|Posted by Alecia Cohen on December 22, 2019 at 12:10 PM||comments (0)|
Long before Michale Curtiz’s iconic 1942 film, Casablanca became a box office smash, Casablanca, the city served as an important business and commercial center. The Portuguese used the ruins of Anfa to build a military fortress in 1515. The town that grew up around it was called Casa Branca, meaning "white house" in Portuguese. Today locals refer to the bustling and cosmopolitan port city as Casa.
When the Tangier Med port became crowned the Mediterranean’s largest, Casablanca was even recognized as North Africa’s top entrepot. Beyond its importance as the leading financial capital, Casablanca is also known for its strength in the arts. France and Morocco's artistic and intellectual circles were primarily privy to this burgeoning community. Renown artists such as Moroccan modern painter Mohamed Melehi- recognized who linked Bauhauism to Islamic art- have long made an impact on the city. Melehi, alongside his innovative “Casablanca School” peers like Farid Belkahia, Mohammed Chabâa, Bert Flint and Toni Maraini influenced post-colonial art during the 1960s in both Casablanca and beyond. The city's artistic and cultural history created a foundation that continues to attract innovative designers, filmmakers, artists, photographers, and musicians.
Casablanca's trendsetting and liberating ambiance is woven into the fabric of everyday life. Gradually the city has had a ripple effect and eyes around the world are tuning into Casablanca's art and culture scene. This shift was particularly evident in 2019 when several airports in key cities like Boston, Philadelphia, Beijing, and Miami added direct routes to Casablanca. Now that traveling to Casablanca can be done with ease, the city’s top restaurants, nightlife, shopping venues, artisanal craft markets, the medina and music festivals are in high demand.
Casablanca offers a wide range of dining experiences coupled with live music. Nightlife can be found in elegant restaurants, jazz bars, clubs and upscale hotel settings located around the United Nations Square and on the Corniche. The Corniche is well-appointed near Casablanca’s business district and frequented by the fashionable Ain Diab neighborhood crowd. It is also considered one of the city’s green areas. Casablanca’s most popular French restaurants, nightclubs, cocktail lounges, and bars that boast wrap-around terraces and stunning ocean views are woven into the streets on the corniche.
8 Places to Go for Casablanca Nightlife are Le Petit Rocher, Bodega, Rick's Cafe, Sky 28, Cabestan, Le Kimmyz, Les Jardin del Opera, and Le Casablanca Bar and Lounge.
Le Petit Rocha, Casablanca[/caption]
1. Le Petit Rocher- founded in 1932, the Little Rock House is a renovated waterside bistro cottage that once served as a lighthouse. Its history includes hosting performances of talented musicians during the 80s and 90s. Today the restaurant stands as a cultural institution that has endured several, stylistic makeovers. In spite of this, it has stayed true to its musical roots. Over the past decade, Le Petit Rocher has been reimagined into an elegant and contemporary space with coastal views. In keeping with the past, it is also one of Casablanca's top choices for an evening of tasty food and lively music. In 2000, Little Rock focused on recreating a menu for the senses. Today it serves fresh seafood, inclusive of seafood platters, paella, and other fresh catch of the day. Le Petit Rocher is an ideal spot where locals and travelers can enjoy cocktails, music and ocean views.
Address: Small Rock Complex, Boulevard de la Corniche, Casablanca
2. Bodega- located near Boulevard Mohammed V Art Deco, in the heart of Casablanca's Art Deco district, La Bodega is a hybrid tapas bar-restaurant. It is the perfect destination for those interested in listening to everything from salsa to Arabic pop. The restaurant offers a fusion of both French and Spanish cuisine. La Bodega’s innovative tapa style menu is curated by Chef Jilali and serves up Andalusian and Catalan inspired charcuterie, seafood, and mixed grill. Beyond its savory delights, La Bodega's wine list is extensive and is especially enjoyed when the restaurant transforms from a rustic and cozy space into a saucy Jazz Club. Every Tuesday night, the club hosts a jazz and blues band with musicians who play music inspired by Paris’ top Jazz venues.
Address: 129 Boulevard Ben Abdellah, Casablanca 20250
3. Rick’s Cafe- this romantic restaurant and piano bar was inspired by the 1942 film Casablanca made famous by Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. Since it’s 2004 opening, the restaurant has set a high bar for dinner and jazzy evenings in Casablanca. From Tuesday to Sunday, Issam Chabaa plays classic French, Spanish and Brazilian songs on the piano and American favorites like Summertime, The Lady is a Tramp, and Blue Moon. Sundays, in particular, are programmed to host jazz sessions for local and amateur jazz musicians living in Casablanca or passing through. In addition to its superior entertainment, the two-floor romantic eatery is distinguished by its decor. Curved arches, a sculpted rooftop bar, balconies, balustrades, stenciled brass lighting, and an authentic 1930’s piano have thoughtfully been added to transport clients into the ’40s and ’50s. Among the menu items are fresh fish entrees like sole meuniere or richer selections like steak or foie gras and goat cheese salad. Rick’s Cafe was established by the former Kathy Kriger, who was an American diplomat in Morocco. Once a traditional Moroccan home in the 1930s, Rick's Cafe is located on the edge of the medina, near the port, facing the Hassan II Mosque.
