Events and Things to do in Marrakech in January 2017

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

Climate: Marrakech enjoys comparatively mild winters. Average midday temperatures are invariably in the high teens and seldom fall below 3 or 4 ͦ at night. Visitors can expect around 7 or 8 hours of sunshine per day while rainfall is limited to around 25 mm over the month.

So January is not a bad time to visit the Pink City, especially by comparison with much of the northern hemisphere, both for enjoying some sun whilst relaxing beside a pool and for taking in the sights.

Here are some of the festivals, events and things to do in Marrakech during January 2017:

Apart from New Year’s Day, celebrated throughout the city and beyond, January has just one public holiday, on the 11th, commemorating Morocco’s Proclamation of Independence. The anniversary is marked by various festivities in the colourfully decorated streets.

On 12th and 13th January, local Berbers will be celebrating the Amazigh New Year, known locally as Idd n Yennayer. The festival is marked throughout Morocco, principally by song and dance but also in the preparation of delicious couscous. For the best examples of these celebrations one should head for the villages of the Middle-Atlas.

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Hotels in Marrakech with Pools

Thursday, November 10th, 2016

Of many hotels in Marrakech with pools Les Borjs de la Kasbah is considered to be one of the very best. Here’s why.

Les Borjs de la Kasbah Pool

Situated discretely some 25 m from the main patio, the secluded leisure area comprising the pool and spa is located on a site previously occupied by a small riad and an even smaller ‘dar’ (town house). The heated 10 m x 5 m pool is situated at the foot of an imposing renovated watch-tower (borj) and bounded on two sides by a section of the kasbah’s 7m defensive walls. Its depth shelving from one to two metres, the pool has a south-facing terrace for sunbathing on one side (complete with parasols and loungers) and a poolside bar and changing rooms on the other.

Surrounding Facilities

On the pool’s south side, the first floor above the bar is home to the spa, l’Arganier, consisting of of a classic marble-clad, domed hammam, two treatment rooms and a sauna, as well as a rest area. Both treatment rooms and the rest area feature traditional menze (latticed) windows overlooking the sun terrace and pool.

The spa building’s ground floor is occupied by a small pool-side bar serving a broad range of drinks and cocktails, including various non-alcoholic options, and a variety of light meals and snacks prepared in the hotel’s kitchen. Next to the bar, there are two changing rooms with showers and toilets where towels are provided for pool users.

Dress Code

Like most hotels in Marrakech with pools, Les Borjs de la Kasbah has a dress code requesting pool users to restrict themselves to the pool area and not frequent to public spaces (dining room, lounges and patio) in their swimwear or other equally inappropriate attire.

Hotels in Marrakech with Pools

While there are many hotels in Marrakech with pools, especially of the larger resort variety (and very few riads have more than ornamental plunge pools, if that), the seclusion and exclusive nature of the facility at Les Borjs makes it one of the best places to stay from the narrow selection of smaller, upmarket hotels in Marrakech.

Christmas Shopping in Marrakech

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

Fed up with doing your Christmas shopping while trudging through rain and a sludgy excuse for snow from one crowded shop to the next? The souks of Marrakech offer a delightful alternative to your usual Christmas-shopping experience while at the same time affording the opportunity to grab some warming winter sun and top-up on the fading summer tan while relaxing beside the pool of one of the finest riad-hotels Marrakech has to offer.

Christmas Shopping in Marrakech – the Medina

Hidden within towering terracotta walls, Marrakech’s ancient medina is home to some of the world’s most fascinating souks. The Djemaa el Fna, the medina’s beating heart, is packed with huge carts piled high with fresh and dried fruits and vegetables, nuts and exotic spices, pottery and metal goods, henna artists, snake-charmers, musicians much, much more. And at night, especially, food stalls tempt one with deliciously spicy smells, but the real. But for the hidden treasures and most memorable shopping experiences you must head for the Medina’s shadowy alleyways.

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Independence Day in Morocco, a Brief History

Saturday, October 15th, 2016

Visitors to Marrakech in late autumn might like to know that Independence Day (Eid Al Istiqulal), is celebrated on 18th November each year to commemorate the return of King Mohammed V from French-imposed exile in Madagascar and the declaration of Moroccan independence from both France and Spain in 1956.

European Interest and Treaties

European interest in Morocco during the late 1800s sparked conflicts between several imperial powers, notably France and Spain. These conflicts resulted in an international conference (the Algeciras Conference) in 1906 during which the US and European states discussed and subsequently solemnised France’s special interest in Morocco. Following this conference, the 1912 Treaty of Fez declared Morocco a French Protectorate. An agreement signed by France and Spain the same year handed control over Tarfaya, south of the river Draa, and Tangiers in the north, as well as Ifni and Rif on the southwest Atlantic Coast, to Spain.

Rebellion

By the mid-1920s, first signs of rebellion against France and Spain’s colonial rule began to surface but the demand for Moroccan independence only gained real momentum at the end of WWII. In 1944, King Mohammed V, backed by the nationalistic Istiqlal (Independence) Party, pressed Morocco’s demand for complete independence. In response, France exiled the highly revered King Mohammed to Madagascar in 1953, replacing him with the widely opposed Mohammed Ben Aarafa.

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December in Marrakech – dates for your diary

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

Visitors to Marrakech in December can expect, on average, a remarkable 7 hours of sunshine per day. Thus, although one can also expect occasional light rain, albeit only 30 mm per month, daytime temperatures are typically around 19 ͦ  with a night time minimum of around 5 ͦ , another reason, no doubt, why Christmas shoppers are much in evidence at this time of year. Sunshine and shopping apart, here are some other reasons to visit Marrakech in December.

