Gueliz Walking Tour, Marrakech

Gueliz Walking Tour (Self Guided), Marrakech

Gueliz, also known as the New City (Nouvelle Ville), is more like the downtown of Marrakech. Here you will definitely feel the Western influence: McDonald's, KFC, brand stores, and even a supermarket. Still, Gueliz is also famous for its art galleries and parks.

We'll start our acquaintance with Gueliz in the El-Harti Gardens (Jnane El Harti), a peaceful oasis amidst the bustling streets, where visitors can relax and enjoy the serene surroundings.

The Royal Theater, a hub of entertainment, is the next prominent landmark to explore in Gueliz. For art enthusiasts, Photo 127 Gallery and Gallery Re are must-visit destinations, showcasing a diverse range of contemporary and traditional Moroccan artwork.

Culture aficionados can also explore the Majorelle Museums, which include the Yves Saint Laurent Museum and the Berber Museum. The former pays tribute to the iconic French fashion designer, Yves Saint Laurent, while the latter delves into the rich Berber heritage, displaying an array of artifacts and textiles.

Finally, if you're looking for a serene escape, you will find it at the nearby Majorelle Garden, with its stunning blue buildings and exotic plant species. This meticulously designed garden offers a peaceful atmosphere for leisurely strolls and Instagram-worthy photos.

Gueliz is a neighborhood where modernity meets tradition, offering a diverse range of experiences for all. So, don't miss out on the opportunity to explore it while in Marrakech. Our self-guided walking tour is a good vehicle for that!
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Gueliz Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Gueliz Walking Tour
Guide Location: Morocco » Marrakech (See other walking tours in Marrakech)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 6
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 Km or 1.9 Miles
Author: ann
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Jnane El Harti
  • Royal Theater
  • Photo 127 Gallery
  • Gallery Re
  • Majorelle Museums (YSL Museum / Berber Museum)
  • Majorelle Garden
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Jnane El Harti

1) Jnane El Harti

Nestled in the heart of Gueliz, the El-Harti Gardens (Jnane El Harti) present an array of attractions. Among Marrakech’s expansive modern gardens, this destination boasts an array of amenities. Playgrounds for children and recreational spots for all are readily available. Yet, what truly sets El-Harti apart is its remarkable collection of plants and blossoms. From the enchanting rose garden to the vibrant array of flora, including colossal palm trees and numerous tree species, the gardens host a diverse botanical panorama. Even a concealed cactus garden thrives within the confines of El-Harti.

As you gaze down the extensive 100-meter water basin adorned with numerous fountains, your eyes are drawn to the distance. Amongst the palm trees, the floodlights of Stade el-Harti emerge, a versatile stadium with a capacity of 20,000 seats. Predominantly serving as the home turf for Kawkab Marrakech football club, it stands tall and visible. For those seeking respite after exploring the Medina and venturing into the new town, these gardens offer an idyllic sanctuary.
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Royal Theater

2) Royal Theater

Situated in the contemporary Guiliez district, opposite the Marrakech central train station, stands the Royal Theater – a highly esteemed hub of culture in Marrakech. Unveiled on the 19th of September 2001 by His Majesty King Mohammed VI, this theater has played a pivotal role in solidifying the red city's renown as a prominent global center for the arts and culture. Within its remarkable premises, featuring a sprawling 1200-seat open-air theater and an elegant 800-seat opera house, a diverse array of domestic and international cultural affairs unfold, encompassing opera, ballet, and musical presentations.

While the majority of these showcases are conducted in either Arabic or French, the Royal Theatre holds allure even for those without proficiency in these languages. The foyer frequently transforms into a gallery for an array of exhibitions, showcasing paintings, sculptures, and photographs. Moreover, the grandeur of the architecture itself is a reason to pay a visit.

Crafted under the vision of Tunisian architect Charles Boccara, the Royal Theatre harmoniously melds traditional Arabic design aesthetics with contemporary influences. The commanding dome and majestic marble columns evoke an immediate sense of wonder, a sentiment that resonates throughout the interior entrance hall and auditorium. Truly, this stands as an exceptional monument; its status as a source of pride and delight for the people of Marrakech is readily apparent.
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Photo 127 Gallery

3) Photo 127 Gallery

The Photo 127 Gallery is situated within the historical precinct of Guéliz, which is currently undergoing a significant economic and commercial surge. This neighborhood is actively embraced by innovators, including stylists, designers, and architects. The gallery is housed on the second floor of an Art Deco edifice, positioned across from the former Central Market site.

Embracing a thoroughly contemporary ethos, the spacious dimensions – encompassing an area of 100 square meters with a ceiling height of 4 meters – allow for the showcasing of both large-format images and more intimate pieces. Situated within an apartment setting, Galerie 127 warmly welcomes collectors, enthusiasts, and distinguished visitors by extending accessible opening hours to the general public.