Address: 248 Boulevard Sour Jdid, Casablanca 20250
4. Skybar 28- is well-appointed at the top of the five-star 28 stories B-Twin Center, Kenzi Tower Hotel It is considered the top destination for visitors to Casablanca who is in search of cocktails and dinner with a view. The luxurious hotel tower was designed by the internationally renowned architect Ricardo Bofill who thoughtfully opened up the restaurant to profit from the Atlantic Ocean views. The Art deco themed penthouse bar has an intimate lounge setting and subdued lighting. Skybar 28 is the perfect setting for an evening of classy tapas, wine, and live music after a day of exploring Casablanca. For travelers who want to indulge in some light pre-cocktail activities, the Kenzi Tower location is also home to Casablanca’s trendiest shopping district.
Address: Kenzi Tower Hotel، Boulevard Mohamed Zerktouni, Casablanca 20100
5. Cabestan- created in 1927, this trendy, upscale seafood restaurant offers some of the most spectacular views of the Casablanca rocky coast. A favorite of artists, designers, politicians, and businessmen Cabestan is the place to be post-sunset. Designers Sophia Sebti and Yachar Bouhaya created three elegant spaces that have become the choice destination for those who desire an evening of fine bistro cuisine accompanied by music and an exceptional ambiance. In addition to the stunning sea views, Cabestan’s menu, created by Chef Fabien Caboy, is the reason it continues to buzz. Menu favorites include Mediterranean tapa dishes, fresh oysters from Dakhla, and herb-infused linguini and clams pasta. On some nights, top names from Morocco’s electronic music scene can be spotted here.
Address: Phare d'El hank، 90 Boulevard de la Corniche, Casablanca 20000
Phone: : +212 05223-91190
6. Le Kimmyz - is a lively French bistro with a high-quality gastronomy menu and extraordinary wine selection. Depending on the day of the week, the restaurant’s funky decor transforms from being a Parisian style musical brasserie into an upscale sports bar. Regardless of the day you choose to dine, the food and wine always hit the mark and the atmosphere never ceases to entertain.
Address: Rue Najib Mahfoud, Casablanca 20000
Phone: +212 5222-77297
Le Jardin de Opera, Casablanca[/caption]
7. Le Jardin del Opera- is a chic brasserie situated across from the Grand Casablanca Theatre. It is defined by Casablancans and travelers to Morocco by its French heritage, culinary menu and inspired “garden opera setting”. Le Jardin’s concepts are executed by restaurant head Farid Al Achbili and director Joël Boivert. The menu has been set to meet a high standard with its offer of exotic yet simple cuisine. Dining choices are comprised of original recipes that respect fresh ingredients of the season. Le Jardin del Opera's foie gras with Moroccan white wine pairing is not to be missed. Evenings at this boutique venue are festive with music and ideal for close friends, and romantic tête-à-têtes.
Address: 37, Rue El Houcine Ben Ali, City Park Center
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8. Le Casablanca Lounge Bar - is situated inside Le Casablanca Hotel, a luxurious property in the exclusive Anfa neighborhood. This trendy lounge, Art Deco bar immerses visitors in a world of glamour. It offers a warm and relaxed atmosphere to appreciate a wide range of signature cocktails, aperitifs, wines, and champagnes.
The cocktail bar is staged in a harmonious space of high ceilings, chandeliers, luxurious red and black velvet sofas, marquetry furniture, haute couture beveled mirrors, and accented handmade stucco lace. This timeless and classy ambiance is woven into every detail and space of the hotel. Taste of refinement and elegance can be found at Le Casablanca's terrace while sipping a glass of champagne. Live music and piano performance are offered, accompanied by a professional singer.
Address: Le Casablanca Hôtel 19, Moulay Rachid
Telephone: +212 522 649 797
|Posted by Alecia Cohen on April 18, 2019 at 9:30 AM||comments (0)|
Morocco’s tradition of tea dates back to the 12th century BC. There are various theories on the origin of tea in the Maghreb. Some say the Berbers (Amazigh) imported tea from Asia, while others believe that Queen Anne Stuart of Great Britain introduced tea to the Moroccan Sultan as a ploy to release British prisoners.
Moroccan mint tea, referred to as “Berber Whiskey” or Maghrebi Mint Tea is one of the pillars of Moroccan culture. In Morocco tea is sipped all hours of the day. When Moroccans welcome guests to their homes they sip tea, when they celebrate a birth or wedding ceremony or death, they sip tea and when they share meals together they sip tea. Tea is sipped slowly 20 or even 30 times a day in Morocco! When a glass of tea is offered, it is a cultural taboo to refuse. Declining an offer of Moroccan tea is considered impolite given many consider it part of a bonding experience. While there are many stories of tea told throughout Morocco, one shared consensus is, the ritual of Moroccan tea is an art. “Tea in Morocco, is not just about boiling the water and adding mint, it is ceremonial art, a ritual for us, similar to the Chinese and Japanese” says Saoud, teacher and host of La Maison Arabe's tea ceremony. Souad leads a tea ceremony that is part of La Maison Arabe’s daily cooking classes offered. Tucked away into a well-manicured alley with palm trees, out of sight from the bustling Marrakech medina, sits the exquisitely designed boutique hotel. La Maison Arabe. All La Maison Arabe cooking classes are led by a Dada Chef and a host offers first hand insights about Moroccan Tea traditions. Each class includes a traditional tea ceremony. Moroccan tea has medicinal and beauty benefits. Herbal teas are made from Morocco’s diverse kingdom of organic plants. There are more than 4,200 species which have been identified as endemic and 400 are classified as products for medicinal or aromatic use. Moroccan tea traditions are passed from generation to generation. The ritual of Moroccan tea can be observed in a private home, by participating in a cooking class or in the souks. If you ask a Moroccan about memories of their childhood, they will often share an image of their mother in the kitchen, blending together an herbal mint tea to ward off a cold or improve a family member’s digestion.
