Archive for the ‘Things To Do In Marrakech’ Category

Top Walks Around Marrakech

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

Walking around Marrakech is one of the best means of exploring the city’s many delights (horse-drawn carriage rides being another). And easy as it is to get lost in the Medina, temporary loss of one’s bearings actually adds to the excitement of the sensory overload that characterises the bustling souks.

Take time to look at the quirky details of many building facades; notice how no two windows or doors are exactly the same; note how the low, covered walkways and door frames seem to have been designed for a shorter generation. These are just some of the features that make walking through Marrakech a fascinating experience.

Top City Walks

Here are five of the most popular walks, each taking in different aspects of the city in both the ancient medina and its modern counterpart.

• Rue Semmarine – one of the Medina’s main arteries, this one embodies the essence of the souks’ frenetic energy. Here, bazaar booths packed with every imaginable (and some unimaginable) objects strike you from every angle. (more…)

May – early summer in Marrakech and beyond

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016

With at least 10 hours of sunshine per day, only 20 mm of rainfall (typically falling over just 3 days) and temperatures at an average 21˚c (from night time 14˚c to daily highs around 27˚c), the month of May really kicks off summer, contrasting markedly with the cooler climate of most of northern Europe. Once again, tourists have an array of festivals to enjoy.

Kelaa-des-Mgouna Rose Festival, 2nd Weekend in May

Celebrating the coming into flower of Marrakech’s thousands of roses, the Rose Festival takes place over two days within the souk area of Kelaa-des-Mgouna, the desert town location of the largest of Morocco’s rose water distillery plants. Festivities include a parade of colourful, flower-decorated floats accompanied by traditional Berber music, dancing, singing and sword-juggling displays; in addition, there is the election and crowning of this year’s Rose Queen and sale of lots of delicious local food. Camel rides and excursions to the lovely Valley of Roses are also available.

Gnaoua World Music Festival, 12/05/2016 -15/05/2016

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Events to enjoy in April in Marrakech and Morocco

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

Well into the Moroccan springtime, April sees around 10 hours of daily sunshine, very little rain (barely 30 mm throughout the entire month, most of it falling over just a few days) and average temperatures hovering around 18˚ C (lows of 12˚ C and highs of 24˚ C). At this time of year the tourist season is in full swing, as reflected by the number of festivals and other events.

Grand Prix Hassan II, 04/04/2016 – 10/04/2016

One of the main April events is the Grand Prix Hassan II tennis tournament. Held in nearby Casablanca, this clay court ATP World Tour competition, the 32nd, will once again see the attendance of some of the world’s top professionals.

Marathon des Sables, 08.04.2016 – 18/04/2016 

April is also the month of the world renowned ‘Marathon des Sables’, the ‘Sand Marathon’ which attracts hundreds of runners each year to a unique challenge over 150 miles of desert terrain in 6 gruelling stages:

  • IRHS to Khermou, 18.02 miles/29 km
  • Khermou to Jebel El Otfal, 22.06 miles/35.5 km
  • Jebel El Otfal to Taourirt Mouchanne, 24.85 miles/40 km
  • Taourirt Mouchanne to Oued El Jdaid, 51.08 miles/82.2 km
  • Oued El Jdaid to Erg Znaigui, 26.22 miles/42.2 km
  • Erg Znaigui to Merzouga, 13.11 miles/21.1 km

Alwan’Art, 15/04/2016 – 19/04/2016

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Marrakesh Museum of Photography

Monday, February 15th, 2016

Situated at 46 Rue Ahal Fassi, the Marrakech Museum of Photography is a little gem of a visitor attraction albeit one that is too often overlooked by tourists due to its slightly out of the way location on one of the narrow streets of the northern Marrakech medina.

About the Marrakech Museum of Photography

First opened to the public in 2009, this privately owned museum is designed to display the extraordinary diversity of Morocco as recorded by famous and not-so-famous visitors to the city from the beginnings of photography right up to modern times. As an ever-growing archive on Marrakech it also represents a history of ‘architecture and ideas’

The Collection

The museum’s collection of treasures includes photographs (some of which date back to the 1870s), postcards and glass plates, maps, newspapers and documentaries. In addition, visitors can arrange visits to the museum’s library, request to see films and/or organise conferences.

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The Marrakech International Marathon

Monday, January 4th, 2016

Marrakech International Marathon 2016, in January, is one of the world’s most prestigious and an important tourist attraction. Hosted in Marrakech under the patronage of King Mohammed VI, this year’s race, the 26th edition of the event, is preceded on the 30th by a ‘Welcome Race’ and the ‘Kids’ Race’ at 10:00 and 10:30 respectively (from the Marathon Village). 

 Main Races

The starting point for the two main events, the half marathon and marathon itself, is on Menara Avenue on the 31st January at 08:00 and 09:30 respectively.

The Circuit

Predominantly flat (with some modest inclines in the Palmeraie district) and thus one of the fastest, the IAAF-approved circuit covers the regulation 42.2 km (marathon) and 21.1km (half marathon) taking participants and spectators along city ramparts and some of the most attractive parts of the city’s residential areas, through the Menara and Agdal Gardens, past ancient monuments s well as olive and orange groves.

