History and Culture

At Marrakech Riad we pride ourselves on offering our guests as much support and information as they require to help them to plan their perfect stay in our beautiful Medina accommodation. Marrakech Morocco, a world heritage site
Marrakech is a culturally rich and diverse city, it has fascinating and complex historical influences. The culture, architecture, cuisine and people of this great red city all reflect the influence of traders, inhabitants and rulers who have gone before. We research and write about interesting facets of this rich historical background. We hope that these pieces of information will help you to gain an understandingof Marrakech before and during your stay with us.

Hospital in Casablanca 1941

In June 1941 Josephine Baker was at her home in Marrakech when she was struck with crippling abdominal pain. French captain Jacques Abtey borrowed a station wagon so that Josephine could lay down for the long ( 350 mile ) journey on uneven roads to the hospital in Casablanca. The date was June 1941, and […]

Tetouan- Marrakech Riad

Ahmed Belbachir Haskouri (1908–1962) was a powerful member of the royal court of Morocco during the protectorate period. He was a prominent figure in Spanish Moroccan history. He was also a great friend of Josephine Baker. Josephine often stopped to visit him in Tetouan, a small coastal town in the North of Morocco when she […]

Riad Star (90)

Frida Kahlo and Josephine Baker are both women who inspire great respect and iconic status. Individually they both flourished as artists in their fields of painting and performance. At a point in history marred by bigotry and racism they reached heights of fame. Josephine and Frida were both known to be bisexual, and when they […]

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The newly built Yves St Laurent fashion museum in Marrakech has been named by the Architectural Digest as one of the most influential buildings of 2017. The new museum displays fashion pieces created  by the iconic fashion designer who loved Marrakech. Designed by the French architecture firm headed by Olivier Marty and Karl Fournier, the […]

Guedra dancers

Guedra represents several aspects of a form of dance which is particular to Southern Morocco, Mauritania and Algeria. The primary meaning of Guedra is cooking pot, when this pot is covered with a stretched leather skin to create a drum, the drum is also known as Guedra. When the drummer plays a beat representing a […]

Ahwash dancers - Marrakech riad

Ahwash dancing is from the areas around Ouarzazatte and the High Atlas mountains. Women in colourful dress stand motionless around a group of men who are in turn sitting around a fire. The men each have “bendir’s (simple wood and skin frame drums)  A piercing cry breaks the silence, and the performance begins. The men […]

UNESCO world heritage top location

African media outlet site Afrika News has ranked the Moroccan Kasbah of Ait Ben Haddou in Ouarzazate as one of the top four most distinguished UNESCO heritage sites across Africa. The famous Kasbah made it to the top of the list ahead of Victoria Falls , Kenya’s lake system, and the Namib Sand Sea. The report stated that “Morocco is one […]

Fodor’s Travel Guide is the world’s largest and professional travel guide book. Marrakech has been placed at the top of its “Travel Go List for 2018.” beating 51 other renowned world holiday destinations to top the 2018 list. “This romantic desert oasis is set to be one of 2018’s most fashionable vacations,” Fodor’s said. “Marrakech really […]

josephine-baker-gif-marrakech riad

In 1927 he lithographer Paul Colin was commissioned to create a portfolio of work representing La Revue Nègre in Paris. He created  Le Tumulte Noir, a potrtfolio of 45 coloured lithographs. The lithographs celebrated Josephine Baker and the cast of the show, showcasing the energy that the black performers generated in jazz age Paris. The […]

New york times 1942 - Josephine Baker - Riad Star

There was much speculation regarding the fate of Josephine Baker, some feared and reported the worst. The New York Times ran an article on December 6 th 1942 declaring that Josephine was safe and living in Marrakech. “JOSEPHINE IS SAFE” “Negro dancer reported dead is living in Morocco. Casablanca Morocco Dec 5th Josephine Baker, the […]

There are those of us who love to explore the world, who seek places where our senses can be filled with wonder. Places where we can delight in the richness and differences of cultures and cities. Those of us who yearn to widen our life experiences of the world. If you are this person we […]

Josephine Baker - Marrakech Riad Star

We love this new book by Mehdi de Graincourt. It’s a wonderfully researched and beautifully presented book in which Mehdi presents the Kingdom of Morocco through the eyes of those visitors through history who found a deep connection and passion for the country. Over several centuries, Morocco has attracted Western writers, painters,composers, singers and artists. […]

Fantasia_by_Gabriel_Veyre

Gabriel Veyre was born in France in 1871 and was an early filmmaker and photographer. Veyre travelled to the Americas and to Japan and China where he created many films and photographs, some of these were shown in 1900 in an exposition in Paris. In 1901 Veyre travelled to Morocco where he was contracted to […]

