Before Marrakesh was officially created around 1070 CE, it was inhabited since the Neolithic times by farmers. When it was established, Marrakesh slowly began to grow into a city, but it wasn’t until the 12th century did Marrakesh flourish architecturally—from mosques and palaces to gardens and city walls. For the next few centuries, Marrakesh played a large role in trade, even while it suffered through small revolts and conquests. For most of its existence, Europeans were not allowed inside Marrakesh, but in the 20th century, France colonized Morocco. To this day, there continues to be a lot of French influence—from the food and people to the buildings and culture.
If Marrakesh is on your list of go-to cities, here are a few gems to add to your itinerary.
Hot Air Balloon
One way to see all of Marrakech is via a hot air balloon. Don’t let the fear of heights stop you from experiencing this once-in-a-lifetime event. Waking up before the break of dawn, you’ll be able to watch as the balloons are assembled, then hop into one and sail through the sky while watching the sunrise. Some tours even offer breakfast onboard, while others offer breakfast post-trip.
Although you can find anything and everything in Jemaa el-Fnaa, we recommend checking out Al Nour, a small boutique selling handmade clothing for adults and children, linen and accessories made by handicapped women that have a skill in the arts. You can find unique gifts for yourself and others back home while supporting the lovely women who made them.
The oldest building in Marrakesh is Almoravid Koubba, a small dome structure that was first built in 1117, then refurbished in the 1500s and again in the 1800s. At first, Almoravid Koubba was used as a place for washing and then was turned into a place of prayer. It was once a part of the Almoravid mosque, which no longer exists, making it a historic architectural and cultural piece that has stood the test of time.
There’s something wonderful about going to a spa. Although there are a lot of options, Heritage Spa is a favorite. They offer full-service treatments for your face and body, plus there’s a Turkish bath (hammam) for you to indulge in. The place is small but welcoming and a must-visit if you need to wind down after a day full of adventure.
If you’re looking for something authentic with an atmosphere that will make your jaw drop, make a reservation at Dar Zellij. This place boasts some of the best local cuisines loved by all who venture inside. The decor is cozy, classy and also romantic (but don’t let that stop you from coming here with friends). Dar Zellij is open for lunch and dinner with local musicians playing and entertainment during dinner. Oh, and the service? It’s top-notch.
From souks and palaces to gardens and terraces, Marrakesh is full of hidden gems for you to uncover. If you’re heading to this beautiful city, we hope this guide will help you find some unique things to do while you’re there.
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