There are 3 principal ingredients in nearly every cup of Moroccan tea. They are Gun Powder, Beetroot Sugar and Spearmint.
#1: Gunpower:Considering how frequently Moroccan mint tea is consumed, many people are surprised to learn that tea is not grown in Morocco. Tea used by Moroccans is imported from China. The base of Moroccan mint tea is gunpowder, which closely resembles actual gunpowder and looks similar to rolled up pellets. While gunpowder is the equivalent to green tea, it tastes significantly stronger than the type of green tea most people are familiar with. When blended with Moroccan herbs or fresh mint, gunpowder’s bold and smoky taste lends a unique flavor to the tea itself. #2: Beetroot:Another important ingredient in Moroccan tea is sugar, however, not just any sugar. Moroccan’s use a few wedges of healthy Beetroot sugar to enhance the flavor of their tea. Beetroot sugar is grown in Morocco, comes from the beetroot vegetable which is packed with minerals and vitamins. Sipping tea in Morocco without Beetroot or Cane sugar is rare. However, as the result of foreign influence and diabetes more Moroccans are drinking tea today with less or no additional sugar. Moroccan tea without sugar tends to be more pungent and stronger in taste. The combination of gunpowder and mint without sugar cause the tea to take on a bitter flavor. #3: Spearmint:There are several different kinds of mint grown in Morocco, however, the consistent choice is spearmint. Spearmint has a clear, pungent, and mild aroma, making it the traditional choice used in Moroccan mint tea culture.
Medicinal Benefits of Moroccan Tea:There are many types teas that are consumed in Morocco. Traditional Moroccan Mint Tea typically sipped with no other ingredients. However, those who prefer to use tea for health benefits in Morocco often infuse their tea with aromatic plants and herbs. Some of the aromatic plants and herbs added to Moroccan mint tea are dried flowers, such as rose petals along with lemon peel, orange peel and orange blossom water.
Moroccan mint tea contributes to good health. People who live in deserts or oasis’ like Morocco, drink hot tea year-round including summertime! Consuming hot beverages cools the body down and the combination of also Moroccan tea has many powerful ingredients like antioxidants, properties to boost endurance, aid in digestion, increase mental performance, inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungus, and even clear up skin disorders. The antioxidants in Moroccan tea help boost endurance, protect against cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.
How to Make Moroccan Tea: • Place two teaspoons of gunpowder green tea into a traditional Moroccan tea pot. Next, add a handful of fresh mint tea • Add your choice of herbs and a little bit of beetroot sugar (up to 4 chunks) •Pour boiling water and sugar and let it simmer for few minutes. • Then pour out the water and reserve the liquid in a glass. •Add a little boiling water to swish in the teapot again. This second rinse will take away the bitterness and the color of the tea will get darker than before. • Discard the second glass, only the first extraction of tea will be used. • To mix all the ingredients together, just pour the tea into a glass and return it to the tea pot. It is important to never stir the mixture with a spoon or the herbs may burn. Repeat this process two or three times for best results. • Serving Moroccan Tea. When serving Moroccan tea, it is important to use a Moroccan tea port and hold the handle from high above as this will help oxygenate the tea and keep the tea foam on the top of the glass. The pouring of the tea from a teapot with a long-curved spout is done from a height of at least twelve inches, causing the foam to form on the surface of the tea. For more information about the Secret Traditions of Moroccan Tea & Food Traditions in Morocco
|Posted by Alecia Cohen on November 2, 2018 at 8:25 AM||comments (0)|
Moroccan Jewish Odyssey Tour, Fes Cemetery Morocco’s unique history of Jewry and the co-mingling of Jews with Berbers and Arabs are a key factor in why Morocco is a safe today and continues to be a perfect choice for travelers interested in discovering Morocco's rich Jewish Heritage. The cultural diversity of contemporary Morocco reflects its historic vantage point as a gateway to Europe and the world. Moarocco’s Jewish Heritage sites and holy spaces offer visitors an encounter with ancient traditions, old world customs, architecture, monuments and sites that have permeated Moroccan society for centuries.
Lazema Synagogue, Marrakech For couples and families interested in traveling to Morocco for an educational cultural vacation we recommend our Moroccan Jewish Odyssey Tour. On a Moroccan Jewish Odyssey tour you can expect to experience dramatic contrasts they encounter Morocco's Jewish Heritage sites in the Imperial Cities and magnficient landscapes as you cross the High Atlas region. This once-in-a- lifetime comprehensive Jewish Cultural Tour will take you on a journey to unexpectd places. Explore sacred Jewish sites in Medieval ciites, hear Stories of the Mellah, Discover the Roman Ruins of Volubilis and an endless Sahara Desert. On this Moroccan Jewish Odyssey Tour you will visit colorful souks, Kasbahs and ksars and Sip Tea with a Berber family who has historic Jewish roots.
