DivaScribe explores the stunning city of Marrakech by our very own Tolupe Adeoye.
On my amazing journey through Marrakech I met a number of wonderful people and got to be a small part of lives of children and babies from really touching backgrounds at the same time experiencing a totally different culture..
Morocco was colonised by the French in the early 20th century. French influence lingers on in the wide boulevards of Guéliz – the shopping district (yes I was there virtually every evening), and its few remaining art deco villas, most notably landscape painter Jacques Majorelle's stylish cobalt blue retreat in the Jardin Majorelle – A scenic botanical garden which was at one point in time owned by Yves St Laurent. When he died in 2008 his ashes were scattered in the garden. The languages spoken typically in Morocco are French, Berber and Arabic.
Marrakech is stunning, full of culture, tradition, vibrant beautiful colours and spices. It is one of Morocco's four Imperial Cities, along with Meknes, Fes and Rabat. It was founded around 1062 by the Berber Almoravids and soon became the capital of an Islamic empire that reached from central Spain to West Africa. A scene in the movie Gladiator with Russell Crowe was shot in Marrakech.
Many of the city's best-known landmarks, such as the mosques Koutoubia and El Man sour, date from their conquest, as do the vast mud walls that house the Medina - which is the old city fortified vast walls.
Marrakech has the largest traditional market (souk) in Morocco and also has one of the busiest squares the Djemaa el Fna. The square bustles with snake charmers, monkeys, acrobats, story-tellers, water sellers, dancers and musicians. My colleague who’s been to Marrakech rightly advised me to be wary of having a snake placed around my neck....talk about scary!
By night food stalls open in the square - turning it into a huge busy open-air restaurant, the likes of which I had never seen before. We typically went to the souks in the evenings for the sights, the busy night life, drinking mint tea – a Moroccan favourite - and then dinner of the popular Moroccan Tagine – a dish of slow cooked chicken or lamb soup, prepared and served in traditional clay earthen ware pot and plate which was absolutely delicious!
Towards the end of the 6 day trip, we took a bus ride to the Barrage area, about 30 km from Central Marrakech. Here there is a spectacular artificial lake, and lined around the lake are a number of Moroccan restaurants – with the most beautiful views overlooking the lake. There are a number of water sport activities in the lake, such as jet skiing, boat riding and kayaking. As I had never been jet-skiing before, the group obliged me and yours truly, who by the way cannot swim, is pictured right!