 Aya's 64 112-13
Ali Baba and the Forty budget travel 104
Thieves 92 B Bureau des guides 91
Ai Ben Youssef 18 Bab Doukkala 18, 61, 78, 81 buses 102
Alizia 79, 111 Mosque 69 CTM buses 102
Alouites, the 20, 32 Bab Agnaou 18 gare routiere (coach
Almohad Mosque 13 Bab Berrima 19 station) 102
Almohads, the 13, 32, 62, Bab Debbagh 19, 69 over the Atlas 104
90 Bab El Jdid 45 sightseeing bus
Almovarids, the 13, 32, 68 Bab El Kasbah 91 tours 104
Amanjena 39, 117 Bab El Khemis 19 Supratours 83, 102, 104
Amizmiz 57 Bab El Rob 18 to Essaouira 83, 104
Amridil 98 Bab Marrakech 83 business and shopping
118 Anti-Atlas, the 92 Bab Nkob 77 hours 105
C Club Med 111 Dinanderie 64
cafes see also places to coaches see buses disabled access 103, 110
eat, restaurants Comptoir 53-4, 77, 79, 111 doctors 108
Cafe Arabe 14, 67, 69, consulates 107 dress code 106
71 Cote Plage 85 drinks Index
Cafe Atlas 55, 77 Cordonnerie Errafia 64 alcohol 109
Cafe de France 8 country markets 57, 89, 95 dehydration 107
Cafe des Epices 14, 71 Creation Chez Abdel 70 getting drunk 107
Cafe du Livre 44, 78, 79 credit cards 105 mint tea 51
Cafe Glacier 11, 35 currency 105 see also offer of tea
Cafe les Negociants 77 cycling 49, 104 orange-juice stalls 8
Grand Cafe de la water safety 108
Poste 79 D water sellers 9
Palmeraie d'Or 48 Dades Gorge 98 driving 104
caleches 8, 19, 48, 104 Damgaard, Dane car rentals 104
camel Frederik 83 over the Atlas 107
riding 48, 98 see danger from animals 108 rules of the road 104
Merzouga Dar Adul 84 drugs 107
trekking 96 see Dar Ahlam 99
Ouarzazate Dar Attajmil 47, 114 E
car rentals 104 Dar Bellarj 23 Eglise des Saints-Martyrs
Caravanserai 117 Dar Cherifa 37, 44, 67, 69 de Marrakech (Church of
Casa Del Mar 84 Dar Daif 99 St Anne) 75, 77
Cascades d'Ozoud 57 Dar Doukkala 114 El Badii 78
Casino de Marrakech 55 Dar El Bacha 37, 69 electricity 103
celebrity visitors 34-5 Dar El Bahar 84 El Kelaa M'Gouna 98
Centre Artisanal 21, 64 Dar El Hajar 13 emergencies 108
Chalet de la Plage 83, 85 Dar El Haoura 19 see also Ensemble Artisanal 70, 77
Chez Ali 51 fortresses entertainers 8-11
Chez Chegrouni 52, 65 Dar Fakir 113 entertainment 51
Chez Driss 85 Dar Les Cigognes 39 Erfud 98
Chez Nada 91 Dar Loulema 84 Erg Chebbi dunes 98
Chez Sam 85 Dar Moha 52, 71 Essaouira 80-85,
children Dar Rhizlane 116 103-4
activities for 48-9 Dar Salam 113 places to stay 84
child-friendly Dar Si Said Museum 63 places to eat 85
accommodation 49 Dar Yacout 39, 53, 71 etiquette 106
see also riads Date Festival 98 hammam 40
Coralia Club Palmeriva 49 day trips 56-7 Night Market, the 10
Chrob ou Chouf Essaouira 80-85 Europcar 104
Fountain 23 Tizi-n-Test Pass 88-93
Church of St Anne see Tizi-n-Tichka Pass 94-9 F
Eglise des Saints- Days of Glory 76 famous guests see
Martyrs de Marrakech de Gaulle, General celebrity visitors
Churchill, Winston Charles 35 famous Moroccans 45
28, 34, 69, 89 De Velasco 78 fanous (lanterns) 16 see
Cinema Eden 63 Debbouze, Jamel 45 also souk souvenirs
city walls and gates 7, dehydration 109 Farrell, Colin 34
18-19, 45, 61, 69, desert 97-8 Fedal, Moha 52
77-8, 81, 83, 91, 115 dialling codes 105 female travellers 106 119
Ferdaous 85 gorges (cont.) hotels (cont.)