Ibn Danan Synagogue, Fes Travelers on a Moroccan Jewish Odyssey tour will disocver sacred Jewish sites in Medieval ciites, hear Stories of the Mellah, visit the Roman Ruins of Volubilis and traverse an endless Sahara Desert. On this Moroccan Jewish Odyssey Tour you will visit colorful souks, Kasbahs and ksars and Sip Tea with a Berber family who has historic Jewish roots. Travel Exploation's Guided Jewish Hertiage Tours offer an insiders experience for travelers to engage with the local Jewish community, experience the remarkable and traverse the country from the mountains to sea coast.
MOROCCAN JEWISH ODYSSEY TOUR - TRIP HIGHLIGHTS - 11 DAYS
► Visit Temple Beth- El Synagogue & Explore Museum of Moroccan Judaism in Casablanca
► Discover the Jewish Mellah of Rabat & birthplace of an 18th Century scholar and Kabbalist in Sale
► Attend Shabbat Services a in Fes ► Dinner at a Rabbi’s Home or Kosher Restaurant
► Witness a private exterior view of the former home of Maimonidies in Fes
► Afternoon Excursion to Seffrou once referred to as the “Little Jerusalem”
► Up Close Meeting with Local Jewish Community in Morocco
► Historic Sites of Jewish Heritage in Fes, Meknes, Seffrou and Marrakech
► Overnight in the Sahara Desert under the Morocan Stars ► Discover the province of Tinerhir and it’s rare Jewish past ► Visit Tiliit the 15th Century ancient city of Jews in the Dades Valley region
► Explore Coastal Essaouira, an artist enclave and one of the first Jewish Ports in Morocco
► Visit the Tomb of Rabbi Shlomo & the Setti Fatima 7 Waterfalls in the Ourika Valley
► Stays at the Best Boutique Riads and Hotels in Morocco
For more information about Moroccan Jewish Heritage Tours Morocco’s Imperial Cities, Seaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villages, A Taste of Morocco, Magical Kasbahs, Ruins & Waterfalls, Absolute Morocco, The Best of Marrakech, Fes, and Ouarzazate
|Posted by Alecia Cohen on May 14, 2018 at 5:50 AM||comments (1)|
Ennafora Suite at Ryad Dyor, Marrakech[/caption] Ryad Dyor A luxury riad located in the Riad Larouss region of the medina. Owned by two designers, one Dutch and the other Spanish, this boutique hotel is a standout place to stay in the Marrakech. medina. Modern design meets Moroccan flair: a chic riad with lamplit courtyards, roof terrace and cool, understated décor. Ryad Dyor is converted from a pair of riads, whose 2 shady courts lead into each other, one with an ornately tiled fountain, the other with a rose-petalled splash pool. Copper lanterns, Balinese mirrors, egg-smooth tadelakt bathtubs surround guests. On the roof, under a loggia hung with gauzy textiles, the manager knows just when to offer cocktails or mint tea to guests lazing in the afternoon sunshine. The laid-back atmosphere - everyone is made to feel at home, nothing is too much trouble - will delight couples seeking both style and substance on a long weekend break or some post-trek pampering. Property Amenities: Plunge pool, terrace, traditional hammam/spa, gourmet restaurant, wifi, laundry services Driba Jdida, Sidi Ben Slimane, + 212-5243-75980
Riad De Tarabel Riad de Tarabel is a luxurious boutique hotel in an old colonial mansion in the heart of the old medina of Marrakech. With ten rooms, including three suites this boutique property is a mixture of Colonial and French design. Riad de Tarabel was built in the 19thCentury and renovated in 2006. Each room is individually designed with true elegance that combines family heirlooms with contemporary pieces creating a French, colonial-feel. All of their Junior Suites have clawfoot baths and one has a fireplace. Some have open bath facilities. Property Amenities: Rooftop plunge pool, Hammam, Dining area with restaurant, Wifi, Laundry Derb Sraghna, Dar El Bahca, +212- 661-989782
Riad 72 Wrapped around a central courtyard brimming with banana trees, Riad 72 is a chic, well-appointed riad in the Marrakech medina. The elegantly decorated salon has an intricately carved ceiling, and gently lit by beautiful copper lanterns. The courtyard is flanked with large banana trees. Featuring classic Moroccan furnishings with contemporary flair, this boutique property also has a cuisine menu with Ottlolenghi inspired recipes. Property Amenities: Terraces, panoramic garden, traditional hammam/spa, restaurant, balconies, wifi, laundry services 72 Arset Azwel, Bab Doukkala, +05243-87629
Riad Idra Riad Idra is an elegant, contemporary, Moroccan, riad located in the Dar El Bacha region of the Marrakech medina. Riad Idra is a luxurious cocoon shielded from the commotion of the ochre city and a well-hidden jewel. A house full of light the intimate courtyard offers an outlet to the world of sight and sound for a magical stay. Property Amenities: Spa/Traditional Hammam, Rooftop terrace Wifi 105 Derb Tizougarine, Dar El Bacha, +212-5243-91776
Riad Jaaneman An elegant boutique riad in the bohemian heart of the Marrakech medina Riad Jaaneman is a refined oasis of urbane flamboyance and sophistication. Just a stone’s throw away from the timeless bustle of the souks and the vibrant rhythms of the city, Jaaneman defined is classical style meets eclectic harmony. Originating from an Indian word that literally means ‘Soul of Me’, "Jaaneman" translates into ‘My love’ or ‘darling’. With 5 originally decorated suites, each boasts cutting-edge design reminiscent of art deco and a feeling of the Orient. Luxurious bed linens and artisanal soaps are just a few of the luxury amenities travelers can anticipate. Property Amenities: Spa/Traditional Hammam, Rooftop terrace, Wifi 12 Rue Dar Sraghna, Dar el Bacha, +212-5243-82164
