Archive for the ‘Marrakech Tourist Attractions’ Category

The fashion boutiques of Marrakech – Where to shop and what to wear in Marrakech

Saturday, December 15th, 2012

Marrakech is well known as a shopper’s paradise! Haggling in the labyrinthine souks with their myriad of coloured slippers, hand-stitched leather bags and woven baskets is still an essential part of every Moroccan holiday.

However, these days there are plenty of other, more sophisticated boutique shops that blend traditional styles with modern Western couture, one reason no doubt why stars like  Gwyneth Paltrow and Sarah Jessica Parker have been seen recently in the elegant stores of Marrakech, a number of which are listed below.

What to Wear in Marrakech

A long silky kaftan or loose top and harem-style trousers would be most appropriate for ladies relaxing in their riads or shopping in the medina where it’s best to ensure that one is suitably covered, this being a Muslim country. Leave heels at home and opt for sensible walking shoes or jewelled sandals for the evening.

A Bedouin tunic is an ideal purchase when in Marrakech. Go for full length, covered in bright pom-poms and embroidery, perfect for throwing over your bikini.

(more…)

A brief history of the films of Marrakech and Morocco

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

The first film shot in Marrakech was by French pioneer Louis Lumière in 1897. Some Hollywood ‘big hitters’ followed after the second war, notably Orson Welles who filmed ‘Othello’ in Marrakech and Essaouira in 1949 (Palme d’Or winner) and David Lean, who shot desert scenes for ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ in 1962.

 Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Man Who Knew Too Much’ was also set in Marrakech. The opening scenes of the film were filmed in the souks and the main square, Jemaa el Fna, a location which has changed little since!

Hitchcock fell in love with Marrakech and spent a considerable amount of time here where he wrote the screenplay for ‘The Birds’ in Marrakech.

British agent 007 also made it to Marrakech, with Timothy Dalton playing Bond in ‘The Living Daylights’ in 1987.

Martin Scorsese was so impressed with the filmic qualities of Marrakech, notably the light, that he filmed two major motion pictures here, ‘The Last Temptation of Christ’ in 1988 followed by ‘Kundun’ in 1997.

(more…)

Skiing in Marrakech

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Skiing in Marrakech?! Well not in Marrakech, exactly, but from a base in Marrakech, only a short hop away. You might be forgiven for questioning the viability of skiing in Africa yet the High Atlas Mountains, about 90 minutes south of Marrakech, offer a skiing experience like no other.

There is a number of small ski resorts in the Atlas, most of them unsophisticated by European standards and with limited infrastructure but well worth checking out: Ifrane, Djebel Bou Volane and Mischliffen in the Middle Atlas, Mount Tidiquin in the Ketama district and best of all, Oukaïmeden in the High Atlas.

Perched at an altitude of 3000m in the Moroccan High Atlas Mountains, Oukaïmeden touts itself as ‘Africa’s Premier Ski Resort’.

Though many of the tallest peaks of the High Atlas are snow patterned for much of the year the ski season itself is limited to four months (December to March), the best snow being in January and February. Oukaïmeden has North Africa’s highest lift, a fixed-grip double chair to the mountain’s summit where you are treated to a 360º panoramic view.

(more…)

The Music of Marrakech and Morocco

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

Wherever you travel in Morocco you’ll hear music, the basic expression of the country’s folk culture. Traditional Moroccan music is an important part of everyday life, evident at every celebration, and is most often heard at celebrations of births, marriages, funerals, religious gatherings and festivals.

Ancient Berber music can be found in villages of the mountainous regions while in the cities the Arabic tradition is more evident, through instruments and music brought by Arabs from the east and Andalusian Spain.

Since the 1970’s Morocco has spawned indigenous pop (chabbi music), ranging from protest songs to dance music – these are often the sounds you’ll hear throughout Marrakech, in taxis, bus station PA systems and in shops, cafes and restaurants.

Video of musicians in Dejmaa el Fna

Visit any souk and the chances are you’ll find musicians playing. Festivals are best for discovering the wide variety of Moroccan musical styles such as Berber,Gnawa, Jajouka, Chabbi, Griha, Moroccan Rap, Sephardic and Sufi.

(more…)

Marrakech events November & December 2012

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

All year round, Marrakech is a hive of activity and a sensual mix of sounds, scents and scenery. As we like to keep you updated with what is happening in Marrakech on a monthly basis, here are a couple of Marrakech events occurring in November and December 2012.

Marrakech events November 2012

Archery Tournament: 9th -11th November 2012.

