February 10: Marrakech

Two days meld into one as the trip from the USA to Morocco includes several multi-hour flights and layovers, but stepping out of the plane into the warm, fragrant air of Marrakech make the hours spent well worth the time.

Marrakech is It is the third largest city in Morocco after Casablanca and Rabat, and lies near the foothills of the snow capped Atlas Mountains and a few hours away from the foot of the Sahara Desert. Its location and contrasting landscape has made it an enviable destination in Morocco. The name Marrakech originates from the Amazigh (Berber) words mur (n) akush, which means "go and stop" which was said a long years ago to visitors and camels on the traffic. The city itself is divided into a new and old section. The old section is surrounded by a high ancient wall and is referred to as the Medina. The main square in the Medina is Djemaa El-Fna. It is surrounded by endless labyrinths of souks (bazaars) and alley ways covering all of the inner city. Djemma El-Fna is a must as there is always something to see there day and night whether it be snake charmers, acrobats, sooth-sayers,or the musicians and food stalls.

The Medina is also the home to many a Riad, a Moroccan house with an internal courtyard that has been renovated into a small inn. Most windows are inward facing towards the central atrium. This design of property suits Islamic tradition as there is no obvious wealth statement being made externally, no windows to peer through. Entering a Riad is like discovering an Aladdin’s Cave in comparison to its nondescript exterior.

Riad El Borj Main Courtyard

View from the Second Floor to Courtyard (Orange Trees)

 

"Conference Room"

Guest Room

Street Leading Up to Riad

Djemaa El-Fna Main Square

Bread Stand

Fruits and Figs

Orange Juice

Djemaa El-Fna From Above

Old Man Enjoying the Shade

Women on a Shopping Spree

Man Off to Market

Old Woman on a Mission

Mothers and Children in Tow

Gentleman on a Stroll

Women Haggling for a Deal

Delivery Man

Old Meets New!

The Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque -- Highest building of city

Mary on her Balcony at the Riad

Saaid -- Our Moroccan Guide!