Dar Darma A haven of calm in the Marrakech, medina, Dar Darma has been awarded a place on the Conde Naste gold list of Hotel in 2017. This traditional riad of 6 Suites, Dar Darma offers privacy, traditional Moroccan hospitality in a relaxed, atmosphere. The terraces have sweeping views that stretch from the Medina rooftops and the Koutoubia Mosque to the Atlas Mountains. The shady lounges, the swimming pool and a little basin offer the perfect place to cool off in the hot summer months Darma’s Moroccan lounge, the hall of arches and the fireplace lounge looks out onto a shady patio and are ideal places to relax, read, listen to music and enjoy dishes made by their traditional Moroccan chef. Property Amenities: Spa/Traditional Hammam, Dipping pool, Rooftop terrace, Wifi 11/12 Derb Tarik Sidi Bouharba, +212-5243-76657
Riad Joya Crafted with care by Italian art director and owner, Umberto Branchini, Riad Joya provides a high-octane dose of Milanese chic amid the medina’s dusty lanes. Sumptuous suites, as well as a lovely plunge pool, and a cracking rooftop bar. Riad Joya is an elegant boutique hotel of timeless beauty and seductive atmosphere well appointed in the Marrakech medina. The overall atmosphere is of an elegant private house where understated luxury fuses with eclectic style and bespoke service and attention. Property Amenities: Spa/Traditional Hammam, Rooftop terrace, Wifi Derb El Hammam,+ 212- 5243-91624/ +212-5 24 38 50 55
Riad Dar Mo'Da A charming boutique, riad, Dar Mo'da is located in the Mouassine, historic quarter of the Marrakech medina, just minutes from Djemma El Fna square. This traditional Moroccan home has been restored impeccably. Dar Mo’Da’s wall to wall, white, clean lines and cool atmosphere coupled with traditional Moroccan, Syrian and Italian designer pieces, make it a one-of-a-kind place to stay. Guests can relax in the welcoming courtyard featuring a dipping pool or in the adjacent lounges and dining room. Dar Mo’da has four exclusive suites whose décor combine the magic of the orient and the comforts of the west. The roof terrace offers breathtaking views of the city and nearby Koutoubia mosque with the backdrop of the Atlas mountains and beyond. Property Amenities: Spa/Traditional Hammam, Dipping pool, Rooftop terrace, Wifi 182 rue el Moussine, Moussine+212- 524 442819
|Posted by Alecia Cohen on May 11, 2018 at 3:35 PM||comments (0)|
A great way to discover the Moroccan city of Marrakech is through a Guided walking tour of its Art Deco Architecture in the new city of Gueliz. You can spend an afternoon gallery hopping, shopping at designer boutiques and eat your way through Marrakech's, trendsetting new town. As one of the most sought-after Colonial cities in Morocco, Gueliz is all the rave. Morocco’s Colonial history and the beginning of Art Deco Gueliz dates back to 1912 when an agreement was signed with France, called “Protectorat.” A French army general and colonial administrator named Louis Hubert Gonzalve Lyautey had the vision to modernize Morocco with the preservation of its cultural traditions and local customs. Lyautey created the Ville Nouvelle (new town) Gueliz, originating from the French word Église, which means church. Gueliz was the first town to be built outside the Marrakech medina with views of the Atlas Mountains and a referendum requiring no building to stand beyond 3 stories high or the equivalent of a palm tree.
First built as a military camp, Gueliz was small and occupied primarily by the French. This French quarter grew rapidly and architects embraced Parisian Art Deco by creating large avenues, bustling cafes and theatres, along with charming villas and a central market. Gueliz was designed by French architect, Henri Prost. Its original main tree-lined avenue was called Avenue de France. Today Avenue de France has been renamed Boulevard Mohammed VI and is filled with modern office buildings, banks, boutiques that are surrounded by magnificent Art Deco facades that remain from the city’s colonial past. Travelers and locals frequent Boulevard Mohammed VI for evening walks and picnics, sipping Moroccan tea at its sprawling cafes on sunlit terraces and to shop at luxury boutiques as they take in the glorious flora and fauna in full bloom year round. One of the Art Deco highlights of Gueliz is the Church of Holy Saints-Martyrs, built in 1928 and inaugurated in December 1931. It was also designed by the architect and urban planner French Henri Prost and commission Marshal Lyautey,
La Mamounia Hotel & Gardens- Perfect for afternoon tea, sunset cocktails or pool lunch, this Art Deco historic hotel is where Alfred Hitchcock wrote the movie The Birds. It is situated on the edge of the walls of the old city of Marrakech and is named for its 200-year-old gardens, which were given as an 18th Century wedding gift to Prince Moulay Mamoun by his father.
