Marrakech Weekend Breaks

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Weekend Breaks to Marrakech

Planning a short break to Marrakech? Check out Travel Library's recommended Top 10 Things To Do in Marrakech. It's a perfect companion for weekend city breaks to Marrakech. Once you've been you can add your own tips and suggestions to help other visitors.

Palais el- Badia

Take a petit taxi to this palace situated in the Rue Berrima. Buit for Ahmed el- Mansour "the Golden" in the beginning of the 16 century this once was a magnificently luxurious palace, complete with Italian marble, gold leaf walls and ceilings. Unfortunately Moulay Ismail neatly swiped all the decor and materials to furnish his own Kasbah in the city of Meknes so all that remains of the Golden's palace are the solid stone walls.

Luckily this is not the end of the story as each year in June the ruins of the el Badia palace provide a suitably royal setting for the national festival of Folklore and popular art. Local folklore and culture is showplaced here in the form of bejewelled costumed performers with their music, dance and songs.

Petit taxis can be hired in Gueliz (Avenue Mohammed V) and are perfect for short journeys around town.

La Mamounia Hotel

on’t loose your poise and trip on the steps of this super-magnificent hotel that has seen the likes of Winston Churchill, Orson Wells and President Nixon puffing their cigars in the foyer. The hotel is set in parklike gardens which spread over a massive area of 32 acres and which was established in the 18th century. If you can't afford a room, don't despair, perhaps you can sip an afternoon drink in the garden or on the terrace, or enjoy a meal in one of the top notch restaurants.

For extra information go to www.mamounia.com

Place Jemaa el-Fna

The heart of Marrakech beats in this wonderful square situated east of Gueliz. Declared a World Heritage Site this is where the visitor can experience traditional Moroccon in all its vibrant colour. The site of all kinds of events such as the beheading of criminals in the past, walking around this area is now a wonderful way to spend an evening. The market is alive with tradesmen and fruitstalls in the morning, but we recommend you wander around after sunset to take in the sights. Magicians, snake charmers and the sound of musicians and other masters of medieval entertainment will amuse you, while the aromas of the scores of food stalls wafting in the air will tantilise your tastebuds. Try delicacies such as sheep's head and snails, or for the more conservative eater, skewered meat or fresh grilled fish.

Dar Si Said Museum

This beautifully decorated palace, now a museum, was built by Si Said ben Moussa and features intricate tilework, plasterwork and a Andalusian garden with the traditional pavilion and fountain. The reception room is a Moorish treasuretrove of design and does ample justice to the palace. Displays are arranged thematically and include Moorish weapons, clothes and crafts such as jewellery and ceramics, all examples of exquisite craftsmanship. Artifacts and exhibits are tastefully displayed to reflect the different cultures and unique qualities of Morocco. The museum is situated in Riad Zitoune Jedid, near to the Palais Bahia. A petit taxi or even a horse drawn carriage can be hired for transport. These can be hailed at, amongst other places, Place Jemaa el- Fna or outside the main hotels.

The ramparts of Marrakech

Take a walk along the ramparts in the early morning or the last light of the day when the baked walls take on a deep orange-coloured hue. The strong walls surounding the medina have been standing since before the 13th century and are the best examples of fortress walls in Morocco. The walls are 12 miles long and up to 2m thick - built to last.

The gates are stunning examples of the Moorish design; Bab ed-Debbagh gate opens up onto the tanners area, where workers have been following the same teqnique for thousands of years. Skins are immersed in tanks and unfortunately do give off an odour that matches the vividness of the dyes. An open air market is held outside gate Bab el-Khemis on thursdays and the Bab Agnaou gate was the entrance to the Almohad palace and has a beautifully sculptured facade.

Chez Ali

This restaurant offers dining with a difference. On some evenings a tent is erected to dine under, whilst a fantasia is performed as entertainment. A fantasia is a display of horsemanship and colourful costumes with plenty of action - sort of Buffalo Bill meets Laurence of Arabia. Remember to first make enquiries with the restaurant before planning your evening there. They are situated at After Pont de Tensift.

Majorelle Garden

A beautiful oasis in the middle of Ville Nouvelle. Once the private garden of the French artist Jacques Majorelle who moved here for the excellent light so sought after by artists, many of his engravings of Morocco are on display in the small museum that used to be his studio. The garden is a colourful haven of bougainvillea, hibuscus and palm trees and a restful pool of waterlilies.The artist's villa was later purchased by the couturier Yves Saint- Laurent; adequate proof of the style of the place!.

Saadian Tombs

Situated in the Rue de la Kasba these lavish tombs date from the Almohad period (1145- 1248) and consist of two mausoleums set in a lush flower garden. The interiors are beautifully decorated with gold leaf clad cedar panels, ivory coloured marble and stalactites, a fit last resting place for the young princes who lie here. The arches and amazingly intricate carvings make for a sumptious setting for the huge dome in the central room. The second building is less extravagant and consists of a prayer hall, loggias and the burial chamber of the mother of Ahmed the Golden who died in 1591.

Oukaimeden

A 74km bus and taxi ride (about 1 hours travelling) from Marrakech is this winter ski resort in the Atlas Mountains. When the snowfall has been sufficient, a trip up the mountain to Jbel Oukaimeden can be made by chair lift. There are also lower slopes that are perfect for beginners. Apart from the skiing, there are elephant and sun wheel Bronze age rock engravings in the village. Further up the mountain there is a view site where stunning views of the mountain and Marrakech can be enjoyed.

The Souks

This area is a commercial hub of traditional markets and stalls- the ideal place for souvenir hunting. Marrakech leatherworth is highly sought after and many other goods from jewellery to fabrics and silks are on display.

Prices are always inflated and haggling over the price is expected. Metalworkers, basketweavers and wooldyers all practise their trades for all to see. The slippers (babouches) made by leatherworkers are unique and at least one pair must be purchased.

There are all colours of the rainbow to choose from and the value increases with the amount of stitching around the seams.Take a petit taxi or horse drawn carriage to the entrance to the Souks at Place Jemaa el-Fna, from thereon the area must be explored on foot.

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Djemaa el Fna - Tourist Attraction

If you are in Marrakech, you should visit Djemaa el Fna, it is not only Africa’s busiest square but also home to the souk – Morocco’s busiest marketplace. During the day, Djemaa el Fna throbs to the rhythm of traditional instruments being played, snake charmers, dancing boys, magicians, acrobats, water carriers and storytellers, who combine to create a magical atmosphere. The souk, meanwhile, is a heady mix of sights, sounds and smells, where you can pick up everything from handmade leather goods and sportswear to jewellery, watches and furniture. The stall owners are friendly and, frequently, charming – bartering with them is a sport in itself. The authorities are very much aware of the city’s tourist pull and, although it may be respectful for women to cover up a little more than they might in other destinations, the area is well policed and the locals used to tourists. You will like Marrakech and maybe you will think about Marrakech property investment as it is very profitable now.

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