Tue, January 12th, 2010 - By

Spotlight on Marrakech


Marrakech

One of Morocco’s four Imperial Cities, the ‘medina’ or old town is surrounded by walls set with lookout towers and ramparts. Within these walls are a maze of densely packed houses, narrow winding streets, countless alleyways, patios and courtyards.

Easy access – With a flight time of approx 3hrs 30mins couple with the growing number of low-cost airlines flying here, make Marrakech ideal for a quick getaway.

Authentic bedroom found in a Riad

Authentic bedroom found in a Riad

Accommodation – The choice of hotels is great and all budgets and tastes are catered for here; ranging from simple hotels to five star resorts. For an authentic taste of Morocco, you could choose to stay in a Riad, these converted ancient houses offer great service amongst traditional architecture and décor.

Attractions – Most of the tourist sites are within the Medina and exploring its labyrinth of narrow streets is a must. At the heart of the citadel is the Koutoubia Mosque, built in 1162, it’s the largest building in the city, though only Muslims are allowed inside the mosques in Morocco.

The Djemaa El Fna square comes alive at night

The Djemaa El Fna square comes alive at night

Jema El Fna – The city’s major attraction is it’s main square, by day its home to stalls, water sellers and snake charmers and by night food stalls offer grilled food and other local specialities as well as story and fortune tellers, magicians, Henna artists and dancers.

El Bahia Palace – Still a functioning royal residence, the palace was built in the late 19th century and has dozens of rooms open to the public.

Sa’adian Tombs – Only recently discovered and restored in 1917, these richly decorated rooms are the resting place of some of the local Saadian Sultans.

Leather slippers available in most colours

Leather slippers available in most colours

Souks – The main souks are found through an arch to the north of the Jemaa el Fna, each section has its own specialty selling everything from locally made crafts, silks, carpets and leather to teas, herbs and spices.

FACTS: Moroccan Dirhams can only be obtained in Morocco. Foreign currency and traveller’s cheques can be exchanged at official bureau de change only (identified by a golden sign). There is no commission charge and visitors are issued with a receipt which must be kept in order to exchange Moroccan currency back upon departure.

Passports MUST be valid for at least six months beyond the date of entry into Morocco.

The alternative way to travel

The alternative way to travel

Getting around – The best way to get around Marrakech is by foot, particularly in the Medina and the souks, for attractions outside the medina taxis are plentiful, cheap and most convenient way to get about. There are two types of taxis; Grand taxis which are usually old Mercedes can carry up to six people for a fixed fare on specific routes and are available from several pick up points or, Petit taxis can be hailed down, are smaller, more expensive and go anywhere.

Posted : Tuesday, January 12th, 2010 at 10:10
Category : Spotlight
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