Marrakesh – a kingdom unto itself

It takes four hours from Rabat to Marrakesh. The road goes through Casablanca and what a better way to pass the time then to watch the movie Casablanca!  As Rick was saying goodbye to Ilsa we entered the red city. The first stop when we arrived to Marrakesh was Jardin de Majorelle or as it is known: YSL garden. In 1923 Jacques Majorelle decided to live in Marrakesh, he purchased a palm grove and asked the architect Paul Sinoir to build an artist studio in Art Deco style. In 1980 YSL acquired the garden and restored it and installed a Berber museum in it. The “Majorelle Blue” with green palm trees and cactus cast a magic spell when you enter  the garden. It is the perfect first step into this mysterious city.


Marrakesh is more of a tourist city then the other cities we visited. The weather is warmer and there are palm trees everywhere.

We continued with a tour of the mellah and visited the only synagogue left inside the walls . There used to be 35 synagogues. As the community shrunk they closed. We were told that there is a daily minyan.

When I found out that the Marrakesh Biennale will take place during our trip I booked a tour. Their Biennale is spread among five sites. We visited two of them which were located in old palaces. I will write about the art in a different post. As it is Friday we got ready for shabbat and joined the Ohayon family for Kabalat Shabbat.

Marrakesh is known for palaces and magnificent hotels. We visited the Mamounia hotel and had a cooking class at La Madison Arab . I  know there are many more palaces and grant hotels to explore and we only scratched the surface.

Saturday morning we drove towards the Atlas Mountains to visit a Berber village. The guide explained that that the Jews arrived to Morroco as merchants and settled in small villages all around the mountains. These are humble dwellings. The houses were build from mud. We visited Zohara who demonstrated the art of making Moroccan tea. As a tea lover I found it fascinating as she did not use any measuring but only her hands and estimated the timing by the color.

The medina in Marrakesh starts with the Djemaa El Fena  Square. Water sellers, fortune tellers, snake charmers and henna ladies welcome the visitor even before entering the shouk. I was looking for the traditional tea pot which I found and got some glasses. I will practice the Moroccan tea serving with the mint from my garden.

The trip is almost over. It’s been an incredible journey. This country is mysterious  yet magical, complex and intriguing.

There is more to explore so maybe I will be back…

 

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