Daily Life Tour in Marrakech (Self Guided), Marrakech

Marrakech is considered a living museum, including narrow streets running up and down, noisy souk with fierce bargaining,and imposing palaces with rich architecture standing right next to humble houses. This tour will take you to the most common places for a local citizen of Marrakech. It will show you where locals work, study, pray, and have fun. So do not hesitate to discover Marrakech by taking this "Daily Life" tour.
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Daily Life Tour in Marrakech Map

Guide Name: Daily Life Tour in Marrakech
Guide Location: Morocco » Marrakech (See other walking tours in Marrakech)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.0 Km or 3.1 Miles
Author: ann
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Mansouria Mosque
  • Koutoubia Mosque and Minaret
  • Jemaa el-Fnaa
  • Rahba Kedima Square
  • Souk Zrabia
  • Mohammed V High School
  • Hammam Bab Doukkala
  • Cyber Park
1
Mansouria Mosque

1) Mansouria Mosque

Mansouria Mosque was built by Yakub al-Mansur, the Victorious. It is also known as the Kasbah Mosque and is located in the vicinity of Bab Agnaou. Mansouria Mosque is one of the city's most popular mosques. There is no access for non-Muslims, but you can admire the impressive architecture from the outside.
2
Koutoubia Mosque and Minaret

2) Koutoubia Mosque and Minaret (must see)

The Koutoubia Mosque and Minaret isn’t open to non-Muslims, but there is nothing to stop you from taking photos and admiring this magnificent building, especially at night when it is dramatically lit-up.

When the Almoravides founded the city in the 11th century, they built a mosque, smaller than the present one, but when they were defeated by the Almohades in 1147, the new rulers considered the mosque “unclean” and had it pulled down.

They then built their own “pure” mosque, but due to a planning error, the qiblah wall, which is supposed to be set perpendicular to a line leading to the Mecca, was badly orientated and the Mihrab was off course. Instead of simply adjusting their praying position to be facing the Mecca, the Almohades built a second, larger building alongside and the other eventually fell into ruins.

The Minaret is the oldest of the surviving Almohades towers; it is 13 meters wide and 69 meters high, with six rooms set one on top of the other. Each level is reached by ramps around the rooms.

On the minaret’s roof you will see four golden globes: according to legend, at first there were only three globes, but the wife of a Sultan broke her fast before sunset during the Ramadan and had to give up her jewels as penitence. These were melted down and became the 4th globe. The present globes are made of copper.

Why You Should Visit:
You can't miss one of Morocco's biggest mosques!

Tip:
The building should be viewed both day and night as it takes on different personalities dependant on the time of day.
Make sure that you walk around the entire mosque, as there are picturesque views all around it.
Probably wiser to avoid Friday until after 3pm-ish as there are special prayers on Friday.
Don't miss the gardens behind – perfect place for a good glass of mint tea and to watch the world go by.
3
Jemaa el-Fnaa

3) Jemaa el-Fnaa (must see)

Jemaa el-Fnaa is the busiest and most visited of the squares in the Medina quarter of Marrakech and you will love it at any time of the day or night.

The square has been the central marketplace, commercial area and meeting place since the founding of the city in 1072. When the Almoravides dynasty was overthrown by the Almohades in 1147, a lot of the city and its buildings were destroyed, but the marketplace was quickly restored.

Along one side of the square are the famous souks, on the other sides are hotels, gardens and terrace cafés. There is always a great ambiance here and lots of people and noise.

During the day you can buy fresh orange juice or water from sellers dressed in traditional costume and bearing authentic leather water-skins and brass cups. There is a lot to see, with Barbary Macaques who perform tricks or sit on your shoulder while you have your photo taken. There are amazing snake charmers and acrobats.

In the early evening, the juice sellers move on and their place is taken by bands playing all sorts of music to which young Chleuh boys dance to amuse the public. Storytellers settle down to regale locals with their tales (sadly not in English), magicians practice their art and medicine men sell plant remedies.

At night, the music steps up a beat while food stalls are installed and the square becomes a huge open-air restaurant. The stalls are numbered, so once you have found the one for you, don’t forget to jot down its number for when you return to this lively square.

Why You Should Visit:
Totally in line with expectations. Ever since the trade routes, this square has been the meeting point and it still bursts with energy and trade vibes. Noisy and exotic.