festivals Oued el-Abid 57 Hotel Les Amandiers 93
Arts in Marrakech Goulmina 98 Hotel Medina 112
Festival (AiM) 44 Grand Cafe de la Hotel Palais Salam
Index Date Festival 98 Poste 79 91, 93
Festivals in Essaouira Grand Tazi 55, 112 Hotel Sherazade 112
44 Gueliz 49, 74, 76, 104 Hotel Souria 112
Horse and Camel Hotel Taroudant 93
Fantasia 44, 97 H locations 110
Marrakech International Haggag, Hassan 45 Toulousain 76, 112
Film Festival 24, 44 haggling see bargaining hospitality 106
Marrakech Festival of Hakmoun, Hassan 45 hygiene 10, 108
Popular Arts 44 Hammam El Bacha 40
films shot in Morocco 22, Hammam Ziani 41 I
35, 67 hammams and spas Ibis Moussafir 111
Ait Benhaddaou 96 40-41, 49 Igherm 92
Atlas Corporation health 108 Ijoujak 90
Studio 83 henna painting 11 Imlil 89, 91
Essaouira 80-83 herbalists 9 In Morocco 33
fondouks 14, 67 Herman 64 insurance 103
food 108 Hertz 104 Intensite Nomade 78
fortresses Hideous Kinky international and chain
Dar El Hajar 13 22, 33, 35, 67 hotels 111
Dar El Haoura 19 hippy Marrakech 76, 82 Internet 105
fortune tellers 9 historic buildings 37 Irocha 99
fountains 37 historic events 32-3 Islam 106
Chrob au Chouf 23 hitchhikers 107 Islamic Art Museum
Mouassine 67 Hivernage 77 Hotel and Spa 41, 111 27, 43, 76 Islamic holidays 103
G homosexuality 107
galleries Horse and Camel J
Galerie Birkmeyer 78 Fantasias 44, 97 Jamade 64, 69
Galerie Damgaard 83 horse riding 48-9 Jbel (mountain)
Galerie 127 44 hospitals see emergencies Aoulime 92
Galerie Re 44 hostels 112 Gueliz 75
Ministerio del Gusto 69 hotels 111-17 see also Siroua 92
gardens see parks accommodation, places Toubkal 56, 89
and gardens to stay, riads Zagora 97
gare routiere (bus station) Hotel Ali 112 Jemaa El Fna 6, 8-11, 48,
102 Hotel CTM 112 52, 69, 104, 112-14, 116
Gazelle d'Or 93 Hotel de Foucauld 112 Jemaa El Fna and The
Getty Jr, John Paul 35 Hotel Es Saadi Kasbah 60-65
Talitha 35 51, 76, 111 places to eat 65
Gnawa musicians 11, 44, Hotel Farouk 112 places to shop 64
51-2, 65, 85 see also Hotel Gallia 112 Jelloun, Tahar Ben 45
art and culture Hote Idou Tiznit 93 jews
golf 49, 117 Hotel Jnane Mogador mellah (Essaouira) 82,
gorges 113 (Marrakech) 62
Dades 92 Hote Kenzi Belere 99 Miaara Jewish
120 Todra 98 Hote La Kasbah 99 Cemetery 62
Jnane El Harti 43, 48, L markets
77 L'Heure Bleue 84 Bazaar du Sud 70
