Marrakech, Morocco

By Ali Karim
This post is part of a series called Morocco May 2017
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The name Marrakech originates from the Amazigh (Berber) words amur (n) kush, which means “Land of God.”

It is the third largest city in Morocco, after Casablanca and Fez, and lies near the foothills of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains, that we had just driven through, from Tisseldai.

Like Fes, it has the Old Medina of narrow winding alleyways, and the new City (Ville Nouvelle). We were in the Old Medina of course. New City is like any other new City in the West.

We did find that Marrakech was a lot more touristic than Fes, and the locals were a lot more aggressive in trying to get the tourist’s business. A lot of people insisted on money to get photographed especially the snake charmers or entertainers in the Medina.

Below are some of the views inside the old Medina

Tourist were much more visible

This vendor was making sandwiches of boiled potatoes and eggs.

Traditional and Modern

Scooters taking over from donkeys

Riad Argan, where we stayed in Marrakech, was one of the best Riads we had stayed at.

Marrakech is famous for its Medina, the Souks and the Djemaa El Fna, which is a large open-air square (like the one in Meknes, only much larger).

Place for Food & Fun
Djemaa El Fna was full of food joints (juices and eateries) as well as all kinds of entertainers (dancers, musicians, magicians, story tellers, snake charmers etc etc).

We ended up at the Djemaa El Fna that evening and checked it out; see below

Fresh Fruit juice carts in Djemaa El-Fna; all very clean and hygenic

Hundreds of food stands

Fried fish dishes, with fries and onion rings 🙂


While listening to one entertainer with a decent size crowd; this baby wanted me to carry her and was very inquisitive, checking us all out. Her name was Zaitoon, and she had the biggest eyes I have ever seen

Zaitoon with the biggest eyes I have seen, and her father; this was her expression all the time

Musical entertainment

View of the Koutoubia mosque from Djemaa El Fna

Djemaa El Fna view from a rooftop restaurant; Koutoubia mosque minaret in the background

We decided to have dinner here, but this was our first experience at poor service in Morocco, so we left and went to another restaurant where we got better service.

Tip for Tourists
In general, Marrakech was not as impressive as Fes, mostly due to the food and service, and the aggressiveness of the locals; as there are more tourists and much more competition for the tourist business.

Next day, we did more touring around Marrakech; more scenes below

More Medina

Busy Djemaa El Fna

Magician performance

Snake charmer

Koutoubia mosque from a different angle

We wanted to visit this mosque, and we asked when it would open. We were informed it was only open during prayer time, and it would open in 90 minutes, so we decide to explore some more before returning.

Tip for Tourists
Koutobia mosque remains open only during prayer time.

Style of veil?

Time to catch up with friends

Coconut and pineapple for tourists


We then went back to the Koutoubia mosque to check out this old impressive mosque

Mihrab of the Koutoubia mosque; note the wood trays on the sides where one could put ones shoes

Waiting for tourists

Bursting with goods for today’s market

Checking out the fresh fruit juice stand

Ladies cooperative?

Spice Souk

Artisan Souk

Carpets anyone?

Chilling on the Nomad restaurant rooftop above the Spice Souk

At the Spice souk, we met Rashid and Fatima; who had just gotten married a few days before. Rashid was from Malaysia/Pakistan and Fatima was Moroccan. Moroccan weddings last 7 days 🙂 and we got the full scoop on Moroccan weddings

After this, we headed to one of the best preserved Medersa’s in Morocco, and that was the Ben Youssef Medersa; with very beautiful stucco, Zellij, tilework, plaster work, and carved wood décor.

This is easily the best decorated building in Marrakech. There were well preserved dorm rooms for over 500 students.

Pics below

View from the Dorm rooms

Another view

Fruit market

Moroccan donuts

Long day for this vendor

Street shopping experience

Essaouira, Atlantic Coast and Cassablanca next

This entry was posted in Africa, Morocco, Morocco May 2017

11 thoughts on “Marrakech, Morocco

  • Pingback: Essaouira. Morocco - Ali Karim Travelog

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  • Hakam Bhaloo July 19, 2017 at 7:11 pm Reply

    Being a Professional photographer and a Travel agent I’m totally impressed by all this information and good photography!?
    I would like to take a group there.
    1 778 838 3686

    • Ali Karim July 19, 2017 at 11:16 pm Reply

      Thanks Hakam, for the nice words. Coming from a Professional photographers, I am flattered 🙂
      Lets organize a trip together 🙂 🙂

  • Nisha kassam July 7, 2017 at 2:24 am Reply

    We are planning to go to Marrakech for a few days – would love your restaurant recommendations! Did you like nomad? Love the pics! and we will stay at this Riad if you recommend it as well 🙂 thanks uncle!

    • Ali Karim July 7, 2017 at 11:29 am Reply

      Hi Nisha, Definitely recommend the Riad Argan; it is only a 5 room place, but it’s nice and comfortable place inside the old Medina. If you are not used to this, or not so adventurous, then I’d recommend any of the normal chain hotels.
      Re: Restaurants, Nomad is for tourists (nice rooftop) as are many of the restaurants in Djemaa El Fna square, and we did not like these restaurants in the square, as they mainly catered to tourists. But they do have a nice decor, good service and decent food. So not a bad choice.
      We stuck to smaller local street food joints of local small cafe/restaurants that we normally try and frequent; so difficult to make recommendations as these are all local and not easy to remember where they are in the Medina alleyways; let alone their names. Sorry I could not be of more help with restaurants.
      Breakfast is included in the Riad, and its good.

  • Zubeida Virani June 28, 2017 at 10:34 am Reply

    Words fail me. What an incredible journey of Morocco you have packed in such a short time!
    I loved the photography. You must have “top of the line Camera” to capture such detailed and heart warming shots.
    Great recap and great journey…

  • Sudarshan Singh June 27, 2017 at 10:49 pm Reply

    Amazing photos! Beautifully captured the landscape and local people doing their every day business.

  • Sadru Walji June 27, 2017 at 6:32 am Reply

    Very picturesque!

  • Mohammed Jinnah June 27, 2017 at 4:29 am Reply

    very amazing pictorial.Loved how you capture so many intricacies.

  • Zul Walji June 27, 2017 at 12:23 am Reply

    So very much detailed. …letting us followers of your journey with a full picture….the visible as well as the dynamics behind the scenes. …love it.

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