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Travel : Marrakesh Medina - Morocco 4/18/23

Updated: Aug 1, 2023

Continuation of a guided group trip. which started on:

4/10 - From Tangier to Casablanca (part 1) 4/14- Atlas Mt. (part 5)

4/11 -Rabat- Imperial capital (part 2) 4/15 - Atlas Mt (part 6)

4/12/Meknez - Imperial Capital (part 3). 4/16 - Oasis & Desert (part 7)

4/13 Fez -1st Imperial Capital (part 4) 4/17 -Essaouira (part 8)

This post focuses more on the Old Part of town -the medina - while

the European parts of the "Red City" can found (here)

For a change, the first time since our arrival in Morocco , a local Woman Guide, originally from Rabat, who resides now in the modern part part of Marrakesh ,showed up to guide us for the day in town .

Nagid +212667495022 - Woman Guide

The Hotel in which the group stayed for 4 nights in Marrakesh was:

Av du President Kennedy +212v524447400

A modern renovated hotel resort of 384 rooms, including ten suites, spread over 4 buildings on four floors,It nest in a lush park around a swimming pool in the middle,right in the heart the “Hivernage”district.

The hotel conveniently accommodates large visiting groups and provides a generous breakfast, However it lacks in Moroccan ethnic character, and is not user friendly in getting back and forth, to rooms distant from the reception requiring long walking,..

Close by the hotel, in the modern part of town these structures are found

Gare de Marrakesh -Train Station

la Mamunia Palace - an Iconic Hotel

was found in 1923 by architects Henri Prost and Antoine Marchisio.

The, heavenly, luxurious authentic oriental La Mamunia which celebrates 100 years, this year, had for several years, named by Condé Nast Traveler as the best hotel in the world

Combines Moroccan architecture with the Art Deco style, Its 135 rooms (with each room covering 30 to 45 square m, and 71 suites (with each suite covering 55 to 212 square m), and 3 riads (with each covering 700 square m for rent., had hosted notable guests including : politicians, - Charles de Gaulle, Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt

:Charlie Chaplin, Omar Sharif, Kirk Douglas, Paul McCartney, athletes and many more rich and famous

One of the bars at the hotel is now named after Churchill

"Mamunia" was written by Paul McCartney in 1973 when staying at the hotel

La Mamounia was a filming location for Alfred Hitchcock's film The Man Who Knew Too Much, starring James Stewart and Doris Day in 1956

one evening when we dropped the group's activity, we enjoyed having drinks at the hotel's enchanting garden,, upon the instance of my friend Madeleine who treat us.

Marrakesh Short History

Marrakesh is one out of the 4 Imperial cities along with Rabat ,Maknez ,and Fez

It was founded by the Almoravid dynasty in 1070 by Abu Bakr ibn Umar and subsequently developed by his successors.[Initially, the city's two main monuments and focal points were the fortress known as Ksar el-Hajjar ("fortress of stone")

and the city's first Friday mosque (the site of the future Ben Youssef Mosque).

The Ksar el-Hajjar was located directly north of today's Kutubiyya Mosque.

The major souk (market) streets of the city thus developed along the roads linking these two important sites and still correspond to the main axis of souks today.

The Almoravid emir Ali ibn Yusuf (ruled 1106-1143) soon afterwards constructed a palace directly south of and adjacent to the Ksar el-Hajjar, on the actual site of the later Kutubiyya Mosque

The importance of the great public square in front of the royal palace led it to become the place for public executions, military parades, festivals, and other public events until long afterwards.[14]

After a destructive struggle, Marrakech fell to the Almohads in 1147, who constructed the nearby Kutubiyya Mosque, (begun in 1147) which was meant to replace the Almoravid-built Ben Youssef Mosque as the city's main mosque. As the Almohad rulers moved to the new kasbah, the old Almoravid palace and fortress fell out of use and was eventually torn down (in part to make way for the new Kutubiyya Mosque). Subsequently, with the fortunes of the city, the Jemaa el-Fna saw periods of decline and also renewal.

