The old city of Marrakesh, or “medina” is separated from the rest of the city (the Gueliz) by this brick wall that spans about 20 kilometers and has 14 entrances. It was a fairly common setup for Arab cities at the time and provided protection much like the castles did for villages in Europe. It’s still where the action is in Marrakesh and the pace inside the walls is intense. There are vendors, shops, cafes, snake charmers, and people everywhere in the hectic medina.
Around 4pm you’ll see the empty market square begin to fill up with barbecue stands. The food is wonderful and cheap (about $3.60 for a meal). Make sure to eat where the locals are (stand #31 is one of those) and get used to hearing all sorts of hooks to get you to eat. The barbecue guys are the most aggressive (yet creative) of the medina.
See More Of Marrakesh
I was staying at the Riad Ghallia inside the medina and was surprised to see the sudden calm right outside of the city walls. The Gueliz actually comes across as bland in comparison to the medina, which rarely slows down. You can see some more of my pictures from around Marrakesh here and if you’re headed there brush up on these 4 common scams of Marrakesh so you can avoid them.
Sounds fascinating- would especially like to be there when they pull out all the barbecue stands! Will forward this one to my friend who is traveling there on Thursday.
There are a several cafes with high terraces where you can enjoy some coffee and watch the square come to life. If you get there around 3 in the afternoon you can see how quickly the stands come up out of nowhere.
Aha, the calm outside the walls seems to be a common trait with some other ‘old, walled cities’ I have lived in – Jerusalem and Akko. The orange color is quite a personality! 🙂
Orange-red is definitely the color of Marrakesh 🙂
I love the color of the wall against the green of the lawn. Sounds like you had a great time there. Marrakesh has been climbing up on my list of places I want to visit now. 🙂
March is a good time to go, the weather is just perfect 🙂
Intense YES! My first trip there I was actually quite scared…so many people, so many pick pockets – I felt like I was in a pin ball machine bouncing around everywhere. However when I came back to Marrakesh 3 weeks later after traveling through the entire country – I was at ease…proving that you just need time to get used to new cultures!
Whenever I would venture out I felt I could hear a “whooosh* sound…from 0-Marrakesh in no time!
Marrakesh really is in a league of its own…it doesn’t compare to any other cities in Morocco. What a beautiful city, and what a beautiful country!
I can still here the sounds of the snake charmers now…yes Essaouira was a completely different city and driving there felt like I wasn’t in the same country at all.
I love the wonderful mud brick adobe walls of these middle eastern cities. And i still recall the buzz of the stunning main square as food vendors rolled out along with fireeaters, snake charmers and all kind of entertainers.
As if the square couldn’t get any more entertaining 4 o’clock rolls around 🙂
Beautiful photo introduction to Marrakesh. Now I must visit.
Great place for photo opportunities, you just have to make sure none of the vendors see you or they’ll ask for some money for a picture!
I’d love to experience that square but I think I’d find it a little intense like Sherry – did you find that there was a hassle factor or did it just wash over you?
The hassle seemed to diminish especially as more tourists arrived. I was there the first week of the season – but it was nice to relax in the Riad and see Essaouira and leave the atmosphere of the medina from time to time. It can get a bit much of you don’t take a break somehow.
I really want to visit this place one day 🙂
If you ever go, I highly recommend the Riad Ghallia. It’s right in the heart of the medina, a unique place to stay.