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.

The Minbar de la Koutoubia at El Badi Palace

Not to be confused with the small fridge found in hotel rooms, a minbar is roughly the Islamic equivalent to a pulpit, the steps an Imam ascends during midday Friday prayers. It follows the form of the stairs used by the Prophet Mohammed to address the faithful in Mecca, and still remains an essential part […]

The Gates of Marrakech- Bab El Debbagh, ‘The Tanners Gate’ Marrakech

Lying to the east of Marrakech, Bab El Debbagh provides entrance to one of the oldest districts of the city, the tanneries. Of all of the 19 gates that puncture the red pisé-cement ramparts of Marrakech, Bab El Debbagh is the only one to be named after a craft, demonstrating the historic importance of the […]

Situated to the north of the world famous Marrakech Souks in Souk Cherifa – a small selection of high-class boutiques – Baboucheshop is a small shop that specialises in hand-made leather fashion items including bags, purses, a range of sandals and, of course, babouche.  The project of Carine and Patrick, two French natives who have […]

satirical art on tablets in Marrakech, Morocco 1

Whilst strolling through the fashionable Kasbah district in the Marrakech Medina, we stumbled across a small shop front covered with vibrant tablets depicting satirical renditions of Moroccan life. The bright colours and intriguing content of the tablets drew us into the shop where we met by Nour-Eddine Boukheir, the shop’s owner and artist responsible for […]

Souk Cherifa Marrakech

Situated to the north of the world famous Marrakech Souks, under the Terraces des Epices restaurant and very close to Riad Star and Riad Cinnamon is Souk Cherifa, a small collection of high end boutiques selling stylish, modern and quirky interpretations of classic Marrakech items. From beautiful handmade tan sandals to traditional Moroccan inspired clothes […]

Marrakech Tanneries

The traditional process for tanning leather is undoubtedly smelly, yet this smell is a small price to pay for witnessing such a unique and interesting interesting sight.; where else would you get the chance to see the men tread and rinse skins in mysterious liquids and dyes before scraping and stretching the hides using traditional […]

red hand-sewn embroidery

In Muslim societies, as in many places around the world, hand-sewn embroidery is traditionally regarded as a luxury item reserved for the high social class. These days, regardless of your social class or income, no matter how hard you look it is often difficult to find such quality craftsmanship anywhere. In the age of mass-production […]

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Although Marrakech is often known as ‘The Red City’ thanks to the pisé-cement Ramparts that surround the old town, once you enter the Medina it becomes clear that Marrakech actually holds a multitude of vibrant and bright colours. One such colour is the distinctive and infamously unique Majorelle Blue. In 1924 the French artist Jacques […]

Moroccan rug, arab carpets seller, Marrakech

All around the world Morocco is famous for it’s carpets and many travellers land in Marrakech in search of a quality piece of authentic craftwork. But it is rare to find a carpet seller who sells quality products, at fixed prices, without the tourist-spiel. However, the El Wifak Carpet Cooperative, located in the Ensemble Artisanal […]

dar cherifa

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 […]

Eid el-ftr prayers

Thousands of worshippers rose early today, Tuesday 29th of July, for the first day of Eid-el-Fitr to attend morning prayers. Eid, to use the shortened more common name, is a three-day festival that marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan. In Marrakech, the morning prayers on Eid happen all over the city in […]

babouche

  The Babouche is a traditional slipper found throughout the Arab-Muslim world including Morocco and Marrakech. Usually made from leather and found in a variety of colours, the Babouche comes in various styles ranging from thick soled slippers, often worn by local Marrakchis both in the Medina and in the new town, and more thin […]

Menara gardens, Marrakech

Located just west of the Medina lies the Menara Gardens: a 12th Cent garden consisting of rows of olive groves, tall palm tree and beautiful flowers.  These tall trees are occasionally accompanied by a modern addition to the park: the planes flying into the nearby Marrakech Menara Airport. However, far from being a disruptive distraction, […]

wood workshop, marrakech

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 […]

khalid art gallery, marrakech

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 […]

Mohamed sidi ben slimane al jazouli

Mohamed Sidi Ben Slimane al-Jazouli is not only considered as one of the seven patronsS  of Marrakech, but he is also recognised for his holiness throughout the Islamic world. As an Islamic scholar and Imam, Sidi Ben Slimane al-Jazouli, often known as “Imam al-Jazuli”,  is best known for compiling the Dala’il al-Khayrat, an extremely popular […]

Souks, Marrakech

Lying at the northern point of the world famous Souks, hidden down a small alleyway off the main Souk passageways, it is possible to find a row of Iron workshops inhabited by local Marrakchis. Although this spot remains uncharted on the majority of tourist maps and guides, if you download our MarrakechRiad app and follow […]

Marrakech Church

Nestled in the heart of Gueliz you can find the first Church to be built in Marrakech, The Saint Martyrs Church (L’Eglise des Saints Martyrs). As seen in the photo above, The Saint Martyrs Church is located opposite an equally stunning Mosque on Rue el Iman Ali . The face to face, almost symmetrical configuration […]

bab er robb, Marrakech Medina

Bab Er-Robb, which translates as ‘Lord’s Gate’, was used for controlling spirits; nowadays it functions as the main entrance into the Medina. Whereas Bab Er-Robb is perhaps not as visually stunning as it’s close neighbor, Bab Agnaou, it is possible to find a beautiful rose garden and comfortable shady benches less than 10 metres from […]

bab agnaou, Marrakech Medina

While it’s nearby neighbor Bab er-Robb acts as the official entrance to the city, Bab Agnaou functions as the main entrance to the Kasbah which is the site of the El Badi Palace, the Saadian Tombs and the El Mansouria (the kasbah mosque). Bab Aganou is perhaps the most unique of Marrakech’s nineteen gates and […]

Koutoubia Mosque at night

During Ramadan, every night after the sun has set and their fast has been broken, many Muslims go to the mosque for extra prayers called Salat Atarawih. When night falls in Marrakech, many local people quickly descend on the Koutoubia Mosque, Marrakech’s largest and oldest mosque, in an effort to find a place to pray […]

medina wall, turrets, marrakech

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 […]

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 […]

Koutoubia Gardens

The Koutoubia Mosque is the most visited monument in Marrakech. Standing at an impressive 77 meters tall, the mosque’s magnificent minaret tower dominates the city’s skyline providing a useful landmark to tourists and locals alike. However, perhaps one of the best perspectives of the minaret is from the Koutobia Gardens. As you enter the garden […]

charity taxi

A welcome addition to the street scene in Marrakech are the bright canopies of the charity motorcycle taxis no located on the South side of the main Jema Al Fnaa square near to the horse and carriage rank. The three wheeled vehicles are ideal for negotiating the small streets of the Medina and the drivers […]

Mens Djellaba

New fashions come and go through the red city of Marrakech, yet there is one piece of clothing with has stayed for centuries, this is the traditional Moroccan Djellaba. Worn by both men and women, you can expect to see Djellabas worn on a day to day to basis in the streets of the red […]

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About 30 kilometres to the South of the red city of Marrakech in the direction of Lalla Takerkoust lake, a small festival takes place in memory of the saint Moulay Abdellah Ben Hussain. This festival is called the Tamaslouht Musem (festival) and Tbourida (fantasia) and it occurs on the last week of January. On the first […]