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January 2016 in Marrakech

Monday, December 21st, 2015

While winter in much of the northern hemisphere is characterised by cold, wet and often snowy conditions the climate of southern Morocco is comparatively mild, indeed pleasantly warm during a large part of each day. Average maximum daily temperatures hover around 18° (warm enough to enjoy relaxing by the pool) while night time lows are seldom below 5°. Taken together with some 7 hours of sunshine per day and pretty modest rainfall (25 mm), January can be a great month to visit Marrakech if you fancy avoiding the crowds while profiting from low season prices.

January Events

Proclamation of Independence – January 11th is Morocco’s Independence Day when the nation marks the formal separation from colonial France in 1956. Some businesses will be closed on this day in observation of this national holiday

Aid al-Mawlid – 24th January is the birthday of the prophet Mohammad. Mosques are busy, of course but, again, many businesses will be closed.

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Arsat Moulay Abdeslam Cyber Park, Marrakech

Monday, December 7th, 2015

Located in the heart of Marrakech, alongside Avenue Mohamed V, the main commercial thoroughfare, this eight-hectare historic garden (or arsa) was originally created for Moulay Abdesalam, an 18th century prince, poet, writer, scholar and diplomat.

Transformation of a Garden

In 1920, under the French protectorate, the garden was extended although, during subsequent years, it gradually fell into disrepair. At the beginning of the 21st Century, the Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection decided to restore the garden and, while preserving the main features of its historical heritage, create a space showcasing the role in the modern world of advanced communications technologies.

The People and Work Involved

With the help of Jean-Charles Mazet (landscape artist) and Karim El Achak (architect), and with contributions from Maroc Telecom and various IT companies, work to restore and develop the park was started in late 2003. Some eighteen months later, following pruning of 450 mature trees, the planting of 200 palms, 680 orange, lemon and other trees and some 500 shrubs, the ‘new look’ Arsat Moulay Abdeslam garden was finally reopened to the public as a cyber park in February 2005.

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Ali Ben Youssef Medersa – A Must for Fans of Historic Architecture

Saturday, November 21st, 2015

A splendid place to admire traditional Moroccan architecture while unwinding from the hustle and bustle of the city, the Ali Ben Youssef medersa is a must for anyone interested in art, architecture and Islamic culture in general. A medersa, an intricately decorated school building as impressive in its way as any European university, is critical to the culture of Muslims.

A Brief History

Founded in the 14th Century by Abu al-Hassan, the then ruling Marinid Sultan, the Ali Ben Youssef Medersa is Morocco’s largest madrasa. In 1565, a reconstruction of the original building ordered by Abdallah al-Ghalib (Saadian Sultan 1557 to 1574) was completed. Restored again in 1950 before being closed to both the general public and the faithful in 1960, the madrasa was finally reopened to in 1982 following further restoration work to permit visitors to experience this exquisite master-piece of Moroccan architecture and art.

The Madersa

Featuring 130 dormitory cells for students clustered around a richly carved courtyard with its central rectangular pool and two bronze fountains, Ali Ben Youssef Medersa was one of North Africa’s largest theological colleges and was home to perhaps as many as 900 students at a time.

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December 2015 Events in Marrakech

Saturday, November 7th, 2015

One of the year’s cooler months, December in Marrakech is still very pleasant, at least by comparison with much of the rest of the northern hemisphere. Daily temperatures range between lows of 9 degrees to highs of around 20 and you can reckon on around 7 hours of sunshine every day. There are several events and other attractions in Marrakech in December, the International Film Festival being the most notable.

International Film Festival – this year marks the 15th edition of this increasingly popular international event taking place from the 4th – 12th December, the jury president this year being Francis Ford Coppola. An important centre of film production over many decades, Morocco has welcomed some of the top names in the industry in recent years, not least Ridley Scott and Martin Scorsese, Orson Wells and David Lean having made films here as far back as the sixties. Following the special tribute last year to Japanese cinema, this year’s festival celebrates Canada’s contribution to the film industry. As usual, several films will be screened on the main square (Jemaa el Fna) in the centre of town, as well as other venues.

New Year’s Eve – although not an official national holiday in a Muslim country like Morocco, which operates to the Islamic as opposed to Gregorian calendar, New Year is celebrated widely, as it is in most major, non-Christian tourist destinations, especially in hotels. At Les Borjs de la Kasbah a gastronomic gala dinner is laid on for guests preceded by cocktails around the pool. The hotel’s main patio becomes a tented dining venue for the evening with a variety of entertainment including music and belly dancing, fire eating display and magic performances at table. After midnight a disc jockey takes over as revellers dance their way into the wee small hours.

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Marrakech in November – Events and Other Things to Do

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

With daily temperatures ranging between 11 and 23 degrees, November in Marrakech is very pleasant. Visitors can expect over seven hours of sunshine and little, if any rain (31mm per month). A number of events at this time of year are worthy of note:

November Events in Marrakech

The two main events in Marrakech during November are the Eid Al Massira Al Khadra on the 6th and Eid Al Istiqulal on the 18th.

Eid Al Massira Al Khadra, the ‘Green March’ Anniversary, commemorates the march of 27,000 soldiers and approximately 350,000 unarmed Moroccans to the Western Sahara’s border on the 6th of November 1975. Identifying with Islam through choice of the symbolic colour green and directed by King Hassan II, the march was undertaken to call for the return of the territory to Morocco.

Marked by varying festivities throughout the country, Eid Al Istiqulal is Morocco’s Independence Day, a National Holiday commemorating the return of King Mohammed from his exile in Madagascar and the subsequent declaration of independence from both France and Spain on this day in 1956.

Other Marrakech Events in November

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