Tourist attractions in Marrakech – Tiskiwin Museum

Monday, July 14th, 2014

Situated on Rue de la Bahia, between the Dar Si Said and Bahia palaces, the Tiskiwin Museum is one of the most fascinating tourist attractions in Marrakech. The museum was created by Dutch anthropologist Bert Flint, a North African Art collector who filled his museum with artefacts from Morocco, Mali, the Sahara, sub Sahara and neighbouring regions.

 

The Museum

Without doubt one of the most fascinating museums and tourist attractions in Marrakech, the Maison Tiskiwin as it is commonly known, is located in a beautifully restored house exemplifying Hispanic-Moorish style. An architectural jewel in its own right, the museum showcases a colourful array of North African art and crafts chronicling the vibrant cultural history of the region.

Woodwork and Zellij

Even those not specifically interested in the origins of the displayed artefacts will stop to marvel at the elaborate, intricate designs of the woodwork and zellij (terracotta tiling) evident throughout the museum. Exceptionally beautiful, this visually striking artwork provokes admiration for the skill of the craftsmen who created it.

The Collection

Amassed by Bert Flint since arriving in the city in 1957, the collection is organised, room by room, into a geographically themed exhibition. Read the rest of this entry »

Take a daytrip from Marrakech to Ouirgane

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

The pretty little village of Ouirgane (pronounced ‘Weer-gan’) is a Berber settlement situated in the foothills of the High Atlas, on the edge of the Toubkal National Park, some 90 minutes from Marrakech.

The Magic of Ouirgane

Surrounded by pine forests, red-earth hills and splendid greenery, Ouirgane is a great place for mountain biking or hiking trips; horse riding, bird watching and trekking in the national park are also popular. Offering magnificent views over the Toubkal massif, the village is located in a valley on the Oued (river) Nfis and is particularly delightful in spring when the almond trees are in blossom adding breathtaking beauty to the rural scene.

 Nearby Attractions

In addition to the attractions of the national park itself, Ouirgane lies just a few miles from the sanctuaries of Rabi Haim ben Diwan and Moulay Brahim Muslim, close to the villages of Anraz and Asni, 3 km and 15 km, respectively, from Ouirgane itself.

Another well-known village is Imlil, at the foot of Mount Toubkal, the starting point for treks up to the mountain summits with spectacular views en-route.

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Places to visit in Marrakech – Agdal Gardens, the ‘walled Meadow’ of Marrakech

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

Situated close to the Menara Gardens and the Marrakech medina, the Agdal Gardens were created by the city founder, Abd al-Mu’min (1130 to 1163), of the Almohad dynasty who also undertook many of the city’s most significant building projects. The gardens, rejuvenated during the Saadien dynasty, were enlarged during Moulay Abderrahmane’s reign in the 19th Century.

Agdal Gardens

The name of the gardens is derived from a Berber word meaning ‘walled meadow.’ Adjacent to the southern edge of the medina, the Agdal Gardens, or orchards, covering an area of approximately 700 acres, were created to function both as the caliph’s private pleasure garden and for the production of fruit.

The Gardens

Featuring rectangular orchards planted with apricot, fig, lemon, orange and pomegranate trees each linked by walkways lined with olive-trees, the gardens are irrigated by water channelled via an extensive khettara (underground network of ditches and channels) from the Ourika Valley.

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Places to visit in Morocco – the Gnaoua Music Festival, Essaouira

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

The picturesque coastal town of Essaouira may be around three hours from Marrakech but scheduling time for a visit to the four-day Gnaoua Music Festival (12th-15th June) is well worthwhile.

A good, four or five times daily coach service to Essaouira is operated by Supratours from Marrakech (behind the rail station) at a cost of 75 dhs, single.

Gnaoua Music

Combining traditional music, acrobatic dancing and ritual poetry, Gnaoua music originates from sub-Saharan Africa, although it has gradually evolved to incorporate African Islamic and Berber spiritual themes and rhythms.

The Festival

In addition to artists from Essaouira itself and Marrakech, the Gnaoua festival also showcases contemporary world music performed by pop, jazz and rock artists from across the world. Dozens of free concerts can be attended at the festival’s two main stages, one of which will be on the central Place Moulay Hassan, yards from the seawall.

