Marrakesh Things to Do
Marrakesh is becoming more of a popular destination in recent years, and offers unique and colorful attractions to all.
The Medina is encircled by ochre rampart walls which give the city its nickname of “the red city”. These walls, varying between eight to ten meters in height, date back to the 13th century and run for nearly 12 miles. They were constructed from straw and clay using techniques that date back to before the time of Christ, with wooden scaffolds and frames filled with the mixture, much in the way of a modern steel and concrete construction. You can still see the square holes where the wooden frame once protruded, which now serve to allow fresh breezes to pass through into the Medina.
When Marrakesh was founded, and until the French arrived and started building their wide avenues outside the city walls, the Medina was Marrakesh, which is why you will find almost everything of historic and cultural interest behind the pink medieval walls of the Medina.
Compared to the medieval quarters of many cities, this is somewhat bigger, at around 4 kilometers in diameter. It can also be very confusing, with winding covered streets, narrow dead-end alleys, and hundreds of dusty side streets that no car can navigate. Part of the fun can be to get lost and discover the Medina by yourself, but it can also be stressful so get a guide if you don’t feel confident. The key sights in the Medina are the Djemaa el Fna, the Koutoubia Mosque, and the Souks.
An interesting fact about this place is that it was hidden for many years. Mousy Ismail (1672-1727) took power in Marrakesh and destroyed the adjacent Badi Palace. However, superstition probably kept him from destroying the adjacent burial grounds. He sealed up all their entrances instead, except a small obscure gate, and the Saadian Tombs lay hidden and mostly forgotten until 1917, when they were discovered during a French aerial survey.
Les Bains de Kabira offers a convenient alternative to Les Bains de Marrakesh which almost always requires advance booking of a couple of days. There are many hammams in Medina, surely one for every taste!
Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about things to do in Marrakesh.
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