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Top Ten Things to Do in Marrakech

5 March 2016

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The ancient city of Marrakech is known for its winding streets, riads (courtyards), chaotic markets and exotic architecture. Marrakech's 1700-acre Medina (old city) is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Be sure to carve out time to explore this fascinating city!

  1. Djemaa el Fna, "the heart of the city," is the largest square in Africa. During the day, you'll find fruit juice stands, henna tattoo artists and snake charmers. In the evening, the square fills with food vendors, musicians, and fortunetellers. Have a mint tea at one of the rooftop cafés and enjoy the view.
  2. The minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque dominates the Djemaa el Fna square. Stunning at sunset, the mosque is a Marrakech landmark. The mosque's interior is open only to Muslims, but everyone is welcome in its surrounding gardens.
  3. At the souks of Marrakesh (open air marketplaces), you'll find just about anything you want to buy – spices, leather goods, ceramics, lamps, shawls, carpets. Be prepared for some friendly bargaining!
  4. If you love architecture, visit the Bahia Palace. The 19th century palace is a beautiful example of Islamic and Moroccan architecture, with its elaborate ceilings, archways, stained glass lamps and exquisite tile work.
  5. Explore the ruins of the El Badi Palace. The 16th century palace, built using precious metals and gemstones, was looted about 75 years later. A highlight is the Koutoubia minbar (prayer pulpit), with inlaid marquetry and gold and silver calligraphy.
  6. The Jardin Majorelle is a 12-acre botanical garden dating to the 1920s. Owned and restored by Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé, the garden features rare flowers, landscaped pathways and marble pools. The majorelle blue (cobalt blue) villa houses the Berber Museum.
  7. The Jardin Menara Park is a historic oasis from the 12th century. This desert garden has a minzal (pavilion) overlooking a vast artificial lake surrounded by olive and fruit orchards.
  8. Marrakech is known for its cuisine. Some popular options are: Riad Kniza, La Maison Arabe, Dar Yacout or Al Fassia. For dinner with traditional Moroccan entertainment, try Comptoir Darna Marrakech.
  9. Relax at one of Marrakech's many hammams, traditional spas that are a central part of life in Marrakesh. Hammams range from basic to luxurious – some are hundreds of years old, and are housed in historic buildings.
  10. Visit the nearby Atlas Mountains. Popular destinations include Berber villages, kasbahs (fortresses) and the Ouzoud waterfalls.

Welcome to ICANN55 – and enjoy your stay in Marrakech!