Sites of interest
The souk is just a stone’s throw from Dar Darma. Marrakesh has one of the largest souks in the world, with an exceptional array of little stores, craft workshops, small trading spots and highly appealing cafés. Do not miss out on a visit.
Ben Youssef Madrasa: This Islamic college is one of the finest examples of traditional architecture in the city and it is only a few hundred metres from Dar Darma. It is a spellbinding place that is open to the public. The building surrounds a central patio and contains a large number of rooms where students lived and studied the Koran.
Marrakesh Museum: Located just a short distance from the Islamic college, the museum contains ethnic and archaeological finds, historical documents and items associated with the traditions and culture of Morocco.
Jemaa el-Fna Square: Colourful and unique. It is the centre of the city and has been named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Every day this open-air stage plays host to musicians, acrobats, singing storytellers, improvised acting and fruit sellers. It comes to life once again in the evening as countless stalls are converted into traditional restaurants.
Koutoubia Mosque: A short distance from Jemaa el-Fna Square is the biggest mosque in Marrakesh. The imposing minaret that towers above it is an iconic landmark in the city.
Bahia Palace: This is a fine example of a 19th century residence that is located in the Medina. Abu Ahmed, the vizier of Marrakesh, had it built to house his family, wives and concubines. The structure is beautiful, as are the decorations and the gardens.
Saadian Tombs: Refined decorations embellish the traditional architecture of these tombs, which are found near the Kasbah Mosque.
Beautiful rosemary hedges and orange trees can be found in the garden.
Majorelle Garden: This was the garden of Yves Saint Laurent’s first home in the city. It is a delightful haven of greenery and relaxation in the new town, with a vast selection of African plants. There is a memorial to YSL, who asked for his ashes to be scattered here, and a little museum with photographs and documents that offer a glimpse into the past.
El Badi Palace: This was an imperial residence during the reign of the Saadian dynasty that was built in the 16th century. Its fascinating ruins are all that remain today.
Menara: These vast gardens are located just outside the city, on the way to the airport. Olive groves stretch as far as the eye can see around a huge basin of water and an elegant (now disused) pavilion which were built by ancient rulers who came here to cool off during the hottest months of the year. Local families still flock to the gardens for the same reason on summer weekends.
A drink in the city
The city is teeming with traditional and highly contemporary cafés and bars. Below are a few that you might like to visit.
Café de la Poste: A place in the new town with a colonial atmosphere. It serves its own take on international and Moroccan cuisine and drinks.
It is popular with foreigners and artistic residents of Marrakesh.
Le Comptoir: A busy, modern setting. The French and Moroccan cultures come together in its cuisine, furnishings and music. In the evening there are DJs, musicians and dances from the East that are given a modern vibe.
Dar Cherifa: This is a literary café in the Mouassine area of the Medina. It is situated in an old residence that has been restored with a minimalist style. It organizes regular art exhibitions and small traditional music concerts.
Café de France: It has one of the most famous terraces in Marrakesh, which looks out over Jemaa el-Fna Square. Although it is very touristy and its standards have dropped slightly, it is still one of the best places to enjoy a mint tea at sunset.
Café des Epices: This café is on the spices square in the heart of the Medina. It is a good place to take a break while strolling through the souk and enjoy a leisurely drink of tea on the tiny terrace on the top floor.
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