December in Marrakech – religious festival

The 12th of December is the day of ‘Eid Al Mawled’, or ‘Mawlid’, an important religious festival celebrating the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad (born 570 AD). Declared an official holiday by the Ottomans in 1588, it is also a public holiday in Morocco, the day being marked by recitals of Koranic verses and religious lectures.

December in Marrakech – secular Event

The Transnational Moroccan Cinema Conference scheduled to run from the 4th to the 7th of December, is an international symposium seeking to examine the global circulation of film as a cultural and industrial art form, especially those which deal with ethnic communities and experiences of migration and exile.

16th Marrakech International Film Festival

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November in Marrakech 2016– dates for the diary

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

Although temperatures drop significantly to range between 11 and 23 degrees, November is still mild enough (and, compared with northern Europe, also dry) for a relaxing, quiet holiday in Marrakech with an average of seven hours daily sunshine. Furthermore, several sporting events and major international conferences are taking place in Marrakech.

November in Marrakech – Public Holidays

There are no major Islamic religious festivals this month but Morocco celebrates two important public holidays, namely:

Green March Day: November 6th is Green March Day commemorating the date in 1975 when some 350,000 unarmed Moroccans converged on the southern city of Tarfaya to protest against the occupation of the Western Sahara by Spain.

Independence Day: Morocco’s ‘Fete de l’Independence’, Eid Al Istiqulal, is celebrated on the 18th of November to mark the return from exile of King Mohammed and the declaration of independence from France in 1956.

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October 2016 in Marrakech – Dates to Note

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

With an average of 28 degrees, temperatures in Marrakech are appreciably lower than the still very warm 33 degrees of September which is why this is one of the most popular months of the year, not least for the 8 hours of average daily sunshine! At 23mm per month, rainfall is still minimal. Still, rain or shine, there is definitely plenty going on in terms of festivals and events.

October in Marrakech – Religious Festivals

Fatih Muharram. 02.10.2016

The month starts out with Fatih Muharram (or Awal Muharram), the Islamic New Year, on the 2nd of October. Coinciding with the prophet’s journey from Mecca to Medina in 622AD, the day is marked by celebrations less exuberant than those of cultures using different calendars. Here, the New Year is a time for reflection on one’s own mortality and the passing of time, observed through religious meetings, sermons and spiritual singing at mosques and public halls throughout the day.

Ashura, 10/11.10.2016

This Day of Remembrance, observed for different reasons by Shia and Sunni Muslims, is celebrated differently not only in different areas of the world but also from one region of Morocco to the next. What most Ashura celebrations in Morocco have in common, however, is that participants enjoy a sense of solidarity through worship and even humour, collectively. Read the rest of this entry »

Berber Eco-Museum in the Ourika Valley

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

Virtually all of Morocco’s ethnic groups are Berber-Arabs, a fact reflected in much of this exciting city’s architecture and cultural traditions about which much can be learned by visiting the Berber Eco-Museum near Ourika, in the foothills of the High Atlas, some 37 kms south of Marrakech. Located in the pottery village of Tafza, in one of the village kasbahs, the museum is said to be the first Berber museum in Morocco.

What’s on Offer?

Restored using traditional construction techniques, the museum features a permanent collection of rugs and pottery and various other fine examples of Berber culture, and also hosts temporary exhibitions such as “Landscapes and Faces of the High Atlas 1957″, which featured documentaries by humanist photographer and film-maker Daniel Chicault. More than just a historic collection, the museum also offers a research and student centre as well as a variety of activities, including tree planting, village and High Atlas treks, music and pottery courses.

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Jardin Secret in Marrakech – The ‘new’ secret gardens of Marrakech

Friday, July 1st, 2016

Opened to the public in March 2016, this beautiful garden is located in the city’s Mouassine district, on the site of a former Marrakech governor’s residence. A haven of peace that transports you back in time and through history to the Saadian dynasty, the secret garden consisting of two courtyards with lush gardens, fountains and majestic buildings combining botanical diversity and architectural beauty.

Entrance Courtyard 

Evoking Morocco’s colonial approach to garden design, the first courtyard is packed with plants from North and South Africa, the Mediterranean, Australia, Southern California and other regions with climates similar to that of Morocco. Trees in this courtyard were sourced from nurseries in Sicily while a Casablanca nursery supplied the majority of plants. A complex blaze of colour, this scented part of the ‘Jardin Secret’ with its many flowers evokes the Red City’s exoticism and romance.

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Marrakech in July 2016 – Scorching Dates for Your Diary

Monday, June 13th, 2016

With temperatures ranging between 21C and 37C, July is, alongside August, the hottest month of the year in Marrakech, both in terms of the searing dry heat and its popular festivals.

National and Religious Holidays

There are two religious festivals in July, the first of which, Lailat al Kadr, takes place on Friday, July 1st. Commemorating the night on which the Koran was originally revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, this ‘Night of Power’ is considered to be the Muslim year’s holiest event.

Eid al-Fitr

The second, equally important religious festival taking place in July is Eid al-Fitr, which sees Muslims around the world celebrating the end of the month of Ramadan by visiting friends and family and exchanging gifts. There are also numerous parades and street parties.

Eid al Arch

Eid al Arch, the ‘Feast of the Throne’, is a National Holiday marking the succession of King Mohammed VI from his father Hassan II. Held annually on the 30th of July, this day is celebrated with cavalcades (parades or processions on horseback), feasts and fireworks.

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