Gallery 127 stands as a testament to contemporary photography. Within its walls, a diverse array of works from local and international photographers is presented. Gallery 127 caters to a wide audience, offering a spectrum ranging from traditional Moroccan cultural depictions to modern interpretations of the nation.

In 2006, Nathalie Locatelli founded the gallery subsequent to her involvement in shaping architectural concepts for Cartier boutiques. Her personal passion for contemporary photography compelled her to embark on this independent project.

At Gallery 127, a regular roster of photography master classes is held, encompassing both modern photographic techniques and the classic art of developing film-based photographs.
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Gallery Re

4) Gallery Re

Marrakech, an ancient imperial city in Morocco, stands as a treasured repository of culture. Its vibrant and sprawling souks, historical architecture, bustling medina, and the lively energy of Djemaa el Fna, the grand central square, collectively define its allure.

In this captivating city, there exists an abundance of avenues through which one can delve into its history, heritage, populace, and traditions. A diverse array of museums caters to varied interests, enabling an immersive exploration of Marrakech's multifaceted identity. For those passionate about the arts, the Gueliz neighborhood serves as a true sanctuary. Within its vibrant artistic community, a variety of galleries come together to exhibit enthralling and frequently mystifying works of art.

Among Gueliz' contemporary art galleries, Galerie Re stands out. Situated at the intersection of Mosque and Ibn Toummert streets, this gallery finds its home within the Al Andalous III Residence, a two-story edifice. The gallery's exhibits undergo regular transformations, ensuring a dynamic experience for visitors. Within its walls, one can uncover captivating artworks from both local Moroccan talents and international artists. The collection spans across paintings, photographs, and sculptures, each piece offering its own unique narrative.
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Majorelle Museums (YSL Museum / Berber Museum)

5) Majorelle Museums (YSL Museum / Berber Museum) (must see)

If you have any interest in fashion, you'll definitely want to check out the Majorelle Garden's Yves Saint Laurent Musem. The garden itself, abundant with varied and unusually-shaped cacti and palm trees, had been taken over and revived by YSL years after the death of the artist Jacques Majorelle, and you can spend several hours transfixed by its magical beauty. The stunning YSL Museum is also breathtaking, featuring fully accessorized and clothed black mannequins, exhibiting the strong influence Moroccan colors and textiles had on YSL's design aesthetics. There is also a large display case with YSL's iconic jewelry and other accessories, as well as a wonderful and informative short movie to view and a changing art exhibit that features one artist.

The Berber Museum, on the other hand, provides a comprehensive overview of the traditional dress and ornamentation of the Berber people. It is only small but the interest value is huge, and you can stand and inspect (if the crowds of people allow) the costumes and jewels closely in a way that you can't when you see people on the street wearing the same things – they certainly don't like being photographed. And actually, for that matter, no photography is allowed in the museum; however, in this collection, you can clearly see some of the vast source of YSL's inspiration.

Tip:
Avoid the long queue at the ticket booth for the Jardin Majorelle and head straight for their website (or the on-site YSL museum), where you can buy combination tickets of museums and garden (note that online purchases must be made at least 24 hours prior the visit).
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Majorelle Garden

6) Majorelle Garden (must see)

When you visit the Museum of Islamic Art, you will first go through Majorelle Gardens and it is a good place to linger for a while.

Jacques Majorelle was a French artist, specializing in Art Nouveau paintings. He lived in Morocco for many years in his lovely house in Marrakech, where he laid out the gardens and opened them to the public in 1947.

The beautiful botanical gardens cover 12 acres with the house, which is painted in bold Cobalt called Bleu Majorelle. Most of the stonework in the gardens is in the same color, with jardinières painted in bright yellow, orange and green.

The gardens are home to over 15 different species of native birds, and goldfish, turtles and frogs abound in the ponds. You can follow the shady paths and admire the fountains, or relax on one of the many benches. There is a wonderful bamboo plantation, olive and banana trees, palms and bougainvilleas that add a slash of bright red and pink.

The gardens are an oasis of calm, but likely to be full of visitors, especially during the afternoon. There is a very good café serving mint tea and coffee and a shop where you can buy souvenirs and prints of Majorelle’s work.

After the artist’s death, the gardens became rather overgrown and abandoned-looking. The land was bought in 1980 by Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé, who restored the gardens to their former splendor. Yves Saint Laurent’s ashes were scattered here and there is a small memorial to him. The gardens are now managed by the YSL Foundation.

Why You Should Visit:
Blue is the main color here and it goes beautifully with the different plants and garden settings. Even with some crowds, you can still manage to take a few good pictures.
The YSL memorial, the Berber Museum, the water features, the bookstore, and the café are all fabulous.

Tip:
Buy a combination ticket at the YSL museum about 100 yards down the road. You can skip the line!

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