Using the theme “Arrow of Friendship”, the ‘3rd Marrakech International Indoor Archery Tournament’ offers something a little different. Archers from all over the world (7 countries were represented by 51 competitors last year) are invited to participate in this unusual event at the Zerktouni Hall, Marrakech, which comprises both an open competition for accomplished archers as well as a cultural programme for all participants.

(more…)

Why you should take a short break in Marrakech

Monday, March 26th, 2012

Set against the backdrop of the High Atlas, snow-capped until late April, historic Marrakech is the gateway to Morocco’s desert region and the Sahara, only a few hours’ drive further south.

Just a three hour flight from northern Europe, Marrakech is an ideal winter sun and short break destination. Here, African, Berber and Arab cultures come together in one exotic, bubbling melting pot.

Enclosed by the high rampart walls of its ancient medina, Marrakech has a rich historical heritage, major landmarks including beautiful ancient buildings and palaces, mosques and squares, well displayed by a number of fascinating museums.

The pulsating heart of traditional Marrakech, the Djemaa el Fna, comes to life at sunset when story tellers, musicians, snake charmers, fire-eaters and acrobats and, not least, scores of street food sellers, compete for the attention of hundreds of tourists and locals alike.

The souks are another unmissable Marrakech experience. Here, one can find just about every product imaginable – from spices and local delicacies (olives, dates and patisseries) to pottery, metal ornaments, jewellery, rugs and leather goods.

(more…)

10 things you need to know about Marrakech

Monday, March 12th, 2012

The wonderfully exotic Moroccan city of Marrakech offers so much as a short holiday destination, from reliable year-round temperatures (ideal from mid February to end April) and mouth-watering local cuisine to fascinating historic sites and other landmarks, from golf on six courses to treks in the Atlas.

Not least, Marrakech is also renowned for the limitless varieties of locally hand-crafted products and souvenirs on sale in its vast network of souks.

Here is a short list of important facts you should know about Marrakech.

1. Widely referred to as the ‘Red City’, Marrakech lies in Morocco’s south western region, within sight of the High Atlas.

2. As with most North African cities, Marrakech has two distinct parts: the old city, or medina, and the modern city which, here, comprises the commercial quarter, Guéliz, and leafy residential district of boulevards known as l’Hivernage.

(more…)

Marrakech Grand Prix

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Fans of motor racing will be interested to learn that a major event will be taking place in Marrakech in March to mark the opening of the FIA 2012 season.

Initially planned for Monza, the event will now be held in Morocco’s ‘pink city’, Marrakech, between 9th and 11th March 2012.

Motor sport enthusiasts will be aware that the Marrakech Grand Prix circuit is the only FIA World Championship track in Africa.

marrakech grand prix

Its location, a short distance from the red city’s legendary rampart walls and with the snow-capped Atlas Mountains as a backdrop, promises to make this into one of the most attractive circuits (taking in the Mohammed VI and Ourika avenues) in the world.

(more…)

What is a hammam?

Friday, January 20th, 2012

What is a hammam? A hammam is a steam bath, a feature of north African societies since Roman times and later refined by the Ottomans into the Turkish bath that is so common today.

The aim, of course, is to wash away dust and grime but, as importantly, to achieve a state of pure relaxation, especially when followed by a soothing massage. A hammam session consists of several stages.

1)     The steam bath itself, often in several rooms, each warmer than the one before. After a while absorbing the full beneficial effect of the steam comes a hot water wash down, followed, eventually, by an envigorating dousing of cold water poured from a wooden bucket!

The Arganier Spa at Les Borjs de la Kasbah

2)     After the bathing comes the gommage when the body is subjected to a vigorous scrub down with black beldi soap made from olives and eucalyptus leaves which is left on the body for around 15 minutes.

(more…)

The Beginners Guide to Marrakech

Monday, December 19th, 2011

To start your Moroccan experience, you must first find a place to stay. There is a huge variety of accommodation in Marrakech and with such a large choice from large luxury hotels down to four to eight roomed riads and modern apartments, finding the right place can be hit and miss.

Our suggestion would be to go for the best of both worlds, i.e. the last word in modern comforts but with plenty of authentic local character added. Les Borjs de la Kasbah is one such, a 5 star luxury boutique hotel in Marrakech, well placed within comfortable walking distance of the centre yet far enough away from its hurly burly to be remarkably peaceful by comparison.

Having found your place to stay you’ll need some suggestions for things to see and do so here’s a short beginner’s guide to visiting Marrakech.

Visit the ancient medina and admire the 13th century walls that surround it. The souk, one of the largest in Morocco, is a tourist’s dream, such is the variety of artefacts and souvenirs you’ll find there. Take an official guide to show you round, with visits to a couple of palaces and museums included.

(more…)