Whilst walking around Marrakech, it is impossible not to notice how many of the doors, window shutters and wooden tables are carefully adorned with exquisite carvings or intricately painted tessellated patterns. These humble items extend far beyond their functional use: the beautiful designs, that are so unique to the region, represent a certain respect for traditional design and artisanal techniques that is prevalent throughout society.
Where it is easy to find small stalls in the Souks inhabited by skilled workers making beautiful wooden item like small boxes or chess sets, items that are perfect for souvenirs, it is perhaps more difficult to find the workshops that make the larger items like the Riad doors, the carved wooden panelling and so on. Located a short walk form the Jemaa el-Fna square, just metres away from Dar Habiba we found Abdil’s workshop. Abdil, a quiet man of little words, invited us into his space to show us his work: we looked through a series of beautifully painted panels that he uses as samples to demonstrate his work to clients before he showed us a carved doorframe he was currently working on for a Riad renovation. He explained that he mainly works for local businesses, but he has in the past also worked for visitors to Marrakech who wanted to take home a unique item to furnish their house. Perhaps you will need more than the basic hand luggage allowance to take home such an item, but a custom-made piece of artisanal history would maybe be the greatest souvenir of all.
Abdil’s shop is located just off the ‘Woodworking’ Medina Walk on the free MarrakechRiad app; but it is well worth the detour, especially if you are interested in bringing home a special memory of Morocco. If you would like to find out more about the free MarrakechRiad app, the ‘Woodworking’ walk or any of our other Medina walks then our Riad staff would be happy to help.
We are pleased to support the Arnold foundation for Rugby school which funds a boarding school education for a great many students who would not otherwise have access to this truly life changing opportunity.
Among the prizes at a recent charity auction was a luxury break at our Riad Cinnamon. Bidders were extremely generous and the evening raised almost enough to fund a student for a full year.
Our budget Marrakech package allows guests to enjoy the Traditonal Riad Dar Habiba and our famous hospitality for a three night stay at the fabulous price of just £99 per person (Euros 119). Don’t delay, make contact today!
* Arrival transfer from Marrakech airport.
* Complimentary orange blossom fragrance toiletries.
* Room equipped with fine cotton sheets, towels and bathrobes, room safe, ipod dock, hairdryer and of course airconditioning.
* Fantastic Moroccan breakfasts served at the time of your choice
* Full use of the Riad facilities including the stunning roof terrace, sitting room with satellite tv, and traditional Riad Courtyard with dipping pool.
* Complimentary mint tea throughout your stay.
* The loan of a local pay as you go phone for the duration of your stay and the support of our Riad staff providing a complete concierge service.
+ Add a three course arrival dinner for £16 per person. (Euros 19)
+ Add extra nights at £30 per person. (Euros 36)
+ Add an hour long Hammam treatment in the Dar Habiba Hammam at £25 per person (Euros 30).
– Flights to Marrakech.
– Departure transfer to Marrakech airport.
– Travel insurance.
In the year 1912 the French government officially annexed the majority of the kingdom of Morocco via the treaty of Fes. This treaty was the culmination of creeping European influence over what was for a time one of the only non-European controlled parts of Africa at the time, it laid out in direct terms France and Spains control over the country of Morocco.
Marrakech found itself in the French part of Morocco, one of the primary things this meant of course that Marrakech developed a link with the French language that can still be seen today and indeed in the vast majority of Morocco as all signs are in both French and Arabic and the fact that a high number of individuals speak both Arabic and French in most of the service sector as well as in general, indeed the Moroccan dialect of Arabic has been said to be a mixture of Arabic, Berber, French and Spanish, reflecting Morocco’s rich heritage.
French colonial influence is not only seen in the language used by Moroccans but by the actual city of Marrakech itself, the primary example of this is the area of Gueliz which was built by the French and the name is thought to originate from a corruption of the French word eglise, meaning church. This was due to the fact that the French new town was based around the church and therefore the area was associated the locals used the building to refer to the area in general. This area in particular shows particular influences from French architecture with large boulevards and French style cafés, restaurants and bars.
Particular examples of a French style café in Gueliz is the Grande Café de poste and in the medina Café France. Both are old colonial buildings that as businesses have decided to retain the colonial aesthetic in order to attract customers and achieve a certain ambience. To summarise although Morocco became independent in 1956 the cultural heritage of French colonial rule is still very much evident from the fact that the language is still dominant to the fact that one can sit down in a Continental style café and have a café au lait. Consequently Marrakech has a very interesting mixture of ambience as one can in a 10 minute walk go from the archetype of North African towns that the Medina represents to European style boulevards and Cafés that would not look completely amiss in Spain or the South of France, in the shape of the area of Gueliz. This contributes to making Marrakech one of the most vibrant and interesting cities in the world.
If you are planning a visit to Marrakech don’t miss the opportunity to stay in a Riad hotel in the vibrant old town, just minutes walk from the celebrated Jemma al Fnaa Square.
Our Marrakech Riads offer a perfect holiday, whether for couples, families or larger groups.
Magical Riad Papillon has five rooms all of which can be twin beds. The Riad had hosted fantastic group holidays from Hen weekends to family thanksgiving vacations.
Don’t delay, make contact today!
Sunday March 25, 2012 sees the welcome return after a winter break of Ryanairs direct flight from East Midlands Airport to Marrakech.
With Ryanair’s famously low fares and our special offers, for those lucky enough to live within reach of East Midlands Airport a luxury break to Marrakech has never been more affordable! Reserve your accommodation today!
Download our free iPhone App now available in iTunes. Marrakech Tourist information and an introduction to our Riad hotels.
Coming soon for android.
We have had the pleasure of welcoming many guests from Norway. In the best Marrakech tradition those who arrive as guests usually leave as friends.
Marrakech Riad are grateful to our friend Bjorn Loeden, a gifted photographer, for kindly allowing us to show a selection of his images of the Red City, we hope you enjoy them as much as we do. Bjorn and his delightful wife Sunni based themselves with us at Riad Papillon for a month in the winter of 2010. What better way to escape the harsh Norwegian winter.