Jnane El Harti (Harti Gardens) - A creation of the urban garden Jnane El Harti dates back to the end of the 1930s. Translated as "janân al-harthî", which means, "Gardens of my plowed earth" this garden was originally created to produce food. The current Jnane El Harti occupies six hectares is decorated with wooden benches and maintains a sprawling cactus garden, a restaurant with views of the garden and a sports hall. Perfectly representative of East and West, the Harti Gardens is a mixed space of Mediterranean vegetation with olive, citrus and ficus surrounded by European lawns, shrubs, palms and cactus.
Where to Shop in Gueliz: Designer Boutiques & Concept Stores 33 Majorelle - With two levels of design, fashion and accessories created by Moroccan and international designers, as well as the traditional Moroccan goodies like the green pottery from southern Morocco and a selection of funky babouche, this is the shop for trendy souvenirs and gifts. Like a high-end department store, new designers are exposed with a collection hanging regularly, giving this concept store the leading edge on the latest trends. A small gallery is attached and features a changing art exhibit. The location is perfect – across from Majorelle Gardens. Address: 33 Rue Yves Saint Laurent
Majorelle Gardens Boutique - Easy to find and with a friendly owner Toufik, this is one of the best up-market boutiques for fine Moroccan fashion with a Western twist. Using the finest silks, Toufik creates a stunning collection of kaftans, velvet vests, and cotton tunics are part of the collection that changes regularly. But if you don’t see exactly what you are looking for, custom orders are possible and take up to two weeks. Address: 9-11 Soukiat Laksour
MOOR - Owned by fashion designer Yann Dobry of Akbar Delights in the medina, Moor features a selection of upscale Moroccan couture. Using the finest artisans and materials, Moor is known for its embroidered silk, cotton and linen tunics. The cool and calm colors throughout the shop create a relaxed shopping experience. Look up or even just on the walls – the décor, a selection of Moroccan home wares sourced from around the Kingdom, is also available! Address: 7 Rue des Vieux Marrakchis , Guéliz
Yahya Creation - If the patterns created by Moroccan lampshades and lanterns peak your interest in taking a fine lantern or lampshade home with you, be sure to stop by Yahya Rouach’s showroom. Clients including Harrods and Neiman Marcus have been known to stop by to commission orders. Yahya’s pieces are unique and one-of-a-kind. His pieces light up various areas of the Royal Mansour hotel and other boutique raids in Marrakech. Address: 49 passage Ghandouri, Rue de Yougoslavie, Guéliz
Where to Eat in Gueliz: Trend-Setting Restaurants & Classic Art Deco Cafe's Grand Cafe La Poste - Gueliz's chic Brasserie which has kept the charm of the time Liautey is part of the history of Marrakech. La Poste has a 1930's ambiance with a grand staircase and cozy upstairs large nook with a fireplace along with chic dark spaces reminiscent of the days at Parisian literary cafes. This traditional Brasserie's menu makes it perfect place for brunch, cocktails or an evening meal. Address: Avenue Imam Malik, Gueliz
Le Petit Cornichon - A one-of-a-kind bistronomique culinary experience in the heart of Gueliz with an excellent wine list. The menu is lovingly created by resident manager, Erwann Lance. Lance has several Michelin restaurants in Paris and New York. He also the former head of dining at the Royal Mansour, in Marrakech. Le Petit Cornichon is one of the hottest tables in town and serves up some of Marrakech's most delightful French cuisine with a twist. Each dish is full of local flavor and stylishly presented on plate. The weekend's three-course tasting menu including fois gras is a must. The wine list offers local Moroccan wine traditionally not found in other restaurants along with a large selection of exceptional international wines. Address: 27, Rue Moulay Ali, Gueliz
Baromètre Marrakech - A new chic address in Gueliz, Baromètre is a type of underground culinary lab where Mediterranean fusion tapas and contemporary fare are served alongside exotic cocktails. The food is beyond delicious therefore make sure to leave space for more the one dish. Be prepared for a speakeasy, mysterious atmosphere that is perfect for the food enthusiast. Address: Rue Moulay Ali Gueliz | Résidence Al houda, Gueliz
Cafe Les Negociant - A landmark cafe in the center of Gueliz. Built in 1919, this is one of the city's historic "man cafe's" and a meeting place for a morning traditional Moroccan nous-nous or mint tea. Cafe Les Negociant has been refurbished in keeping with it's Art Deco architecture. Address: 110 Mohammed V, Gueliz
Pâtisserie Amandine - Perfect for a late afternoon hot chocolate or cappuccino. Amandine offers wide range of French pastries, Moroccan cookies and one of the best mille-feuille in town. It's macarons in rainbow colors, zesty lemon tarts and delightful, raspberry panna cotta pots should be on every foodie's bucketlist. Address: 177 Rue Mohammed Al Béqal, Gueiz
|Posted by Alecia Cohen on April 16, 2017 at 1:35 PM||comments (8)|
With its grand boulevards and famed historic Art Deco Architecture, Casablanca is a popular city with a cornacopia of things to see and do. Whether you are a Morocco traveler, an expat living abroad or a local looking for discovery and adventure, Casablanca's breath of musuems, restaurants, hotels, nightclubs, boutiques, pop-up shops and art galleries gurantee fun and fullfillment for people of all ages. Casablanca is the largest spraweling city in the Maghreb and in Africa with a majestic palm lined corniche and a Coastal Port that rivals others in Africa. Casablanca is also one of the most liberal and progressive cities in Morocco. Travelers seeking a Casablanca One-Day Tour for site seeing can start out with our recommended Five Places to go in Casablanca.