Jnane Tamsna L'Orientaliste 78 Bazaar Salah Eddine 104
39, 117 La Maison Arabe 17, 40, country markets
Joutia 82 46, 71, 116 57, 88, 95 Index
La Maison du Kaftan Marche Central 75, 77-8
K Marocain 70 Marche Couvert 63-4
kasbahs see also Jemaa La Roseraie 90, 93 morning market 21
El Fna and the Kasbah La Sultana 40 Night Market, the 6,
Ait Benhaddou 96, 99 La Trattoria de 10-11
Ait Ben Moro 99 Giancarlo 79 Marrakchi, Leila 45
Amerhidil 98 Lalla Mira 84 Marrakech International
des Juifs 97 language 49, 103 Film Festival 25, 44
du Toubkal 56, 93, Lawrence of Arabia 96 Marrakech Plaza 75
117 Le Berbere Palace 99 Marjane 103
Lamrani 99 Le Catanzaro 49, 79 master musicians of
Mosque 21, 61 Le Foundouk Jajouka 45
Talaat-n-Yacoub 90 23, 39, 52, 71 Mauresque
Tamadot 89, 93, 117 Le Lounge 55 architecture 75
Tamtattouchte 98 Le Marrakchi 65 McDonald's 49, 77
Taourirt 95 Le Meridien N'Fis 34, 111 medina
Telouet 37, 57, 96 Le Pavillion 71 Essaouira 83
Tiffoultoute 95 Le Tanjia 53, 65 Marrakech 62
Timiderte 97 Le Tobsil 52, 71 Medersa Ben Youssef
Tioute 92 Led Zeppelin 35 7, 22-3, 68
Xaluca 99 Les Alizes Mogador 85 mellah
Kasbah Mosque 21, 61 Les Deux Tours 39, 117 Essaouira 82
Kawkab Jeu 48 Les Jardins de la Marrakech 62
Kechmara 53, 55, 79 Medina 115 Mellah market
Kif Kif 70 Les Jardins de la see Marche Couvert
Kingdom of Heaven Koutoubia 111 Menara Gardens 42
35, 82, 97 Lord of the Atlas 33 Merenids, the 20, 32
kings see sultans luxury retreats 116 Merzouga 98
and kings M'Hamid 97
kissaria, The 68, 70 M Miaara Jewish
Koubba El Badiyin Majorelle Cemetery 62
68 blue 27, 43, 47 Miloud El Jouli 70
Koubba Lalla Zohra 13 Gardens 7, 26-7, Ministerio del Gusto 69
Koutoubia 43, 76, 104 mint tea 51 see also
Gardens 13, 43 Jacques 26, 34, 45 offer of tea
Mosque 6, 12-13, 23, Louis 26 modern Moroccan
53, 61, 65, 75, 90, 104, majoun see drugs styles 38-9
111-12, 116 Mamounia Hotel 7, 28-9, Mohammed V 33
Kozybar 54, 65 41, 42, 53, 116 Mohammed VI 33, 44, 62
Ksar Char Bagh 117 Gardens (Arset el Mohammed IV 42
Kssour Agafay 45, 116 Mamoun) 29, 42 monkey trainers 9
ksours (fortified villages) marathons 49 morning market 21
Goulmina 98 Marche Central 75, Moroccan cuisine 50-51
Tamnougalt 97 77-8 mosques
Kulchi 70 Marche Couvert 63-4 Ben Youssef 23, 37, 68 121
mosques (cont.) O phones (cont.)
