Medina of Marrakesh
The Medina or Almedina of Marrakech is a fortified village that today is the oldest part of the city.
Founded in 1071, it has several impressive monuments and spaces such as the Koutoubia Mosque, the Ben Youssef Madrasah, the Bahia Palace, and the Jemaa El Fna Square. They all deserve to be visited, so we advise you to pin them on a map and visit them.
Attention sometimes the maps in Marrakech may not work very well due to the number of small streets that are not marked/identified.
We decided to stay in a Riad inside the medina, we consider it the best place to feel the true life of the city and get into Moroccan culture.
To experience the city like the locals, nothing better than to get lost in the Souk, a labyrinth of roads, houses, motorcycles and scooters sharing the space with vans, people, donkeys among many other things. Marrakech has the largest Souk Berbere, where they sell and sometimes also manufacture the most varied products, ranging from traditional Berber carpets to modern consumer electronics. Handicrafts occupy a significant part of the population, and their production is mainly for tourists. Here all roads guide to the Djemaa El Fna square, the main square of the medina.
Sun set in the market in Marrakesh
At Djemaa El Fna, Marrakech’s most famous square, there are plenty of legendary snake charmers and artists making numbers with little monkeys to get some coins, restaurants and all sorts of spices, and even horses with chariots to take us to see the city. Everyone wants to get money from the tourists, so we have to be very careful because they will try everything to receive some money. This square has infinite life, for us, it is a magical place. This place gets another perspective from above, so we decide had dinner one of the nights in the first floor of a restaurant around the square and enjoy the sunset, it was a wonderful moment and we captured everything in one time-lapse.
Important: Do not forget! Never buy anything for the first price requested by the merchant, it is essential to negotiate because traders are offended if we do not do it, they even inflate prices by more than 300% on the price they really want for the product, just to make us negotiate the price. Most of the time they were given tea, asked to sit, and there they would negotiate with us, writing everything in a notebook, until the sale was completed.
Some fabric in a store inside the Marrakesh Medina
It’s normal to hear as we walk through the souk, all sorts of languages. Although they speak Arabic and French, they all speak basic English and yet the merchants try to learn more words in other languages to attract more tourists with this ” trick ”.The shops in the Souk close at dusk and still be more confusing to find the exit of this labyrinth. We got lost there at night after the shops close and I must confess that I felt fear, not because it is unsafe, but because it is dark, with small streets and people sleeping in the street. When we were lost, we walked without stopping without finding the exit for about 20 minutes, until we went to Djemaa El Fna, after all, it was another great adventure.
People walking in Marrakesh
Fortunately, Marrakesh is a safe city, any kind of crime or threat against tourists is a reason for immediate arrest if the police know, this is a rule that King Mohammed VI made very clear to the population, people have a great respect and adoration to his King. Tourists like us are sometimes approached to get information in return for some money, it’s also happened to us, but if someone feels uncomfortable, just need to say that they will call the police that everything is over.
For us, the true brilliance of Marrakech is within the medina.