Five Places to Go in Casablanca Museum of Moroccan Judaism
The Museum of Moroccan Judaism of Casablanca is a museum of history and ethnography, created by the Jewish Community of Casablanca in 1997 with the support of the Foundation of Jewish-Moroccan Cultural Heritage. The Jewish Museum in Casablanca is tucked into a residential neighborhood and holds a treasure trove with it being the Arab region’s only Jewish Museum. It uses world-class standards of conservation for its national and international collections. The Museum of Moroccan Judaism presents religious, ethnographic and artistic objects that demonstrate the history, religion, traditions and daily life of Jews in the context of Moroccan civilization.
Anfa & La Corniche Founded by Berber fisherman in the 10th Century Anfa is the former name of Casablanca which underwent a change when the Portugese destroyed and rebuilt it, later calling the city Casa Branca. Today Anfa and the Cornice is a neighborood located on the Atlantic Ocean, West of the Hassan II Mosque. The palm lined corniche is perfect for travelers who want to have a coffee at a local cafe, people watch or stroll along the beachfront. In summer the Corniche is packed with local Moroccan family's who are there for a fresh water swim or want to picnic with friends.
Habous Quarter The Habous Quarter is often referred to as the "new medina and was built in 1930's by the French. For travelers looking to shop for handicrafts made in Morocco or to experience a local Olive Souk this is the place to do it on a one-day tour in Casablanca.
Villa Des Arts Built in 1934, Villa Des Arts in Casablanca is part of the ONA Foundation created to promote the contemporary arts. It's also one of the cities leading Art Deco historic buildings. Located near Parc De La Ligue Arabe this non profit museum features a wide array of contemporary Moroccan Artists.
Cocktails at Sky 28, The Kenzi Hotel Sky Bar The Kenzi Tower Hotel is home to one of Casablanca's best views at sunset. Their Sky 28 Bar boasts panoramic views of the Hassan II Mosque, the Corniche, Ana and the city center. Coctaials, Wine, Beer and horderves are available along with a gastronomic, French menu for those who are interested in dinner with a magnficent view of Casa at night.
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We offer Private Tours to Morocco for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Imperial Cities, the Great North to the Sahara Desert Region Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.
|Posted by Alecia Cohen on March 23, 2017 at 8:55 AM||comments (0)|
One of the the must-do experiences during a Moroccan vacation is to spend the afternoon at leisure in a traditional Moroccan Hammam & Spa. For locals, the Hammam is a weekly must-do ritual.
Moroccan Hammam & Spas - An Insider Guide: What is a Moroccan Hammam?
A Morocccan Hammam is a traditional bath house which has been historically used for bathing. Each neighborhood in Morocco’s medinas (old cities) has a local hammam where men and women bathe separately; in separate spaces or during varied opening hours. Often centuries old, the Moroccan hammam maintains its importance within the community. Today, mid-range hammams are popular in modern Moroccan neighborhoods and, alike the community hammam in the medinas, are open for foreigners to visit. For a more upscale experience, there are private hammams that cater specifically to tourists along with luxury riads and boutique hotels that offer a combination of hammam and spa options with leading beauty brands.
What are the benefits of a Moroccan Hammam? Hydration, Relaxation, Smoother Skin and a local experience of how Moroccan men and women have pampred themselves for centuries.
What is the Moroccan Hammam Ritual?
The Moroccan hammam begins with a traditional ritual of glazing the body with – ghassoul, a natural clay extracted from the Atlas Mountains and blended with water to rid the skin of impurities. Then black soap, is applied on the body, made with olive oil and eucalyptus leaves softens the skin prior to a body scrub. The next phase is rose water, made from Atlas roses and used to calm the skin; and finally argan oil to moisturize the skin, are essential components of this important ritual. During the Hammam Ritual you will enjoy a series of rooms starting with a warm room, then a very hot room, a warm room, then end in a cold room.
Where to I find the best Hammams in Morocco?