Bab Doukkala 69 Oasiria 49 mobile phones 105
Kasbah 21, 61 offer of tea 109 photographing people 106
Koutoubia 12-13, 23, Office National Marocain pise 18, 37-8
Index 53, 61, 65, 75, 90, 104, du Tourisme 103 Pizzeria Venezia 12, 65
111-12, 116 opening hours 109 Place
Mouassine 67 orange-juice stalls 8 Abdel Moumen Ben
Tamegroute 97 organised tours 102 Ali 54, 75, 76
Tin Mal 37, 56, 88 Orwell, George 34, 77 de la Liberte 75
visiting 106 Ouarzazate 56, 96, 98-9 des Ferblantiers 25, 63-4
Mouassine river 96 du 16 Novembre 75, 77
Fountain 67, 70, 114 Oued el-Abid 57 du Foucault 10
Mosque 67 Oued Nifis River 90 El Alaouyine 91
Moulay Abdellah 22 Ouikadem 56 Moulay Hassan 81, 83-4
Moulay Brahim 89 Ouirgane 90 Orson Welles 82
Moulay Hassan 32, 96 Ourika Valley 57 Sour Souika 57
Moulay Ismail 32 outdoor activities 49 places to eat 65, 71, 85
Mouyal, Elie 45 see aiso restaurants
mountain passes P places to stay 84, 93,
Tizi-n-Test 88-93 P. Diddy 34 99 see aiso
Tizi-n-Tichka 94-9 Pacha 54 accommodation,
mud-hut chic 38 palaces hostels, hotels, riads
Musee de Marrakech Bahia Palace 37, 41, places to shop 64, 70, 78
68, 113 62, 104 see aiso souks
Musee des Arts et Badii Palace 24-5, 68 Place Vendome 78
Traditions Populaires 83 Palais Rhoul 40, 117 plumbing 107
museums Palazzo Desdemona 84 police 108
Dar Si Said Museum Palmeraie pony rides 48
68 Golf Palace 48, 117 port, The (Essaouira) 81
Islamic Art Museum gardens 42 fish stalls 85
27, 43, 76 hideaways 117 post offices 105
Musee des Arts et palm groves poste restante 105
Traditions Populaires 83 Palmeraie 42 precautions 108
Musee de Tafiltalt 98 Prince Moulay
Marrakech 68 Ziz 98 Mamoun 42
Mustapha Blaoui 64, parks and gardens 13, public displays
69, 70 26-7, 29, 42-3, 48, 69, of affection 107
Mutti, Lucrezia 47 76-7, 104 passports and visas 103 R
N Patisserie des Princes Rahba Kedima 15
Narwarma 65 65 Ramadan 50, 103
New City, The 43, 44, personal safety 108 ramparts (Essaouira) 81
74-9, 104 pharmacies 108 Red House 116
places to shop 78 Pharmacie Centrale 108 Relais du Lac 56
restaurants, cafes and Pharmacie du Renaissance 76
bars 79 Progres 108 Restaurant El Minzah 85
nightlife 44-5, 52-5, 65, Polyclinique du Sud 108 restaurants 52-3
71, 79, 85 phones 105 Essaouira 85
Night Market, the 6 10-11 international phone Jemaa El Fna and the
122 Nikki Beach 55 booths 105 Kasbah 65
restaurants (cont.) New City, The 79 Souks, The 71 riads 46-7, 110 luxury riads 116 mid-range 114-15 Riad 72 114 Riad Altair 113 Riad Azzar 114 Riad Blanc 113 Riad des Mers 71 Riad El Arsat 115 Riad El Fenn 46, 116 Riad El Medina 84 Riad El Mezouar 115 Riad Enija 39, 46, 116 Riad Farnatchi 46, 116 see also modern Moroccan styles Riad Hayati 114 Riad Kaiss 39, 47, 114 see also modern Moroccan styles Riad Kniza 114 Riad Lotus Ambre 114 Riad Nejma Lounge 113 Riad Noga 114 Riad O2 113 R ad Quadra 115 Riad Sindibad 115 Riad Zina 114 Riyad Al Moussika 47, 115 Riyad Edward 115 Riyad El Cadi 46, 115 Riad Tamsna 62-3 Rissani 98 road rules 104 Rolling Stones, The 34, 76 Rotisserie de la Paix 79 Royal Air Maroc 102 Royal Mirage
