Commissioned by Ali Ben Yousef back in 1126, the ramparts that surround Marrakech’s old town have become the symbol of the red city. Standing at 8-10m high they once provided protection for the inhabitants of Marrakech and, until the early 20th century, the 10 gates that give access to the Medina (Marrakech’s old town) were locked every night. Today, the ramparts are a lot more welcoming. You will find that they are often lined with neat hedgerows, rose gardens and benches; indeed they have become a popular meeting and resting place for many locals.
You may notice that the walls themselves are marked with numerous holes. Where you could be fooled into believing that these holes were formed by canon blasts or birds looking for somewhere to nest, they are actually used to place scaffolding for restoration. Of course the ramparts have been extensively restored since their conception; indeed the reconstruction is a continual process as the pisé-cement walls, made of the red earth of the Haouz plains, gradually crumble.
To discover the ramparts you can take a caléche (a hourse drawn cart), for a four-hour ride including walking breaks at points of interest.
Inaugurated on 19th of September 2001 by His Majesty King Mohammed VI, the Théâtre Royal de Marrakech has worked to secure the red city’s reputation as one of the major artistic and cultural focal points of the world. Inside it’s impressive 1200-seat open-air theatre and 800-seat opera house, the theatre hosts a variety of national and international cultural events including opera, ballet and musical performances. Although the majority of these performances are in Arabic or French, even if you are not gifted with the ability to speak either language the Royal Theatre still has a lot to offer. The entrance hall often houses a variety of painting, sculpture and photography exhibitions. Indeed, the impressive architecture alone is worth the visit.
Built by Tunisian architect Charles Boccara, the Royal Theatre combines the traditional aesthetic design of arabic architecture with traces of modern influence. The imposing dome and grand marble pillars provides an immediate sense of awe which is matched by the interior entrance hall and auditorium. This is a truly outstanding monument; it is easy to see how this building has become the pride and joy of the Marrakchis.
Located in the modern Guiliez quarter, across the road from the Marrakech central train station, our Riad staff are happy to help you find transport to the theatre and can even call ahead to inquire about which performances and exhibitions that are available during your stay.