Interesting Facts About Marrakech
Interesting Facts About Marrakech: Marrakech is a city like no other. Steeped in history, this North African tourist mecca is a must-see experience on any serious traveler’s list of magical resorts. The beautiful architecture, mosques, palaces, gardens, sacred ruins, charming souks, delicious cuisine, tantalizing smells and interesting people make Marrakech such a captivating city.
Much has been written about Marrakech and there are a multitude of blogs and travel sites offering information (including ours!) on what to do in this enchanting city, where to stay and many other useful tips for your visit.
So here are some of the lesser-reported facts about Marrakech:
FACTS ABOUT MARRAKECH: THE CITY:
Marrakech is not the capital of Morocco. Rabat is the capital. Nor is it the oldest city in Morocco. That honor belongs to Fez. Marrakech is, however, one of the four imperial cities of Moroccan history. The ancient city of Marrakech was founded in 1062 by the religious nomads known as the Almoravids. The name Marrakech derives from the Berber language ‘mur (n) akush’, meaning Land of God.
The ancient medina was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985 for its impressive architecture and art.
Winston Churchill was captivated by Marrakech when he visited the city in the 1930s and 1940s, even spending some time in the city with US President Franklin Roosevelt during the war.
Watching the sunset from the roof of the villa where they stayed in Marrakech, Churchill proclaimed it to be “the most beautiful place in the world”. It was here that Churchill painted his only picture during the war: “The Tower of the Katoubia Mosque“.
FACTS ABOUT MARRAKECH: LANGUAGE:
Although the majority of residents in Marrakech are Arab or Berber, you’ll find that many people in Marrakech are multilingual. Many Moroccans can spot your nationality before they start talking!
The most common language spoken in Marrakech is Moroccan Arabic, but many locals also use Berber, as well as French and English. You’d be surprised how many languages the average Marrakesh resident speaks.
More information about your Morocco Tours
FACTS ABOUT MARRAKECH: PEACEFUL PLACES:
Marrakech has a reputation for being busy and noisy, especially in the evenings in and around Djemaa El Fna (Marrakech’s main square). While the city’s creative and evocative energy is good for the soul, you’ll probably feel the need to escape if you stay in the city for more than a couple of days.
This doesn’t mean you have to leave the city altogether. In fact, there are some surprisingly peaceful spots in the old red city itself. First of all, when you’re in Marrakech, the only way to get an authentic Moroccan experience is to eat in a riad restaurant – we recommend the Jardins de la Médina restaurant.
As you stroll through the old town, settle into a tourist stop offering an oasis of peace and relax from the hustle and bustle of this extraordinary city. Take a break in the Majorelle Garden, or in the north-west of the city, discover the exotic, peaceful gardens of the Secret Garden.
FACTS ABOUT MARRAKECH: MODERN MARRAKECH:
Think of Marrakech and conjure up images of the old red-walled medina. Marrakech has a modern side too. The Guéliz area is home to the shopping district and a residential zone.
It’s in Guéliz that you’ll find wide avenues with European-style buildings, modern stores, luxury boutiques and upscale cafés and restaurants. There’s an interesting fusion of French and Moroccan architecture in the Guéliz district, and a completely different atmosphere.
THE ATLAS MOUNTAINS AND BERBER VILLAGES NEARBY:
Marrakech lies just 50 km north of North Africa’s highest peak in the High Atlas Mountains, Mount Toubkal. The snow-capped mountains are visible from many of the city’s rooftops. Just a 90-minute drive from Marrakech, the Atlas Mountains are easy to visit and explore on foot on day or multi-day hikes.
It’s also possible to visit traditional Berber villages on an excursion to the Atlas Mountains. Most organized day trips to the mountains include a stop at a Berber village. Day trips to the Atlas Mountains are popular and offer a welcome break from the all-too-frequent overwhelming buzz of Marrakech.
The most popular base for hikers looking for multi-day adventures or for the summit of Mount Toubkal is Imlil.
Interesting Facts About Marrakech: MARRAKECH AT THE MOVIES:
Marrakech is an epic city, so it’s no surprise that it’s a favorite location for many film producers. Films shot in the city include scenes from :
The Man Who Knew Too Much – starring James Stewart and the late Doris Day. This Alfred Hitchcock classic makes good use of the famous Mamounia Hotel.
The Mummy, starring Rachel Weisz and Brendan Fraser. In the first (and best!) installment of The Mummy franchise, Marrakech replaced Cairo, while the desert scenes were all shot in the Moroccan Sahara.
Hideous Kinky – starring Kate Winslet. This film really uses Marrakech, from the souks to the backstage areas of local houses, as a character rather than just a backdrop.
Interesting Facts About Marrakech
Sex and the City 2 – with Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis as your favorite New York quartet. Although the film claims to be set in Abu Dhabi, the souks of Marrakech and a few high-end hotels are just as obvious.
Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible 5: Rogue Nation. They actually closed the highway between Agadir and Marrakech for two weeks to shoot a high-speed chase scene. They also filmed in Rabat and Casablanca.