02/21/2012 Tourist in Marrakech

Today I set off to do the tourist itinerary.

We’ll start with the Koutoubia Minaret. It’s about 70m high and a great navigational landmark. It was completed around 1185.


I think the cats hanging out in the Koutoubia mosque are equally interesting.


Next we’ll walk through the Medina.

Donkey patience.


If you want it, here it is, come and get it. But you better hurry cause it’s going fast.


Medina road signs.


A pleasant place.


The Marrakech Museum is housed in the Ben Youssef Palace which dates from the late 19th century.

Ben Youseff Palce. There is a large open center courtyard surrounded by the rooms. There is even a private hammas (bath house).


Ben Youssef Palace. I like it, but it’s not quite ornate enough.


I hear earth tones are coming back.


Big brass light fixture.


Modern art in the Ben Youssef Palace Museum.


Bat wings.


Ben Youssef Palace


This is the inside of the Almoravid koubba. It is the only remaining Almoravid building in Morocco. The Almoravid’s were Berbers who formed a dynasty in the 1100’s. It was only excavated in 1952, and was probably just an ablutions annex to the Ben Youssef Mosque.


It had running water from 60km away up in the Atlas and this was the cistern.


Next we’ll look at the Ben Youssef Medersa, a Koranic school established in 1331 but rebuilt in the 1560s, under the Saadians. Plain on the outside, it is highly ornate on the inside.


Ben Youssef Medersa


Door into courtyard.


Over 800 students were housed here, and taught the Koran by rote. The tea would have been necessary, at least for me!


View into the courtyard.


I return to my room and take a nap to prepare myself for a big evening out in the Djemaa el Fna. It is almost better to sleep during the day, as nights are an echo chamber of nose blowing, coughing, peeing, cats and prayer yowling, and inconsiderately loud conversation and arguing.

No one knows how the Djemaa el Fna got it’s name. It translates to “assembly of the dead.” It is just a big square that fills up and empties out. It is used for demonstrations, and so was closed and made into a car park, but tourism fell off sharply, so..


Orange juice and life at 50 cents an unwashed glass.


At night the food venders get cooking.


The snail vendors report business is sluggish.


Everything seems to happen in a blur.


At night it fills up and steam from the food stalls ignites appetites.


My dinner, cost $4.50.


This looked intriguing, so I thought I’d give it a taste. It turns out to be a sweet hot ginger tea served with a couple samples of nutty chocolate peanut butter balls. 60 cents. I feel a new addiction coming on.


I really pull a late nighter and manage to stay out till 8:15. (umm, no, that’s PM, not AM) Ok, so I’m not a night owl. After awhile of looking at monkeys doing somersaults, dead and living and wooden snakes, children’s toys demonstrated by grown men, hillbilly musicians, and cigarettes sold individually, I decide I’d rather go read a good book. It’s very entertaining to some, but then I’ve got Charles Dickens and Richard Dawkins. That’s just me. (sigh)

Tomorrow I’ll explore the new part of Marrakech and the Yves St Laurent owned Jardin Majorelle.

4 thoughts on “02/21/2012 Tourist in Marrakech

  1. The snail vendors report business is sluggish.
    did you laugh when you wrote it? I did when I read it.
    Drink me another unwashed glass of OJ, please.

  2. I am glad that you are happy and safe in Marrakech.
    My first impression was negative.
    But I was in M. 3 times.
    So, step by step I started to like it, however, without enthusiasm.
    Nice but not a best like for me is Bangkok 🙂

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