Tips:
There are many food stalls with traditional food, although these have much higher risks of illness than restaurant food. Select a busy restaurant with locals in it (best and authentic food) and enjoy.
The other option is to eat at one of the several rooftop restaurants surrounding the square. Great view of the action but less confronting, though slightly more expensive.
Beware of pushy salespeople, "free offers", people with animals (e.g. monkeys, snakes), pickpockets, motorbikes, bicycles and carts.
If you visit at night, don't shop – it's too busy to do much. Just walk and enjoy the atmosphere. During the day (ideally morning when it is cool) is the best time to shop & bargain (bargain hard!).
Consider hiring a guide. Expect to pay $40 for 3-4 hours (agree on this when hiring) as the Jemaa is massive and it is very easy to get lost. Make sure you tell the guide what you want to see.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 6am-1am
4
Rahba Kedima Square

4) Rahba Kedima Square (must see)

If you want to get the feeling of stepping back in time to early Marrakech, you don’t have to look further than the Rahba Kedima.

This is one of the best market squares in the Medina district of the city. It is really more of a triangle than a square and is more exciting and friendly than the souks.

The sellers set up their wares on the ground or on trestle tables and they are always happy to haggle. They all seem less harried and happier than the sellers in the over-crowded souks and you are certain to find a great bargain here.

You will find traditional hand-woven baskets, raffia bags and a superb array of brightly colored woolly hats. Some of the stands offer a mind-boggling range of goods: dried scorpions, leeches for medicinal purposes, snails (whose slime, you will be assured, does wonders against wrinkles) and other strange and sometimes rather repulsive objects used for witchcraft and black magic.

The square is lined with rug shops and spice shops selling all kinds of exotic herbs and spices. Some shops sell animals – chameleons and other lizards and tortoises. Don’t forget that it is illegal to take these animals home with you, due to quarantine laws, so don’t get carried away and tempted by the low prices.

When you have finished your shopping, do go and have a coffee or a mint tea in the famous Café des Epices, which also sells sandwiches and snacks.

Why You Should Visit:
Like any bazaar, this market square has quite an impact and will keep you spellbound.
It's very easy to lose yourself in the array of Moroccan articles, spices and smells.
More sophisticated and stylish than other, busier spots.

Tip:
The owners here are a bit more aggressive than in the souks – some will try to chase you down to buy stuff.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 7am-6pm
5
Souk Zrabia

5) Souk Zrabia

Marrakech markets are known for their colorful handmade carpets, so it's no surprise that much of the local population is involved in making them. Souk Zrabia, or Le Criée Berbère, is found on the left side of the Rahba Kedima. Here you will find handmade carpets, brightly painted at a reasonable price, and a lot of colorful shoes, quite a change from the pre-French Occupation slave markets.
6
Mohammed V High School

6) Mohammed V High School

Mohammed V High School is a traditional Koranic educational institution, and is among the oldest in Marrakech. Located on El Gza Street, it is named after Mohammed V, the Sultan of Morocco from 1927 to 1953, and the King of Morocco from 1957 to 1961.
7
Hammam Bab Doukkala

7) Hammam Bab Doukkala (must see)

Hammam represents a Middle Eastern variant of a steam bath. Locals go to a hammam at least once a week. Hammam Bab Doukkala is among the oldest in Marrakech. This cute community steam bath dates back to the 17th century. It is located on the Bab Doukkala street in the Medina.

Tip:
Bring some traditional Moroccan soap, a scrubbing mitt, a towel, two pairs of underwear, flip-flops, shampoo, and maybe a plastic mat to sit on.
Women's hours are from noon until 7pm, while men's are early morning and later in the evening (10/11pm).
Massages are also available.
8
Cyber Park

8) Cyber Park

One great thing about Marrakech is that it is a successful mixture of the ancient and the modern and uses today’s technology in an innovative way. This is borne out in the amazing Cyber Park.

The park is spread out over 8 acres and if you decide to take a picnic there, don’t be surprised to see people happily tapping away on their laptops, as there is access to Wi-Fi throughout the park.

If you fancy sending an email to your friends and don’t have a laptop, you will find computer stations at convenient points around the park. There is also an interactive map and educational information available to everyone. You can also visit the small but interesting Museum of Telecommunications managed by Morocco Telecom.

The park was created in the 18th century by Prince Moulay Abdeslam as his personnel orchard producing dates, olives and other fruit. During the French Protectorate the park was enlarged and beautified with rose bushes, emerald green lawns, conifers and palms. They also installed four basins and fountains.

It was abandoned in the mid twentieth century until it was taken in hand by the Mohammed VI Foundation and reopened in 2005. There are plenty of benches were you can relax in the shade and enjoy this splendid park, or you can visit it in one of the horse drawn carriages that are for hire.

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