Our Blog - Marrakech, May 2007
The Djeema El-FNA is the main plaza in Marrakesh. The plaza is full of activity all during the day, starting with juice vendors, henna artists and water sellers through mid day. Around 4:00pm entertainers like snake charmers, acrobats and musicians begin their acts. No matter what time you go to the square, there will always be something happening.
The El Badi Palace was built in the 16th century by Sultan Ahmed el Mansour as a showpiece for entertaining. Inside the palace is a large swimming pool along with sunken orchards. The palace was ransacked in the 17th century and today is in ruins, and as you can see storks with large nests now call it home.
This ceiling from one of the Palaces in the city is an excellent example of the architecture. There are many rooms with this same type of wooden ceiling, intricately painted.
Another architecture example from a Palace, this one being an alcove. The bottom section is all ceramic tiles put together to form the lovely mosaic. As you move it, it becomes wood where you have the delicate carvings around the alcove opening.
A picture of the Djeema El-FNA at night, taken from a restaurant we ate at during our first dinner in Marrakesh. You can see all of the food stalls that are in the plaza, those in the front are the nuts, dried fruits and juice stalls. It is quite an experience walking though these various stalls, each owner trying to entice you to buy their food.
The Koutoubia Minaret is a 225 foot high tower from which the call to prayer is given 5 times a day to the Muslim faithful. It was built in the 12th century and is the signature building of Marrakesh.
Susan in front of a small pool again within one of the many palaces in Marrakesh. The walls that you can see behind her is made up of 3 distinct sections. The bottom again is ceramic tile in a lovely mosaic. The next part is carved stone (limestone maybe?) in an amazing pattern. We have no idea how they get that much carving into the stone. Then the very top is carved dark brown wood.
The Bab Agnaou is one of 20 gates in the city walls of Marrakesh. It was built in the 12th century mostly as a decoration and it was one of the first monuments in Marrakesh to be built in stone and not mud brick. Perhaps that is one of the reasons for its longevity.
On one of our days in Marrakesh we took a 5-6 hour trip outside the city with a local guide. One of our first stops was to a local house where we had mint tea and toured a typical house outside of the city. We took this picture of the view from the house's living area, a valley with the Atlas mountains in the background.
This is a picture of one of the Souks in Marrakesh. The Souks are a maze of market streets just north of the Djeema El-Fna where there are literally hundreds of different shops with various foods and crafts are on sale. It is very easy to get lost in these streets as there are no road signs and there are numerous twists and turns. As you walk by each shop, the slightest glance at the wares will have the owner jumping up trying to sell you something.
Our last night in Marrakesh we at dinner at one of the food stalls in the Djeema El-Fna. There are about 100 different food stalls, primarily serving a few types of dishes; kebabs, pig heads, fish and snails. We ate at the kebab place pictured, primarily because Susan liked the fact that the cook was female, feeling the need to support her gender.