"A person often meets his destinity on the road he took to avoid it..." - Jean de La Fontaine
Day 09: 20 Nov 2012
After breakfast we started our tour of Marrakesh, the second oldest city of Morocco and also known as the “Southern Pearl”. It is situated in the interior of middle Morocco, just north of the High Atlas mountains, on the Haouz plain and south of the seasonal river Wadi Tensift. Marrakesh is a Berber city, with little influence by Arabs. Marrakech has been the capital of Morocco, as well as for smaller countries up through history. There are many monuments in Marrakesh, most famous is the Koutoubia mosque, the old city, the souk and the Jamaa El-Finaa that attract most tourists. It is from Marrakesh that Morocco has received its modern name.
Our visits include Bahia Palaces and Manara Gardens swimming pool. As the black slave Abu Ahmed rose to power and wealth towards the end of the 19th century, he had the El-Bahia palace built by bringing craftsmen from Fez. The structures tell a lot about the taste of the nouveau-riche of its time, and the high protective wall appears intimidating. The Saadian tombs belong mainly to the 16th century, dominated by koubbas to indicate the burial grounds of members of the Saadian royal family.
There two main mausoleums here, the finest was built to house Ahmad-Mansur, the second was built for his mother, Lalla Messaouda. The mausoleum of al-Mansur is made up of three small halls, and 66 children, wives and concubines of the royal family were buried here. Right outside, there are about 100 more tombs.
We visited the Menara Garderns, set slightly out of town. It offers not only a pleasant escape from bustling Marrakesh, it also has one of the most photographed settings of Morocco. This is a romantic place for couples. The pool with the main building, the menza, is the perfect spot in summer to escape from the incredible summer heat of Marrakech. It is adorned with both orchards and olive groves. The pavilion and the basin existed from earlier times, but the present structure was built in the middle of the 19th century.
In the afternoon we were given ample time to wonder around the old medina and the Jemaa el-Finna Square. There is almost always something going on here day and night. During most of the days, performers of every kind put up their shows, continuing until the evening when food trolleys force their way in and occupy half the area and all of the attention of the audience. From the Jemaa there are several entries to the fantastic souks and anyone who needs to relax for a while, there are plenty of café around the Jemaa, where the main attraction is looking at the ongoing activities.
After visiting the Spice and Argan Oil shop it was a free and easy shopping activities for everyone. Later we walked quite a distance for a Moroccan dinner before we boarded the bus back to our hotel for a good rest.