The bustling heart of Marrakesh is for sure the central square, known as the Place Djema El-Fna. This is basically where the city comes alive. Expect to see cafes, snake charmers, market stalls, souvenirs places, tea shops and all sorts of cool and unusual things. The square is large and seemed very safe on my visit. Try and visit it during the night and the day as the vibe can be different.
There are a few decent cafes here with a view of the square.
2.Ali Ben Yousseff Madrasa
The Ben Youssef Madrasa is the largest Madrasa in the whole of Morocco and well worth a visit. Admittedly I have backpacked through dozens of Madrasas on my travels including in Azerbaijan, Iraq, Iran, Uzbekistan and Saudi Arabia. However, it’s still worth checking this place out. It was an Islamic college named after the Almoravid Sultan Ali ibn Yusuf (reigned 1106–1142), who expanded the city and its influence considerably in the history of Morocco.
I normally try to visit at least one mosque when I am in Islamic countries and Morocco was no different. I headed to the Koutoubia Mosque. The Mosque is only a short walk from Djemma El-Fna square.
The mosque stands tall and obvious in an otherwise low lying Marrakesh skyline. It has curved windows, a large and wide minaret (77 metres high) and a spire. This mosque is one of the most visited in the city and sits in fromt of gardens and a square. At night it is lit up. It was completed under the reign of the Berber Almohad Caliph Yaqub al-Mansur between 1184 and 1199, and has inspired other buildings such as the Giralda in Sevilla (Spain) and the Hassan Tower in Rabat.
There are some truly elaborate palaces and gardens in Marrakesh including the Bahia Palace. It was built in the late 19th century, and is a huge complex which is meant to represent both Moroccan and Islamic style. The library is worth checking out, as is the courtyard. The complex is larger than 2 acres in size so I didn’t backpack all of it.
The Saadian princes were buried here in this tomb which is located beside the Kasbah Mosque. The walls are typically Islamic and the complex has been kept in superb condition despite the fact it dates back to the 1500s.
As well as touring these sights, I also visited a few bars and cafes in Marrakesh. It’s a city that surprised me a lot – here are a few more photos of it.