One of the highlights in visiting Morocco is checking out the medina of various cities. What is a medina, you ask? Well, it is the old part of a city; a medina is normally walled with tons of narrow streets. They can be amazing to explore with markets, grand and not-so-grand buildings, underpasses and arches, and, of course, a sea of humanity. One Moroccan medina visited by most tourists is in Marrakesh.
Marrakesh’s medina, just like the one in Essaouira, is a UNESCO Heritage Site. Founded in 1070, it has remained important ever since. Despite its long history, I didn’t find that Marrakesh had many “big” things for a visitor to check out. If you’re focused, I think one could see the medina in two days. Three days would be more than enough if you prefer to take a leisurely tour of the area as well as take in an evening food tour. The main sites in Marrakesh’s medina that would be of interest to a visitor include (if purple, click on the name for more details):
- Ben Youssef Madrasa
- El Badi Palace
- Bahia Palace
- Saadian Tombs
- Place Jamaâ El Fna
- Jewish Quarter
- Koutoubiya Mosque (if you are not Muslim, you cannot visit inside this mosque; besides the huge mosque in Casablanca, the only other mosque a non-Muslim can visit in Morocco is Tin Mal).
In my opinion, visiting the medina in Marrakesh is more about wandering the narrow windy streets rather than seeing actual sites. For me, this is how I got a better feel for the city and its history. As you wander Marrakesh’s medina on your own trip, keep your eyes peeled for grand doors, gardens, arches, markets, colours, and cats. Here are 30 photos from my Marrakesh collection; I think they will give you an idea what the city’s medina is like.
Tip: If you need recommendations on where to stay in Marrakesh’s medina, check out this post.
Tip: If you found yourself overwhelmed on your visit to Marrakesh’s medina, why not check out the medina in Essaouira. It is much smaller and much calmer. While the medina in Marrakesh was cool in its own way, as an introvert, I definitely preferred Essaouira’s quieter medina.