Marrakech benefits from an exceptional geographic location on the fertile Haouz Plain. Like a gateway, it supports major projects, it is at the moment expanding, doors open, preparing for the future. Marrakech's location on the crossroads of the ancient caravan routes from Timbuktou made it a key destination for trade and reprieve.
The meeting place for the Berber and Arab worlds, Marrakech is a mingling of nomads and mountain people as they come together to produce the unchallenged capital of Southern Morocco.
City of Culture : This gives the city a feeling of action. With her cultural cafes and culture overflow this 1000 year old Imperial City has a history which stretches through many dynasties. In this time the dominating ochre-coloured ramparts have seen many changes, from the kings of old who fought for the control, to the Moroccan families who inherited the land.
You will not be able to forget Marrakech for the memory of every imaginable commodity which can be found in this city. Here objects are brought and sold in the time honored style, where the tea, is part of the ritual and communicating is a way of life.
Marrakech came in to the history books as Almoravide territory in 1070 and eventually became the capital of their empire. In 1147, the Almohad Sultan, Abd el Moumen captured the town. Marrakech flourished under Almohad rule becoming the Arabic Center for philosophical studies while growing rich on leather, sugar and ceramic exports to Spain.
This period of prosperity was followed by fifty years of dynastic struggles and general decline. In 1269, it lost its status as capital when the Merinids seized power and transferred the capital to Fes. By 1522, when the Saadians took control, the city was ruined and decimated by famine. They made Marrakech the capital of southern Morocco and when the Moroccan empire was reunified, it became an imperial city.
In the second half of the 16th century, Marrakech was restored to its glory Famine, rebellion, and wars struck during the first half of the 17th century. In 1699, the Alaouite Sultan, Moulay Richard captured the town and transferred the capital back to the city of Fes. Through the mid 18th century, Mohammed III restored the city and its capital status. In 1912, General Lyautey, France's first resident general in Morocco, made the decision to once again relieve Marrakech of its capital status and pass it over to Rabat.
Djemaa el-Fna: By day the Djemaa el-Fna is on tick-over with snake charmers, musicians, herbalists, fortune tellers and water sellers playing the crowd for pictures and energy. As the sun goes down sample the oranges from one of the sellers, as they push their fresh vitamin filled drinks from one of the 60 independent producers.
At night the Djemaa El Fna comes alive with food vendors selling nearly every Moroccan dish imaginable at low prices and in large quantities. The fire eaters weave their integrate patterns into the nightsky, with the ever increasing crowds pushing the performers to higher levels of endurance. The story tellers, public scribes, fortunetellers, potion sellers, healers and numerous other shows are all part of the equation, where each night 1000's of people will investigate the open air market guided by the butane lamps and the cry of the sellers voices.
The number of entertainers increases as the light drops keep your eye out for the traveling actors and story tellers who are passing through the city. The scene takes on a distinctly artistic flavor through the night as strong men, musicians, dancers, story tellers, animal handlers, and other shows draw the ever increasing crowds to higher levels of life's joys as they perform to the unique sounds of Marrakech.
Hair cut before eating out at the Djemaa el-Fna. Your food and the kitchen are fresh... While you eat out at the food stalls, you can watch your next culinary delight ( cucus and tajine )being cooked in front of you.
The Camping Ferdaous: is found 13 km outside Marrakech on the Casablanca road near to the petrol station.. The campsite is clean with working showers, toilets and a small shop, restaurant, bar where you can by fresh bread every morning.
Extra Fine Olive Oil: Morocco has an ideal climate for the olive tree and her olives. Producing one of the finest olive oils of the world. Surrounding the walled city of Marrakech the olive trees give shade to the sun baked ground. .
The irrigation channels which snake their way between the trees, are the life line to the rich crop which will be ready for your tajine by September in this region of Morocco.
If you are lucky you will make your way to the "olive corner", this group of stands can be found near the Cafe de France. The feeling of "souk" is all around as the city life moves through its daily motions. Ask for Yousif when you find the small stands selling their olives and spices.
I spent a few fun evenings selling olives to the people of Marrakech in the souk on the stand. The stand is 2m x 4 m; a shoe box, with a collection of olives; green, black, red, with garlic or herbs, hot or sour, marinated in wine. They're ready to be served with every meal, either as an appetizer or with your main course. Try out the spicy ones. My mouth was on fire for the next hour.