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Autumn 2017 has not been kind to the Marrakech community in addition to the passing of the iconic Pierre Berge we also lost Mohamed Zkhiri who has a lower profile internationally but was no less widely appreciated in the Red City. Mike and Lucie have fond memories of Mohammed’s hospitality at Dar Yacout, a golden eopoque […]

morocco world cup bid

Morocco has declared its intention to bid for the 2026 FIFA World Cup with a formal proposal to be submitted by 16th March 2018. The 2026 tournament will be the first to be held under a new 48 team format with 16 first round groups of three teams meaning 10 to 12 stadiums will be […]

Pascha steps out by Alfred Dehodencq

Alfred Dehodencq (born 23 April 1822 – 2 January 1882) was a mid-19th-century French Orientalist painter born in Paris. He was known for his vivid oil paintings, especially of Andalusian and North African scenes. He was a student in Paris at the Beaux-Arts. Following a tour of Spain Alfred visited Morocco where he remained for 9 years, where he found […]

white harira soup. Marrakech street food

It’s 3am, and from the silent street we can hear the piercing sound of the harira man’s wake up alarm. He is used to such early starts. In fact, apart from on Friday’s, everyday begins this way. It is still dark, the sun wont rise for another hour yet – so the usually busy and […]

Felt necklaces made and dyed in the souks of Marrakech

Make your way through the open arch portal beside the historic Mouassine fountain, and you will find yourself inside Sebbaghine, Marrakech’s vibrant Souk des teinturiers. (Dyers Souk) If you have a passion for textiles, an eye for colour, or an interest in all things artisanal; then you will certainly enjoy a look at the dyers […]

Ouezzanne Morocco

Emily Keene arrived in Morocco at the age of 24. She was to be governess for an American family with Greek origins by the name of Perdicaris. The Perdicaris family gave lavish parties in their home in Tangier, and it was at one of these parties that Emily met the Cherif of Ouezzanne, hajj Abdeslam […]

yves-saint-laurent-pierre Berge

Sadly the great Pierre Berge passed away on the 8th September 2017, he will be sadly missed in Marrakech. In 1966 Yves St Laurent and Pierre Berge were visiting Marrakech. They were enthralled by the contrasts and the views of the Atlas Mountains. It was on this visit that they purchased their first Moroccan home. […]

The palace of the Glaoui Marrakech

Josephine Baker stayed in Casablanca for medical treatment following a prolonged illness. During her time in hospital in Casablanca she was visited regularly by the Pacha of Marrakech; Thami El Glaoui. Their close relationship was well known, and it was also rumoured that she had miscarried his child, leading to her illness and spell in hospital. […]

Harira in Marrakech, Marrakech riad

The Lcrésé family are famous amongst the locals in Marrakech, for their positive presence in the community. In recent years, they established a successful restaurant, Atay; which is a popular hub amongst residents & tourists. They serve both traditional and continental dishes which are all prepared by their Moroccan chef, using fresh and locally sourced […]

oldest homosapien bones found near marrakech

Fossils recovered from an old mine on a desolate mountain in Morocco have rocked one of the most enduring foundations of the human story: that Homo sapiens arose in a cradle of humankind in East Africa 200,000 years ago. Archaeologists unearthed the bones of at least five people at Jebel Irhoud, a former barite mine […]

Iftar in Morocco

Iftar or Ftour is the shared meal eaten at sunset during Ramadan to break the fasting of the day. Muslims break their fast at the time of the call to prayer for the evening prayer. Iftar is often done as a community, with people gathering to break their fast together. Iftar is taken around sunset. Feeding others […]

What's on Marrakech

The museum of Mouassine is housed in a house from the 17-18th century. The space is used to show exhibitions of the arts of Morocco.From the 15th of May until the 15th of June 2017 there will be an exhibition titled “A spring in the High Atlas.” Showcasing Precious Berber textiles from the High Atlas. […]

Morocco to Timbuktu

“Morocco to Timbuktu – An Arabian Adventure,” BBC  production. Marrakech resident Alice Morrison takes us on an epic travel adventure to discover the salt traders routes of North Africa. Starting her voyage in  Tangier, the Gateway to Europe, Alice uses ancient trading routes into sub-Saharan Africa. Winding her way towards the Sahara via Marrakech and onward […]

Josephine Baker by Alexander calder

Alexander Calder was an artist who created dynamic sculptures using wire. He gained recognition and acclaim for his wire sculptures in Paris in the late 1920s. He once remarked that he ” Thought best in wire”. Dancing on stage wearing a banana skirt, Josephine Baker enthralled the Paris of the 1920s and ’30s.  Alexander Calder was enthralled with […]