Marrakesh — A Moroccan Photoblog

Triggerfish Writing
Travelling Blog
Published in
10 min readJan 9, 2024

Exploring the Enchanting Charms of Marrakesh

Nestled in the heart of Morocco, Marrakesh is a city with vibrant colors, bustling souks, and rich cultural tapestry. This North African gem has long been a magnet for adventurers, artists, and seekers of exotic experiences. Let’s take a photographic stroll through the labyrinthine streets of Marrakesh, exploring its main attractions and immersing ourselves in its captivating culture.

1. Jemaa el-Fnaa Square: The Heartbeat of Marrakesh At the heart of the medina lies Jemaa el-Fnaa, a pulsating square that encapsulates the essence of Marrakesh. By day, it’s a marketplace teeming with snake charmers, storytellers, and local artisans, while by night, it transforms into a lively food haven with aromatic stalls serving traditional Moroccan delicacies. The square is a microcosm of the city’s energy and diversity.

At night Jemaa El Fnaa completely transforms into a food hub with stalls selling local delicacies, street performers and bards telling stories. It is frequented by both locals and tourists. The name Jemaa El Fnaa translates to “assembly of the dead”, referring to public executions on the plaza around 1050 CE. The place is known for its active concentration of traditional activities by storytellers, musicians, and performers

The idea of the UNESCO project Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity came from people concerned about the Jamaa el Fna.

The sights of Jamaa el Fnaa, Marrakesh. Credit Saima Baig (Triggerfish Writing)

2. Koutoubia Mosque: A Soaring Symbol Dominating the skyline with its elegant minaret, the Koutoubia Mosque is a symbol of Marrakesh. Dating back to the 12th century, this masterpiece of Almohad architecture stands as a testament to the city’s rich history. Visitors can admire the mosque’s intricate details and explore the surrounding gardens for a serene escape from the urban hustle.

This towering landmark in Marrakesh, boasts the title of the city’s largest mosque. Built in 1158 after an initial construction in 1147, it stands as a testament to Almohad architecture and Moroccan mosque design.

Its soaring minaret, reaching 77 meters (253 ft) into the sky, is adorned with intricate geometric arches and crowned with a gleaming spire and metal orbs. This iconic landmark likely inspired other structures like the Giralda of Seville and the Hassan Tower of Rabat.

The mosque’s name, “Koutoubia,” hints at its past. Derived from the Arabic word for “booksellers,” it reflects the bustling book trade once thriving in the nearby souk. While the vendors may be gone, the Koutoubia Mosque remains a majestic symbol of Marrakesh.

Koutabia Mosque Credit Saima Baig (Triggerfish Writing)

3. The Ben Youssef Madrasa is an Islamic madrasa (college) in Marrakesh, Morocco. Functioning today as a historical site, the Ben Youssef Madrasa was the largest Islamic college in the Maghreb at its height. The madrasa is named after the adjacent Ben Youssef Mosque built by the Almoravid Sultan Ali ibn Yusuf in the early 12th century, and was commissioned by the Saadian Sultan Abdallah al-Ghalib in the 16th century.

Ben Yousuf Madrassah Credit Saima Baig (Triggerfish Writing)

4. Souks and Medina: Shopping Extravaganza No visit to Marrakesh is complete without a foray into its bustling souks and medina. Lose yourself in the narrow alleys filled with aromatic spices, intricately woven textiles, and handcrafted ceramics. From the vibrant hues of the dyers’ souk to the aromatic scents of the spice market, each corner offers a sensory journey through Morocco’s rich artisanal heritage.

Credit Saima Baig (Triggerfish Writing)

5. The Saadian Tombs: Hidden Treasures Tucked away in the heart of the Kasbah, the Saadian Tombs are a historical marvel discovered in 1917. Dating back to the 16th century, these tombs house the remains of members of the Saadian dynasty. Intricately decorated with stunning tilework and carvings, the tombs provide a fascinating glimpse into Morocco’s royal past.

Saadian Tombs Credit Saima Baig (Triggerfish Writing)

6. Bahia Palace: This glorious palace is a mid to late 19th-century palace in Marrakesh. It is a mid to late 19th-century palace first begun by Si Musa, grand vizier of Alaouite sultan Muhammad ibn Abd al-Rahman, in 1859 and then continued and expanded by his son Si Ba Ahmed ibn Musa, grand vizier of Sultan Moulay Abdelaziz between 1894 and 1900. Today, it is a well-known historic monument and tourist attraction in the city. Si Musa was descended from a family of black slaves, which served the Moroccan royal government and reached the highest offices in the country. He was first hajib (similar to a chamberlain) then grand vizier under Muhammad ibn Abd al-Rahman, who reigned from 1859 to 1873.

Bahia Palace Credit Saima Baig (Triggerfish Writing)

Cultural Aspects and the Atlas Mountains: A Tapestry of Traditions Marrakesh is a melting pot of cultures, blending Arab, Berber, and French influences. The city’s architecture, cuisine, and traditions reflect this rich tapestry, creating a unique and immersive experience for visitors. Whether sipping mint tea in a traditional riad or witnessing a mesmerizing display of belly dancing, Marrakesh invites you to embrace its diverse cultural heritage.

Finally, the Atlas Mountaibs are breathtaking and full of biodiversity.

Marrakesh certainly is a city that captivates the senses, offering a kaleidoscope of colors, flavors, and traditions. With its historic landmarks, vibrant markets, and welcoming atmosphere, Marrakesh stands as a testament to Morocco’s enduring allure. Explore its winding streets, engage with its warm-hearted locals, and let Marrakesh weave its enchanting spell on you.

Credit Saima Baig (Triggerfish Writing)

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Originally published at https://www.360onhistory.com on January 9, 2024.

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Triggerfish Writing
Travelling Blog

I write on science, history, nature, climate change, feminism, religion & politics. My members only stories on science & history are free on 360onhistory.com.