Once you have followed the small sign off Rue Mouassine, worked your way through the alleyways and knocked on the almost anonymous door to be let in, you are greeted with a warm welcome and an amazing interior.
Dar Cherifa can be found in one of the oldest Riads in Marrakech, dating back to the Saadian times. It has recently been lovingly restored by Abdelatif Ben Abdellah, one of the key figures behind the rejuvenation of the Medina. One thing that firsts strikes you about Dar Cherifa is the incredible use of space: there is a mix of bare untouched walls and original craftsmanship, with a unique centerpiece that hangs above the Riad before the blue Moroccan sky. Alongside some of the best Arabic architecture in Marrakech, the art itself is equally unique and is of a very high standard. Yet, unlike the larger contemporary galleries around the world, the fact that Dar Cherifa focuses on local talent makes it all the more unique.
Although the price of the artwork on display cost a fair bit more than your average postcard and probably won’t make it onto your souvenir list, the food and drink is very reasonably priced and we were given space, time and freedom to look round the gallery at our own leisure. Dar Cherifa is a space of culture that is accessible for everyone, well worth a visit.
The Khalid Art Gallery is becoming somewhat of an institution in Marrakech. Located on Dar el Basha in a traditional Riad, the Art Gallery (perhaps more accurately defined as a shop) is bursting with some of the most sought after Moroccan antiques and exquisite artisanal products that Marrakech has to offer. It is easy to see why it has become so popular with the international jet set.
The Khalid Art Gallery Riad has now been joined by a smaller, more compact gallery dedicated to a vast collection of exquisitely restored and lovingly made jewellery and fine metalwork. Rasheed, pictured above, invited us into the smaller Khalid Art Gallery to show us around. He told us that this second shop, located just 100m down the road from the main Khalid Art Gallery Riad, has only been open for a year before picking out his favourite pieces of Jewelry and explaining the cultural significance and origin of the design and how each piece is made.
However, if you are looking for larger souvenir to decorate your home – perhaps a traditionally painted clay vase or a wrought iron design – then it is definitely the larger Khalid Art Gallery you are after. In fact, the Khalid Art Gallery is located on our ‘Iron and Clay’ Medina walk available on our free MarrakechRiad app. In this way, the Khalid Art Gallery is perhaps the perfect place to look round during the Iron and Clay’ walk as it demonstrates the artistic heights that these two traditional art forms can reach.
The Hamsa symbol, also known as the hand of fatima, can be found all across the Arabic and North African world and you will repeatedly see the amulet throughout your stay in Morrocco. Most Moroccans believe that the Hamsa, or Khomisa as it is known locally, acts as a form of protection from evil, whilst others see it as a sign of good luck. The Khomisa finds it’s origins in the form of a salutation; that is when someone raises their hand to say hello to a friend. It is often said that when one raises their hand in a welcoming gesture it also functions as a kind of protection from his eyes and that is why there is an eye in the middle of every Khmisa.
Elegant jewelry and other exquisite items bearing the Khomisa can be found from stalls around the Jemaa al-Fna and the Artiste Ensamble so you can bring home a piece of Moroccan good luck and protection back home. Alternatively, why not head to Henna Cafe and ask for a Henna Khomisa so that you can wear this beautiful symbol throughout your stay?
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.