3. Marrakech: Historical & Cultural Sightseeing Day Tour
The Majorelle Gardens, originally designed by Jacques Majorelle and later owned by Yves Saint Laurent, offer a peaceful and picturesque atmosphere with fish pools, bridges, cacti, and trees. It features a charming shop, café, and restaurant, and is known for its unique "Majorelle blue" hue, which has inspired imitations across the city. The Koutoubia Mosque, the city's largest mosque, derives its name from its historical association with bookshops and booksellers. Following a traditional Almohad architectural style, its tower is adorned with four copper globes. Miniature replicas of the mosque are widely sold in Morocco, attesting to its popularity. El Bahia Palace, known as "the palace of the beautiful," was constructed in the Alaoui style between 1894 and 1900 for Ahmed Ibn Moussa. It boasts 160 rooms surrounding courtyards, with rumours of concubine occupancy. The palace's stunning interior exhibits stucco panels, zellij decorations, carved cedar ceilings, and shiny marble finishes. It is surrounded by an extensive eight-hectare garden. The Ben Youssef Medersa, a Quranic School dating back to Sultan Abou el Hassan's rule, was later rebuilt in the 1560s by the Saadians. It is an impressive architectural masterpiece, showcasing typical Moroccan styles such as zellij tiling, stucco plasterwork, and carved cedar wood. The school served as a place where around 800 students memorized the Koran. The Saadian Tombs, dating from the time of Sultan Ahmad al-Mansur, house the remains of about sixty members of the Sa’adi Dynasty. Rediscovered in 1917 and carefully restored, these tombs have become a prominent attraction in Marrakech, serving as the final resting place for members of the dynasty from the Dra’a Valley beyond the high Atlas Mountains. Marrakesh has a Jewish Mellah, historically inhabited by non-Muslims, including Jews. Many synagogues still stand, though fewer are in use. The Mellah district holds cultural and historical significance. The bustling souks are the heart of Marrakesh, offering an array of traditional Moroccan handicrafts, spices, medicinal remedies, and local entertainment. Visitors can find iconic items like babouches, leather goods, garments, pottery, tajine dishes, and silver jewellery. Bargaining is a common practice, adding a sense of fun and excitement to the shopping experience.