Colorful spice souk in Marrakesh

The cone-shaped spices in the souk.

We finally made it to Marrakech, a vibrant city filled with exotic sights and sounds. It was colorful, it was hectic, it was madness!  It can be a sensory overload but as veteran street warriors of the medina of Fez, nothing overwhelmed us anymore! 

The Souk of Marrakesh

Colorful ceramics in Marrakech soukA colorful ceramic stall in the souk of Marrakesh, the largest traditional market in Morocco.

Colorful slippers in Marrakech souk

United colors of slippers for sale in the souk.

Olives in Marrakesh soukSouk of holy olives!

Lamp souk in MarrakeshTraditional Moroccan lamps for sale in the souk.

Souk in Medina of MarrakeshNavigating the medina and souk of Marrakech was easier than that of Fez. The streets are wider and more straight forward compared to the narrow labyrinth streets of Fez. However, we found the atmosphere in Fez much more ancient, more soulful and much more ingrained with tradition. 

Marrakesh wall of carpetsWalking along a wall of carpets.

Djemaa e-Fna

Marrakesh Djemaa el FnaDjemaa el-Fna, known as “The Square,”  is the heartbeat of Marrakech and is said to be the busiest square in Africa. It bustles with musicians, street artists and con-artists, storytellers, snake charmers, acrobats, etc.

Woman walking in Djemaa el Fna Marrakesh Local ladies strolling in the busy square.

 Tattoo artist in Djemaa el Fnaa in MarrakeshA henna tattoo artist in the square.

Snake charmet in Djemaa el Fna Marrakesh

Keith as a snake charmer.

 Watersellers in Marrackech Djemaa el Fna squareThese loonies volunteered to pose with Keith and then asked for money. Beware! They are  the water sellers. In the olden days, they sold water to the thirsty traveling traders passing by the square.  With the advent of sanitized bottled water their business has slowed down so they now make money by hounding tourist to pose for photos with them.

Koutoubia Mosque Marrakesh

The view of the minaret of Koutobubia Mosque from the square. It is the largest and most revered mosque in Marrakesh.

Food stalls in Djemaa el Fna at night Marrakesh At night, Djemaa el-Fna transforms into a huge, lively open air restaurant.

food vendors in Djemaa el-Fna MarrakeshCustomers finding their places in the food stalls.

Food stall in Djemaa el-Fna MarrakeshThe food stalls prepare food fresh on the spot and offer a wide variety of traditional dishes of meat, fish and vegetable.

People eating at at Djemaa el Fna Square in Marrakesh

A group of local men breaking their Ramadan fasting at the square.

People dining at open air restaurant at  Djemaa el Fna Marrakesh Keith and I enjoyed a delicious meal at the square. Keith had meat kebab and I had vegetable kebab.  The food is safe for travelers as long as you stick to well-cooked fares.

Food stalls  at Djemaa el-Fna MarrakeshDried fruits and nuts stalls are all around the square.


The Riad

Riad Habiba in MarrakeshRiads are traditional homes or palaces that are built around an inner courtyard. This is the courtyard at Riad Habiba, a beautiful riad hotel in the quiet street of the Marrakesh medina where we stayed. It used to be a part of the Palace de la Bahia.  Marrakesh has undergone a riad renovation rage in the last decade. Thanks to the Europeans who arrived and purchased old dilapidating riads and transformed them into wonderful riad hotels.

Marrakesh Riad Habiba Dining Room and Sitting Area-The exquisite door to the dining area of Riad Habiba and  the relaxing, Moroccan chic reading room.                 

Suite in Riad Habiba MoroccoOur beautiful Maroc suite in Riad Habiba and the lovely touch of a tassel on the door. 

Couple on Rooftop of Riad Habiba in MarrakeshEnjoying our breakfast at the lovely rooftop terrace of Riad Habiba. This Is a very special place for us. This was the exact spot where we got engaged the night before!  It was our Marrakesh surprise. 

Boy standing by a door of a riad in Marrakesh

This is Dar, an adorable boy who lived right across from our riad. Where he stands is the door into his house. Like most riads in Marrakesh, you can’t underestimate this tiny, discreet door for it opens into an exotic, spacious courtyard home.

Man walking on the street Marrakesh Medina

Walking on the quiet medina street where our riad was situated.


Striking figures in the quiet back streets of the medina 

People in Marrakesh Medina

People in Marrakesh Medina


 The Royal Quarter

Bahia Palace. Marrakech, MoroccoPalais de la Bahia is a private palace built in the end of 19th century by Si Moussa, grand vizier of the sultan. It contained rooms for his four wives and a harem for his many concubines.  It is built and decorated with impressive doorways, pretty stuccos, paintings, mosaics, colorful carved cedar wood roofs and the pleasure gardens.

Courtyard in Bahia Palace MarrakeshOne of the courtyard fountains in the Bahia Palace with the reflection of the arches.

