Djemma el Fna Market
The market at Djemma el Fna is the cultural heart of Marrakech, and a visit to this chaotic market square feels like taking a step back in time. During the day it’s a great place to grab a bargain from one of the many stalls, while in the evening it really comes to life, as traders arrive from all over the city to sell their wares. You’ll see fakirs, snake charmers, healers, storytellers and musicians… not to mention a fantastic array of food stalls, where you’ll be able to sample some of the famous Moroccan cuisine.
The Koutoubia Mosque
The Koutoubia mosque is one of Marrakesh’s landmarks. It is approximately 221 feet high, and is the largest mosque in Marrakech, Morocco. The minaret of the mosque was completed at around 1195. The mosque is named after the arabic word for library, since it was orignally used as a library and a mosque. There are 6 rooms inside the minaret, with a wooden scaffold at the top of the tower to assist the deaf by showing when prayers begin. It is built in a traditional Almohad style and the tower is adorned with four copper globes. According to legend, the globes were originally made of gold, and there were supposed to have been only three globes. The fourth globe is said to have been donated by the wife of Yacoub el-Mansour as dispensation for her failure to keep the fast for one day during the month of Ramadan, with her gold jewelry being melted down to provide the gold to cover the fourth globe. It is just a beautiful mosque, and the best time to photograph it in all its glory is at sunset. The mosque is not open to non-muslims. However, it is always nice to walk around the outside as there is so much to see.
El Bahia Palace
The El Badii Palace was built between 1578 and 1603 by Saadian Sultan Ahmed Al Mansour Dhahbi. It means the Incomparable Palace. At the time it was considered the most majestic palace in the entire Kingdom with many treasures in each of the 360 rooms with a courtyard of 135 m by 110 m and a large pool of 90m by 20m. It was richly decorated with Italian marble and large amounts of gold imported from Sudan, ivory, Italian marble, semi-precious stones and cedar wood. Visitors to the palace will still be able to walk through the courtyard with its large pools and sunken gardens, even though the fountains that once graced this courtyard are no longer there. It also has a small, underground, tunnel-like jail with about four cells where the king kept his prisoners.
The Saadian Tombs
These maze-like tombs were created by Sultan Ahmed al-Mansour in the late 16th century, and have been beautifully preserved by the following generations. They can be found in a tranquil garden in the Medina Quarter of Marrakech. The two main mausoleums, with 66 tombs laid out within them and over 100 more outside in the gardens. The first mausoleum, is on the left as you enter, and is the finest of the two. The mausoleum contains the remains of members of the Saadi dynasty. The building is composed of three rooms, the most famous of which contains 12 columns. The second mausoleum is older and was built by Ahmed el Mansour in place of an existing pavilion over the tombs of his mother and the founder of the Saadian dynasty. Scattered around the gardens are the tombs of around 100 more Saadian princes and members of the royal household, including a few Jewish graves. The gravestones are covered in tiles and many have inscriptions from the Koran.