Marrakech 111 royalty see sultans
and kings Rue de Bab Agnaou 61 Rue de Kasbah 21 Rue de Souk des
Fassis 23 Rue Semarine 14
Rue Riad Zitoun El
Jedid 62, 64 Rue Riad Zitoun
El Kedim 61
Saadian dynasty 33 Tombs 7, 20-21, 41,
Gates 91 Sahara 6, 32, 90, 96-8 Saint-Laurent, Yves 7, 27,
34, 42, 76 sand dunes
Erg Chebbi 98
Tinfou 97 Scenes du Lin 78 security 108 set meals 51, 107 seven saints of
Marrakech 68 shipping and courier 105 shopping 109
Jemaa El Fna and the Kasbah 65
New City, The 79
Souks, The 14-15, 66-71, 82
souvenirs 16-17 see also souks shopping and dining 109 shrines
Moulay Brahim 89
Sidi Bel Abbas 68
Sidi Mohammed Kebir 89 Sidi Ifni 92 Silvestro 85 Skala du Porte 81
de la Ville 82 ski resorts 57 Skoura 98 smoking 106 snake charmers 8 Sofitel Marrakech 41, 1Ã Souks, The 6, 14-15,
in Essaouira 82 places to eat 71 places to shop 70
Souks, The (cont.) Souk Arabe 91 Souk Berbere 91 Souk des Ferroniers 15 Souk des Babouches
Souk des Tapis 15 Souk des Tienturiers
Souk El Bab Salaam
15, 64 Souk El Kebir 14, 68 Souk El Khemis 15 Souk Jedid 82 souk guides 107 see
also bargaining souvenirs 16-17
Sous Massa National Park 92
Spanish Quarter 76
sports 49, 96
sultans and kings Abdel Aziz 62 Abdel Malek 23 Ahmed El Mansour
21, 24 Ali Ben Youssef 23 Moulay Abdellah 22 Moulay Ismail 32 Moulay Hassan 32, 96 Mohammed IV 42 Mohammed V 33 Mohammed VI 33, 44 Thami El Glaoui
33, 69, 96 Yacoub El Mansour 18
Supratours 80, 104
swimming 49 Barrage Lalla Takarkoust 56 beaches 82 Coralia Club Palmariva 49
Table du Marche 79, 111 Taddert 95 tadelakt 36, 38-9 Tafilalt 98
Tafraoute 92 tombs villages and towns (cont.)
Tahanaoute 89 Koubba El Badiyin Tazenakht 92
Talaa 12 115 39, 68 Tin Mal 89
Taliouine 92 Koubba El Tinerhir 98
Index Tamegroute Mosque Khamsiniya 25 Tiznit 92
97 Koubba Lalla Toundoute 98
Tameslohte 57 Zohra 13 ville nouvelle see
Tamnougalt 97 Tomb of Yousef Ben New City, The
Tangier Diaries, The 33 Tachfine 13 Viola, Lucien 44
Tanneries, the 68 Saadian Tombs 7, 20-21, visas see passports
Tansift Gardens 48 41, 61, 64 and visas
Taros 83, 85 Toundoute 98 visiting mosques 106
Taroudant 91, 92, 93 tourist office 103
taxis tours W
airport taxis 102 bus tours 104 Wadi Massa 92
grands taxis 88, 94, 102, organised tours 102 walks 63, 69, 77, 91, 97,
104 over the Atlas 104 104
petits taxis 104 trains 102 water 108
Tazenakht 92 Travels of Ibn Battuta 33 water safety 108
Tchaikana 46, 113 Treaty of Tangier 33 water sellers 9
tennis 49 tribes when to visit 103
Terrasses de I'Alhambra 8, Almohads, the 13, Willis, Bill 38
10, 65 32, 62, 90
Thami El Glaoui 32, 69, Almovarids, the 13, 18, Y
96 32, 68 Yacoub El Mansour 18
see also sultans and Alouites, the 20, 32 Yousef Ben Tachfine 12
kings Berbers, the 17, 45, 51, Youssef, Moulay 64
The Man Who Knew Too 56-7, 83, 90, 97
Much 29, 35 Goundafi 90 Z
Theatre Royal 39, 45, 76 Merenids, the 20, 32 Zagora 97
