Before traveling to Marrakech, I had limited, if any, knowledge of this foreign city and therefore no idea of what to expect of Morocco’s most popular tourist destination. I did have a hunch that English was not a popular language there, judging from the websites I had come across in preparation for my trip (my hunch proved to be right). Now, when I think of Morocco, I picture beautifully-decorated riads hidden behind inconspicuous doors in dusty alleys, wonderfully chaotic and colorful souks, and snow-capped (yes, snow-capped) peaks in the distance.
Morocco is officially known as the Kingdom of Morocco. Morocco is situated in the North Africa. The population of Morocco is about 32 million. The area covered by Morocco is 710,850 kilometers square. The King of Morocco has many powers including the power of dissolving parliaments. The last Parliamentary elections were held on 7 September 2007. The word Morocco is derived from the Spanish Language. Many people called Morocco as Marrakesh which is made of the Barber word. Islamic is the dominating religion in the Morocco. A Jewish community also lived in Morocco. But in the 20th century a large number of peoples who belongs from the Jewish community they left the Morocco and went to the United States and Italy. Islam starts expanded in the 7th century. Uqba ibn Nafi first conquered the North African coastal plain. Arabs brought their culture, Islam, and language with them. Many of Berbers converted their religion. Morocco recovered its sovereignty from France on 2nd March 1956. Morocco celebrated its 50th anniversary on 18 November 2008. Morocco is situated on the coast of Atlantic Ocean. The north of the Morocco is bordered by Spain, and east of the Morocco is bordered by Algeria, and south of the Morocco is boarded by Western Sahara.
Morocco is famous for its wildlife history. Birds are of different types. In Morocco, 454 kinds of birds are discovered. Human introduced five of them and other 156 species are hardly ever or by chance seen. In 1922 the last Barbary Lion was shouting in the Atlas Mountain. The two most important animals of North Africa is in danger. These animals are Atlas bears and Barbary leopard. In Morocco, peoples are living from almost last 200,000 years. Most of the Moroccans are Sunny Muslims. The Muslims are almost the 99.1% of the Moroccan people. The Muslims has conquered the Morocco during 7th and 11th centuries. Barber language is speaking by 15 to 18 millions Moroccans. Morocco’s representative languages are Arabic and Amazigh language. Other languages are also spoken by the peoples are Tachelhit, Tamazight. The official language of Morocco is Arabic and Amazigh language. The Morocco’s military is consists of the Royal Armed Forces. The Royal Army is consisting of Army, Air Force, Navy, Gendarmerie, Auxiliary Forces, Moroccan Royal guard, Marche Verte. The equipment and weapons are highly up to date and modern.
The foreign relations of Morocco are remarkably very good. Morocco is affiliated with Foreign Organizations. Morocco is affiliated with United Nations since 12 November 1956. Morocco is affiliated with Arab League since 1st October 1958. Morocco is also affiliated with World Trade Organization, Mediterranean Dialogue group, Group of 77 and many other foreign organizations. The weather of Morocco is very hot and dry in summers. The winters are also not too much cool. Morocco has 37 provinces and 2 wilayas. The largest urban cities of Morocco are Fes, Rabat-Sale, Marrakesh, Agadir, Tangier, Meknes, Oujda, Tetuan, Casablanca, and kentira. The biggest export of Morocco is phosphorus. Morocco is the third biggest producer of phosphorous. Many Moroccan populations is affiliated with agriculture.
Because we had only one day to spend in Marrakech, my friend and I faced a slight dilemma: go on an excursion to the snow-capped peaks in the distance and miss out on some Marrakech attractions and Marrakech activities, or stay in Marrakech and wish we had gone on an adventure to the mountains. We chose option number two and didn’t regret it. We hadn’t realized there so many things to do in Marrakech!
We spent the day touring the Medina (or old fortified city) on foot. The friendly owners of our riad (or guesthouse) had recommended some sights to visit. So we made our way from the Ali ben Youssef Medersa theological college and the nearby ruins and Marrakech Museum, to the Bahia Palace, some of the top 10 things to do in Marrakech. By the time we reached the Dar si Said Museum, the ornate temples and buildings were getting a little repetitive and have now sort of blended together in my mind. What I do remember, however, is that Marrakech is probably one of the few places where it is colder inside than outside. The weather was exceptional during our stay there – not a cloud in the sky and 25 degrees celcius in the month of February – but inside the ancient constructs, where the sun didn’t shine, it was freezing (ok, not exactly freezing, but it was cold)!
On our way back to our riad, we experienced Djemma el Fna at night. Lets just say we were attacked and branded by henna artists, conned into buying mini handmade camels (well, the vendor’s determination to sell outweighed my desire not to be ripped off), and all-around exhausted by the time we made it out of there. But I’m glad we experienced the square at night, when comes alive, one of the can’t miss free activities in Marrakech.
If you ever go to Morocco, be prepared to be awoken during the night by strange noises. I was not sure whether the noise we were hearing at some obscenely early hour of the morning was being produced by an instrument, animal, or human. We later learned that what we were hearing was the adhan, or Islamic call to prayer, which occurs five times a day. By the time we left, however, these noises became like a comforting background song to the city of Marrakech.
Also, be prepared to eat copious amounts of khobz, or Moroccan bread rolls that appear somewhat squished or flattened. Breakfast was included at our riad, and we ate our khobz and jam every morning in the sunshine upon the rooftop terrace.
If you don’t speak Arabic or French, you might have some trouble getting around Marrakech, as Arabic is the official language, and French, as the second language, seems to have pushed English out of the picture.
Here’s my last tip: if you live in Europe and are looking for somewhere to escape the dreary days of winter, Marrakech is the ideal destination. It’s different (and sunny and hot) enough to make you feel as though you’ve traveled halfway across the world, but close enough (only a three or four hour flight from London) to go for the weekend.