The most famous of Marrackesh’s palaces is El-Badi Palace. It was once a playground for Saadian dynasty that ruled in southern Morocco in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Before it was ransacked in the 17th century by succeeding dynasty of Alaouite Moulay Ismail, it was considered to be one of them most beautiful palaces in the world. Its name means “the incomparable.”Marrakech Palace el Badi ruinThe great scale of the ruin of El Badi Palace gives an impression of it former splendor. The palace was built by best craftsman at the time using the best quality materials. The walls were said to be covered with gold leaf.

Marrakech Palace el Badi underground corridors and dungeonsThe underground corridors  and the eerie catacombs and dungeons of El-Badi Palace.

 Ruins of El Badi Palace Marrakesh

The ruin of the guest houses of El-Badi Palace.

Saadian tombs MarrakeshThe Saadian Tombs are the resting places of the Saadian princes, their family members and close family friends. This burial ground was sealed by the succeeding dynasty and was not rediscovered until 1917 when a French general detected it in an aerial survey.

Architecture of Saadian tombs in MarrakeshThe Saadian Tombs depict opulence and great artistry. This Central Hall of the Twelve Columns has ornate architectural details and is a fine example of Morrocan-Andalucian decorative art.


The Gardens

Majorelle Garden in MarrakeshMarrakesh is said to have the most number of gardens among Moroccan cities. They offer respite from the chaos of the souk and traffic. One of the gardens we visited was Majorelle Garden, a 12-acre botanical garden and artist landscape. It also has a small museum containing Moroccan collections of jewelries, carpets, etc.

Window in Majorelle Garden in MarrakechMarjorelle Garden was designed by a French artist Jacques Marjorelle during the French protectorate period of Morocco and is interestingly owned by The Yves Saint Laurent Foundation.  The ashes of Yves Saint Laurent were scattered in this garden after he died in 2008.

Windows in Majorelle Garden in MarrakechThe ornate windows in Marjorelle Garden.

Plants in Majorelle Garden in MarrakechAside from  different varieties of cacti, the garden also features bamboo groves, coconut palms, banana trees, bougainvilleas, marble pools, beautiful pathways, etc.

Bamboos in Majorelle Garden in MarrakechRelaxing and beating the heat in the bamboo grove area of Marjorelle Garden.


Woman food vendor in Djemaa el Fna Marrackesh We went back to Djemaa el-Fna for dinner on our last evening in Marrakesh. We chose this food stall because it was run by the only woman vendor we encountered in Morocco.


Marrakesh train stationLeaving Marrakesh for Casablanca.


Travel Notes:
Travel Date:  October 2007
Travel Guides:  Lonely Planet Morocco and Rough Guide

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About Marisol

Taking you on our journey one photo - and footstep - at a time.

17 responses to “Morocco: Madness and Surprises in Marrakech

  1. Kira

    What a lovely photo essay! I felt like a was there with you. You inspire me so much to travel there soon!

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Kira, thanks! We’re glad you’re inspired to travel. Let us know if you need any planning tips.

  2. Kara D.

    Hi again! So excited to see these album! Thanks so much! I’m now more excited about 0ur Moroccan trip. We hope we get to see all those scenes that you captured. Love the colors in the souk. We’ll look into booking in Riad Habiba; looks like a beautiful romantic place. No wonder that was where you got engaged!

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Kara, yes Riad Habiba is beautiful and romantic and the staff were pleasant and very helpful. They only have few rooms so book as soon as possible. Enjoy Marrakesh!

  3. Carrie Sieber

    Wow, how colorful! How exotic! Your images are amazing. I felt I was transported in Marrakesh. Thanks for taking me there with you!

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Carie, our pleasure. Glad you enjoyed the trip:)

  4. Reshka K

    Hello again, nice to see your beautiful pictures of Marrakesh. Thank you for giving us idea what to see and do. We’re excited to see the colorful souqs and visit the famous square. Did you make any day trips from Marrakesh?
    Thank you, Reshka.

  5. Traveling Solemates

    Hi Reska, I’m sure you have a wonderful time in Marrakesh. Yes, we did a day trip from Marrakesh. We went hiking in the High Atlas. I really recommend it if you’re into hiking. It’s beautiful up there. I hope I get a change to post the photos soon. You can drive or hire a car with a driver to the village of Imlil. You can hire a registered guide once you get there. .The office of the guide bureau is in the town’s parking lot. Aslo we recommend a lunch stop at the stunning Kasbah du Toubkal.

  6. I want to go to marrakech so much, it’s making me crazy!!! JEALOUS!!!

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Jenny, you should definitely GO! You’ll have a divine foodfest.

  7. Maureen (Belinda's daughter)

    The colors of your photographs are so nice!

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Maureen, thanks! Glad you enjoyed it.

  8. Wonderful post – thank you for the massive memory nudge!

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