Theatro 55 Ouaouzgite 92 zellij 36-8
things to avoid 107 Saadians, the 20-21, 32 Ziz 98
Tichka Hotel 39 Zohra, Lalla 13
Tichka Plateau 91 V
Tichka Salam 111 vaccinations 108
Tinfou 97 Villa des Orangers 116
Tin Mal 57, 90 Villa Maroc 84
Mosque 37, 56, 88 villages and towns
Tinerhir 98 Agadir 92
tipping 106 Asni 89
Tizi-n-Test Pass 88-93, 95 Amridil 98
places to stay 93 El Kelaa M'Gouna 98
West to the Coast 92 Ijoujak 90
Tizi-n-Tichka Pass 94-9 Imlil 89
places to stay 99 Ouirgane 89
Valley of the Kasbahs Sidi Ifni 92
98 Skoura 98
Tiznit 92, 93 Tafraoute 92
Tlaata wa Siteen 113 Tahanaoute 89
124 Todra Gorge 98 Taliouine 92
Andrew Humphreys is a London-based journalist and writer with a particular passion for the Middle East and North Africa. He has written extensively on Morocco for a variety of newspapers, magazines and publishing companies, and is a frequent visitor to Marrakech.
Alan Keohane has lived in Morocco since 1993 and is the author of the photographic books 'Berbers of Morocco' and 'Bedouin, Nomads of the Desert'. His pictures have appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Marie Claire and Conde Nast Traveller, as well as several other DK Eyewitness Guides. He would like to thank Najat Bouhrim and Naima Sabik for all their help.
JP Map Graphics
Arabic Phrase Book
Majda El Bekhti, Alan Keohane AT DORLING KINDERSLEY
Managing Art Editor
Senior Cartographic Editor
Anna Wilson, Sophie Argyris Revisions
Rhiannon Furbear, Priya Kukadia, Carly Madden, Nicola Malone, Sam Merrell, Susan Searight
t=top; tc=top centre; tl=top left; tr=top right; cla=centre left above; ca=centre above; cra=centre right above; cl=centre left; c=centre; cr=centre right; clb=centre left below; cb=centre below; crb=centre right below; bl=bottom left; bc=bottom centre; br=bottom right.
The photographer, author and publisher would like to thank the following for their cooperation:
ALAMY IMAGES: Art Kowalsky 30-31; Image State/Royalty Free 35r, mediacolor's 45tl, Nick Hanna 27tl, Photo12 34tr, Realimage 102tr; CHURCHILL HERITAGE LIMITED: 34tl; CORBIS: Bettmann 35tl, Hulton-Deutsch Collection 33bl, Jean-Pierre Lescourret 58-59, John Springer Collection 29bl, Stephane Cardinale 34bl and 44bl; DAR ATTAJMIL: 47tl, 114tl; DK IMAGES: Judith Miller/Lights Camera Action 29cr; GETTY IMAGES: Andrew Gunners 3bl, Dmitri Kessel 32t, Neil Emmerson 2tc; KASBAH DU TOUBKAL: 56bl; PALAIS RHOUL: 38tr, 40br, 117tl; RIAD ELFENN: 46bl; RIAD FARNATCHI: 116tl; RIYAD EL CADI: 46tl, 115tl; TCHAIKANA: 46tl, 113tc; VILLA MAROC: 84tl.
All other images © Dorling Kindersley.
For further information see: www.dkimages.com
today el yoom
yesterday el baareh
Days of the Week
Monday el etneen
Tuesday el tlaata
Wednesday el arbe'aa
Thursday el khamees
Friday el jomo'aa
Saturday el sabet
Sunday el a'had
1' 'h daash
21 waa'hid w'eshreen
1ÑÑ me ya
128 When you see an apostrophe (') in the Arabic, this means that you pronounce the letter after it with a little puff of air.