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Events in Morocco May to July 2014

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

In virtually every region of Morocco religious and cultural festivals are staged throughout the year, June and July, despite the heat, being no exception.

June

The Mawazine Festival in the capital, Rabat, comprises street entertainment, art exhibitions and concerts between 30th May to 7th June 2014.

A week or two later in the ancient city of Fes, one of the most highly regarded of all events in Morocco is the annual Festival of Sacred Music presenting a variety of traditional music and dance performed by some of the world’s foremost musicians and entertainers. The event is scheduled to take place from 13th to 21st June 2014.

The Gnaoua Music Festival (Essaouira, 12th to 15th June) focuses on traditional Gnaoua music but also features contemporary world music (pop, jazz, and rock) performed by musicians from around the world. This year’s artists are expected to include 150 international and 250 Moroccan artists. Concerts at the event’s two main stages are free of charge.

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‘Ludiparc’ – a Marrakech Adventure Park Kids will Love

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

For younger kids even the most fascinating cultural and architectural sites will soon lose their interest. We recently wrote about four recreational attractions for kids in Marrakech  and here’s another one likely to meet with their approval.

Ludiparc Marrakech

A day out at ‘Ludiparc’, an adventure theme park located on the Route de Fes, just 15 minutes from central Marrakech, is guaranteed to restore family harmony and have the kids squealing with delight in no time.

Set in a location patterned with a series of small lakes, Ludiparc comprises a series of well run indoor and outdoor play areas. There is also a café/restaurant on site as well as other food outlets. Attractions include: Read the rest of this entry »

The Marrakech Museum of Moroccan Art – Musée Dar Si Said

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

Located in a 19th century palace, the Musée Dar Si Said is regarded as one of Morocco’s most eloquent tributes to the skills of its master craftsmen.

Surrounding a splendid courtyard filled with shady cypress trees, flowers, a fountain and gazebo, the museum’s exhibition rooms are filled with a wealth of items showcasing some of the finest examples of Morocco’s rich arts and crafts heritage.

Treasures to be discovered

Some of the most noteworthy items to be admired at the Musée Dar Si Said include a chest, dating from around 1000 AD, heavy silver Berber headdresses and striking High Atlas carpets in innumerable shades of purple. Other items include jewellery, wedding costumes, pottery, leather articles and rugs.

Throughout the museum visitors can see extraordinary mosaics, stucco artefacts and beautifully carved cedar doors embellished with elaborate talismans believed to ward off the evil eye.

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Exchange Rates Favour Morocco

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Having risen against most currencies during 2013, the Moroccan Dirham (MAD) has eased by some 8% during the past few months and is currently fluctuating at around MAD 13.45* to the pound sterling and MAD 11.25* to the euro; holidays in Morocco are thus even better value, with spending money going that much further.

Cost of dining in Marrakech

Take, for example, a restaurant meal for two. Whilst a fine dining experience (and there is no shortage of opportunities for experiencing the very best of European and Moroccan cuisine) will vary between MAD 600 and 800 a meal at a midrange restaurant will average around MAD 400; if that’s not reasonable enough a street food experience can be yours for less than MAD 100!

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Marrakech to host 1st round of Auto GP World Series 2014

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Marrakech is once again the venue for an exciting motor racing event as it hosts round 1 of this year’s Auto GP World Series. Formerly the Euro Series 3000, or Euro Formula 3000 event, the race takes place on the Marrakech Street Circuit (Circuit Moulay el Hassan) over the weekend of 12/13 April 2014.

This is the fifth tour in the series first run in 1999. Previously, only cars with the Lola F 3000 chassis were raced but in 2009 A1 Grand Prix cars were admitted, taking over from Lola completely in 2010 when the race’s name was changed to Auto GP World Series.

There are eight rounds in all, each held in a different, mainly European location.

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Marathon des Sables 2014 – The toughest footrace on Earth

While the ‘Marathon des Sables’ is not directly associated with Marrakech (it takes place beyond the Atlas in the Souss-Massa-Draa area close to Ouarzazate) it has become a major annual event in Morocco and visitors to Marrakech may well wish to catch at least part of it (4 to 14th April), perhaps as part of an excursion.

The Sand Marathon

Rated one of the most gruelling foot races on the planet, the ‘Marathon des Sables’ attracts around 350 participants from all over the world, elite runners as well as amateurs, entered both in teams and individually.

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