Jardin de la Menera -Pool/Gardens - UNESCO heritage sibe 1985

Route du Golf Royal, Entrance at the corner of Avenue Bab Jedid (3 km from the medina)

Free daily from 08:30 a.m. to 06:00 p.m

The Kenzi Garden hotel's pool seemed to be a small pond after seeing the grand

central water basin,/ reservoir, - (150 m wide and about 200 m long). inhabiting tons of fat carps in its muddy water,

It is being fed by aqueducts, rain water or ground water and irrigates the surrounding of this amazing historic public garden, with its orchards., as well as is used for additional cultivated areas..

The creation of large water basins, capturing the water from the Atlas Mountains 30 km away, was designed to store large amounts of water, that could be used to water the gardens all year-round, even during the winter when rivers and other sources were typically dry

The water reservoir of the Menara from 1147, is built above ground so that the surrounding orchards, located at the lower ground level, could be watered with the help of gravity

A wide promenade, lined with vendors of souvenirs, and set against the looming clearly seen at distance, High Atlas Mountains, leads from the entrance area, directly to a

royal pleasure pavilion overlooking the water reservoir,

Dates back in its current form to the 19th C but originated in 16c during the Saadian

A classic example of royal pavilion architecture in Morocco during the Alaouite period

The pavilion is built in stone,,has a rectangular floor plan, 2 floors, and is topped by a pyramidal green-tiled roof.

TheJardin de la Ménara surrounding the basin/pool was created in the middle of the 12th c (1157) during the rule of the Almohad Caliphate ruler Abd al-Mu'min. along with the Agdal Gardens and the historic walled city medina of Marrakesh

The gardens owe their current condition to the reigns of the Alaouite sultans Moulay Abd ar-Rahman (ruled 1822–1859) and his son Muhammad IV (ruled 1859–1873), who restored and replanted both the Menara and Agdal gardens.

The more than 100 hectares laid out park ,were likely designed by an engineer from Malaga (Al-Andalus) named Hajj al-Ya'ish contains many lanes meandering between olive trees and some Cyprus trees.

The park is a favorite destination for Moroccan families, especially on weekends and during the olive pick up season open to all

The Almoravids who founded Marrakesh in 1070. established multiple gardens, estates, and artificial lakes in multiple sites outside the city walls,

Like Jamaa el-Fna and the Agdal Gardens, the Menara Gardens are listed as a “World Cultural Heritage Site” by the UNESCO.

Looking back, in direct view line the imposing sight of the Koutoubia Mosque is seen in full view

The Kutubiyya Mosque- BookSellers

The largest/tallest mosque in Marrakesh

It was founded in 1147 by the Almohad caliph Abd al-Mu'min (1158) right after Marrakesh was conquered from the Almoravids., and possibly finalizing the construction of the 77 m minaret tower was around 1195 with Ya'qub al-Mansu

This second mosque version - a classic and important example of Almohad and Moroccan architecture structure is located in the southwest

medina quarter of Marrakesh, near the famous public place of Jemaa el-Fna, and is surrounded by large gardens.

The minaret tower an important landmark and symbol of decorated with varying geometric arch motifs and topped by a spire and metal orbs

No other buildings/structures in Marrakesh are aloud to be constructed higher then 5 floors, as not not to surpass the height of the the the Kutubiyya Mosque which likely inspired the constructions of other buildings, such as the Giralda of Seville and the Hassan Tower of Rabat, built shortly after in the same era

Marrakesh Medina - Old Part

Marrakesh remained a political, economic and cultural center from when it was founded (in 1070–72 by the Almoravids) who made it their capital (1147-1269) and for a long period. during which its influence was felt throughout the western Muslim world, from North Africa to Andalusia. It is enclosed by 16km of ramparts and gates.

In addition to the Koutoubiya Mosque and Pool garden, it has several impressive monuments dating from that period: as the Kasbah, monumental gates or later architectural jewels which include the Bandiâ Palace, the Ben Youssef Madrasa, the Saadian Tombs, several great residences and Place Jamaâ El Fna, a veritable open-air theater

' Bahia Palace -"The Beautiful"

The Bahia Palace is a mid to late 19th-c palace - an 8000-sq-m, floor-to-ceiling extravagance of intricate marquetry, plaster work and zouak (painted wood),

First begun by Si Musa, grand vizier of Alaouite sultan Muhammad ibn Abd al-Rahman, in 1859 and then continued and expanded by his son Si Ba Ahmed ibn Musa, grand vizier of Sultan Moulay Abdelaziz between 1894 and 1900

The palace has many small and larger courts leading from one to another, living quarters and women quarters , Riads and areas covered by lush vegetation and gardens

The salons of both the Petit Riad and Grand Riad host intricate marquetry and zouak ceilings, but the Cour d'Honneur, a grand courtyard, of 1500 sq m floor of Italian Carrara marble, is the undisputed highlight.

