Since the situation in Libya and other Arabic countries remains tense and we are all hoping for a more peaceful resolution of the conflicts, I would like to do follow-up on my post from last week and talk about the city of Marrakech, Morocco. Staying in one of the apartments in Marrakech you will come to find that the city can be divided into 2 very different parts: The Medina, the historical old part of the city and the Gueliz or Ville Nouvelle, the modern part of the city where you notice the influence from Europe, like it is common for many cities in North Africa.
Despite the mass amounts of tourist that visit the city and the “Europeanification” in some parts of the city, the city was able to preserve much of its original Moroccan character and “tourist zones” that are usually avoided by the city’s inhabitants are limited. You can easily get lost in the crowd of people that fills the narrow streets, but only to be surprised by what you can find. “Off trail” you will find yourself a dream of 1001 Nights with story tellers, musicians, and snake charmers along the way.
One of the must-see monuments is the palace La Bahia for its incredible architecture as well as the story behind it. As polygamy and infidelity among monarchs was very common, there was a certain necessity to accommodate wives and mistresses. La Bahia was built for the 4 wives and 24 mistresses (along with their children!) of ruler Sidi Moussa which would already make it a building of considerable size, but the women were not allowed to see each other which forced the architect to build a complex system of rooms, gardens and yards. It took 10 years to build and to expand the space many neighbors got their home taken away.
With Islam being the prominent religion in Marrakech you will find several beautiful mosques. As it is a very essential part of the Islamic culture it will be interesting to watch people gathering when they hear the call to prayer. One of the most famous mosques is the Koutoubia Mosque.
Unfortunately, I haven’t had to opportunity to visit Marrakech yet, but from what I have been reading about it, it seems like an “Islamic” city where the 2 clashing cultures of East and West somehow manage to exist peacefully together. Whether staying in Marrakech apartments or one of the Riads, this city will enchant you.