The history of the Medina began with the founding of Marrakech almost a thousand years ago.
Protected by its ramparts, it remains the beating heart and soul of the ocher city. Without it, Marrakech would not be Marrakech. It makes travelers from all over the world fantasizing.
It covers an area of 600 hectares and has nearly 170,000 inhabitants.
Sometimes exhausting, too crowded, too noisy, it is also the friendliest and most enchanting of cities. The Medina is a unique experience, full of secrets, colors, scents, and flavors.
The souks of the Medina, get lost there to better find yourself
Most of the time, you enter through “la Grande Place”. Do not spend too much time at the first bazaars, move forward and simply let yourself be guided by the strong power of attraction of the souks!
You will alternate between large alleys and small side roads, dark passages, open squares and mysterious fondouks.
You will be immersed in multiple atmospheres. The smell of perfumes and spices from Souk Attarine, the cozy atmosphere of Souk Zrabi with its beautiful graphic carpets, sober or colorful. There will be the Souk Smata and its thousands of constantly reinvented slippers, then the leather scents of the Cherratine souk filled with leather goods stalls. In the Sebbaghine souk, a few dyers have kept a workshop, but it is also a paradise of captivating smells of cedar, lemon, eucalyptus and woven plant fibres.
Not far away from the ironworkers, you will be warned by the deaf and regular blows of the hammers of the blacksmiths who work in the smoke and the smell of fire.
At the end of the day, the Haddadine souk will immerse you in the thousand and one nights. Its atmosphere is magical, with a myriad of stars drawn by the delicately chiseled lanterns and the twinkling of gently polished teapots.
You will return from the souks, exhausted but happy and full of memories.
Its legendary square Jemaa El Fna
The Grande Place is transformed throughout the day. The tipping point is at the end of the afternoon, when the restaurants arrive on the square. This is the moment when it is most beautiful. Seeing it ablaze at sunset from one of the café terraces is a must. Then choose to dive into the tumult of its night or slip away to a more peaceful place.
Its architectural treasures, if you have to choose...
The Medina of Marrakech has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1985. Everywhere you will feel the weight of its history.
If time is running out for you, here are the historical monuments that we advise you to put at the top of your priorities.
- Medersa Ben Youssef
It is a Koranic school built in the 16th century to teach theology and science. Radiant and famous, it welcomed up to 900 students.
The Medersa is of remarkable beauty and despite the influx of visitors, one can feel its spirituality there.
The architecture of the place and the finesse of the decorations (zelliges, marble, stucco, carved cedar wood) are breathtaking.
We discover the central patio, with its refreshing pool, the murmur of water and the impressive prayer room.
Upstairs, the rooms where students from all over Morocco piled up. An incredible maze where we imagine young people bent over old manuscripts by candlelight.
In the chiaroscuro of the Medersa Ben Youssef you can take magnificent photos.
- Bahia Palace
It is a place that will allow you to admire Arab-Andalusian architecture, interior decoration and garden art all at the same time. Bahia Palace exudes an atmosphere of oriental charm. It is so vast that, even in case of crowds, you can visit it at your own pace.
The palace dates from the end of the 19th century and was commissioned by Grand Vizier Ben Moussa. At the time of its construction, it was the most sumptuous and largest palace in Morocco.
It is made up of patios, including that of the harem, gardens and 150 rooms decorated by the best craftsmen of the time.
The floor is covered with marble and zelliges. The rooms (which are no longer furnished) are decorated with floral motifs. The ceilings are fantastic, carved or painted in different styles depending on the room, with incredible color combinations.
The gardens are planted with typical Moroccan trees: orange trees, palm trees, pomegranate trees. The paths are lined with rosemary and fragrant, colorful flowers.
Only one part of the palace can be visited, the other part sometimes welcomes the royal family or foreign guests.
Finally, Bahia Palace is located next to the Mellah, the old Jewish quarter of the Medina. You can take the opportunity to discover this typical district with its houses with exposed balconies which do not exist in traditional Moroccan Muslim culture.
A few more little treasures
The Secret Garden
Close to the Mouassine Mosque, a love at first sight for this superbly elegant place, beautifully restored and maintained.
The Secret Garden pavilions open onto 2 distinct gardens, an exotic garden and an Islamic garden. One is exuberant, the other responds to the rules of strict geometry. My heart rests between the two.
Rue Mouassine 121, Marrakech médina
The House of Photography in Marrakech
It is a small museum installed in a peaceful riad. We go back in time through its collection of superb, moving or surprising old photos. A great address to discover Marrakech and Morocco in a different way, and take a pleasant break on the terrace with a view of the medina.
Rue Ahl Fes, 46 Rue Bin Lafnadek, Marrakech médina
+212 5 24 38 57 21
The World of Adornment Arts
Located in the heart of the Kasbah district, near the tombs of the Saadians and the Baadi Palace, this private museum opened at the end of 2022. The World of Adornment Arts has a fabulous collection of jewels and finery beautifully displayed. We are amazed throughout the visit which takes place in a contemporary setting inspired by the riads of medieval times.
39, 40 Rue Touareg, Ksibat Nhass, Marrakech médina
+212 524 44 62 39
If you are discovering the Medina for the first time it may be a good idea to take a guide to save time and see the main points of interest. Good guides know the history of the Medina well and like to share their passion for their city. Choose it carefully and define your visit program with it.