The Cour d'Honneur (courtyard) was converted into a harem by Bou Ahmed after he became Grand Vizier in 1894. where he accommodate, in the added beautiful space, his 4 wives and 24 concubines.

A long wooded entryway leads to the complex all surrounded by walls and courts

Cedar wood from middle Atlas Mountains closer to Fez had been used

Warlord Pasha Glaoui moved in 1908 in after Bou Ahmed's death in 1900, finding it a suitable venue to entertain French guests, and the French in their turn installed in 1912 the protectorate’s resident-general in his place.

When Morocco gained independence from France in 1956, the palace was used as a royal residence, until King Hassan II transferred it to the custody of the Moroccan Ministry of Culture, so the building could serve as a cultural icon and tourist attraction.

Despite the vast area on show, only a portion of the palace’s space and 150 rooms is open to the public.and often play host to important cultural events.

Grand Bijouterie - Market Place

The carved stucco arch opposite Bahia Palace leads through to this covered souk, located in The Jewish Quarter of Marrakech,

Grand Bijouterie is the oldest jewellery market. in the city, comprising a variety of tiny shops selling a range of ancient gold and silver jewelry, gemstones, old decorated boxes and belts.

Originally, all the shops here were owned by Jewish jewelers, but nowadays only a handful of Israelite dealers have remained.

"Remembering Marrakesh" - a Doco on Jews of Marrakesh now and then.

A 6 short documentary films. Co-production Project Initiators: Taha Balafrej. connect Institute, Morocco/ Prof. Sami Shalom Chetrit Sapir College, Israel. The tourist town central location

Saadian Tombs - A major Tourist Attraction

The historic Royal Necrophiliac complex which dates to the time of the Saadian dynasty and in particular to the reign of Ahmad al-Mansur (1578–1603) in Marrakesh, is located on the south side of the Kasbah Mosque, inside the royal kasbah (citadel) district

Members of Morocco's monarchy continued to be buried here for a time afterwards.

The complex is regarded by many art historians as the high point of Moroccan architecture in the Saadian period due to its luxurious decoration and careful interior design

Saadian Tombs - Nacropolis

The historic royal necropolis is located right behind the qibla wall on the south side of the Kasbah Mosque, inside the royal kasbah (citadel) district, and

dates to the time of the Saadian dynasty and in particular to the reign of Ahmad al-Mansur (1578–1603), .

The Chamber of the Twelve Columns, the mausoleum of Sultan Ahmad al-Mansur

Luxurious decoration and careful interior design mase it a major tourist attraction.

Hidden between the surrounding tall walls is this gem peaceful garden

The Kasbah of Marrakesh is a large walled district in the southern part of the medina of Marrakesh, Morocco, which historically served as the citadel (kasbah) and royal palace complex of the city,

It was founded by the Almohads in the late 12th century and which the main surviving structures today, are the Kasbah Mosque and the main gate of Bab Agnaou, date from al-Mansur's reign.,

The palace complex was neglected after the fall of the Almohads, but the Kasbah was restored and rebuilt by the Saadian dynasty in the 16th c, during the time of sultans Abdallah al-Ghalib and Ahmad al-Mansur, who created new palaces and extensive gardens. along with The Saadian Tombs.

From Death to Health -More Shoping

53-57 rue dela Kasbah- 40040 Marakech

+12637717766 +212661344048 +212 524381606

Within the tour's plan to support the Moroccan small bushiness industry

we once again were led into a well maintained Herbs pharmacy located conveniently

in the Casbah , across from the Saadian Tombs. which sells tons of Moroccan spices and creams for any conceived maladies, cosmetic beautification and cooking occasion,

The young well trained marketing women who addressed the group at the pharmacy in most skillful Hebrew was hilariously funny, and entertaining, cracking jokes in Hebrew slang., and a proficient sales person..

Lunch at

Dar Es Salaam Restaurant

An authentic Macaroon Restaurant

In the heart of the medina

Alfred Hitchcock film "The man who knew too much". filmed at this place

To be Continued,,,,,,


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