Souks… carpets... spices… ceramics... splendid palaces… hammams... Marrakech is a feast for the eye, going on for hundreds of years. Known as the “red” city for the 12th-century stucco ramparts surrounding its Medina (the Old City), this thousand-year-old trading post hides breathtaking architecture behind the walls of its traditional riads. Many of these courtyard houses serve as the second houses of the Europeans or elegant boutique hotels and art galleries. The heart of the city is Djemaa el-Fna, the main square where dozens of food stalls are set up, and snake charmers, acrobats, Gnawa musicians and “halqa” storytellers stage their show every evening, as they have done for hundreds of years. Kasbah district of the Medina (Old City) is like a city within the city. This former citadel built for the Moroccan sultans hides the Royal Palace and the Saadian Tombs. Mouassine district, on the other hand, deserves a visit for its beautiful riad hotels. The Marrakech Biennale (February/March) and The Marrakech International Film Festival (December) also grow year by year, attracting a contemporary and fashionable crowd. Those who would like to understand the nature of Moroccan people should venture out to the Atlas Mountains, where authentic Berber culture is still alive in the villages. A 3-hour-ride would also take you to the beautiful ocean-side town of Essaouira, where you could enjoy the Portuguese colonial atmosphere, as well as surfing.

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