Hammams and Luxury Spas are located throughout Moroco's Imperial Cities and Coastal Regions. We offer our Top 13 + List of the Best Hammams in Morocco that we recommend. Some are located in luxury, boutique riads while others are stand along special spots Moroccan run, where you wil find both
EXAMPLES OF A FEW OF THE TOP, RECOMMENDED HAMMAMS & SPAS IN MOROCCO
Bains du Marrakech A hammam and spa in the Kasbah district and perhaps one of the best-known privately-run hammams. Guests are treated with Les Bains du Marrakech’s own line of all-natural beauty products. Must be booked in advance. Address: 2 Derb Sedra, Bab Agnaou, Kasbah Phone: +212-524-38-14-28
Heritage Spa Located in the heart of the Marrakech Medina, Heritage Spa offers a tailor made, luxury Hammam and Spa experience. This professional spa specializes in the art of wellness. Heritage offers a wide variety of natural ingredients in their treatments. The ingredients they use are organic and originate from plant extracts, including fragrant oils and aromatic waters and soaps. Address: Arset Aouzai Rd Phone:+212-524384333
Nausikaa Hammam & Wellness Centre An up-market hammam in the new city, each guest has a area including basin to bath and scrub. Rose water is popular in the treatments so expect to leave feeling fresh. This Hammam is also a wellness centre with special seaweed therapies offered with trained staff from France. Address: Ave Bahnini, Rte Ain Smen
Themes De Moulay Yacoub Located about 21 kilometres from Fes and known for being a spa village, Moulay Yacoub is known for its sulphur-rich hot springs. For a more up-market experience, the Thermes de Moulay Yacoub provide luxury treatments known to treat respiratory and rheumatic health issues. Phone: +212-535-69-40-64
Gauthier Bain Turc With opening hours extending until 10 p.m. this up-market spa in the business district is popular with local professionals. Entrance provides access to the steam room and Jacuzzi Address: 25 Rue Jean Jaures Phone: +212-661-14-59-26
Azur Spa A spa in seaside Essaouira offering massage, hammam and beauty with argan products and local flower essences. Moroccan owned. Address: 15 rue Khalid Ben Walid Phone: +212-524-78-57-94
Ryad Lina, Luxury Boutique Riad & Spa This boutique riad has a traditional Moroccan Hammam and a Heated Pool. Available to travelers who stay at the riad and upon specially arrangements to those who stay at other properties. The Ryad Lina Luxury Hammam offers a traditional body scrub using authentic aromatic, spa products including black soap, rose and orange oil along with local herbs from the Rif Mountain region. Address: Hassan I Phone: +212-645-06-99-03
|Posted by Alecia Cohen on March 16, 2017 at 9:40 AM||comments (0)|
Morocco is an an exotic vacation destination. This North African country offers a rich variety of activities whether your interested in architecture, history, the arts, food, outdoor adventure sports or relaxation. There are a wealth of things to do for families on a vacation, couples traveling alone and also for independent visitors who tend to shy away from organized and private tours. With so many options it's hard to choose. Moroccan Guide books claim they know the Top 10 Best Things to Do in Morocco as do the variety of Morocco travel bloggers out there. Moroccan Tour Packages sometimes can equally be adept as they don't offer the off the beat activities that can make for the most memorable vacation. As natives of Morocco and the founders of Morocco Travel Blog, we offer intrepid travelers the idea Travelers Guide of Where to Eat, Shop and What to Do. As natives of Morocco and the founders of Morocco Travel Blog, we offer intrepid travelers the ideal Travelers Guide of Where to Eat, Shop and What to Do. Our list of 12 Things to do in Morocco guarantee an authentic Moroccan travel experience.
12 Things to Do - Quintessentially that have made our 2017 Bucketlist and are guaranteed to satisfy your wanderlust.
1. Souk Tasting, Fes Food Tour in the historic Fes medina. Old world delicacies at your fingertips when you embark on a food tour. Try traditional Moroccan street food including dried meats, milawi, harsha, briwats, spicy sardines, spicy potato cakes, soups, olives and more. Taste an array of delicious wild honeys, discuss their flavors and health-giving properties and find out why honey is so important in Moroccan cooking and Islamic culture.
2.Glamping in the Sahara Desert’s Erg Chebbi Dunes. Go on a Desert Adventure and Overnight in a Luxury Desert Camp in sand dunes far away from the touristic areas. Arabian Nights Dinner fireside is served as Berber drummers serinade you. Not to be missed.
3. Marrakech Street Food, Exotic eats down Marrakech’s Tangia Alley. Evening exploration and the highlights of Marrakech Street Food Tasting. Sip Tea as the sunsets over Djemaa El Fna Square. On this exclusive guided tour you will make your way through the backstreets and sample two types of slow cooked lamb, Tangia (a Marrakech specialty, traditional Moroccan salads, a mixture of street food dishes such as a grilled sardine sandwich, merguez, or kefta, Moroccan soup and doughnuts, fresh fruit smoothies, Moroccan pastries, roasted sheep head (optional) and for the more adventurous spleen sandwiches.
4. Kicking back in Coastal Essaouira, Beach bumming it by the Sea. Stroll down the Portugese Ramparts in Old Mogador. View the picturesque seagulls as they fly across this historic old city making their way like a private chartered flight back towards the beach. Kick back and lay low with a glass of gris, visit the historic Essaouira medina or bum it by the seas. Essaouira is the first calling for those who want some R&R or a visit to Morocco and it's also the perfect ending to a country wide private tour.
5. Wine & Cheese Tasting in Ounara, Essaouira. Just eight kilometers from Essaouira sits one of Morocco's finest wineries called Val d’Argan. This winery located in Ounara is the perfect pitstop en route to Essaouira on a one day excursion. The wine tasting can include a peppering of reds, rose, whites and Moroccan Gris, all consumed with local cheeses or the option of Moroccan lunch. After you've washed your pallet with some Moroccan wine, head to La Fromagerie for lunch. Owned by Souri native, Abderrazzak, La Fromagerie is a and farm to table restaurant with some of the best “cheese, cheese and more cheese.” The menu is prefixed unless you request a la carte. It consists of local organic wine and home made cheeses threaded through every dish served.
6. Sking in Ifrane, the little Switzerland of Morocco. A lesser known region in Morocco is Ifrane. Unlike any other town this small villagge is located in the Middle Atlas and is over 5,000 meters above sea level. Ifrane has a Swiss Alpine village feel to it and is the winter playground for wealthy Moroccans who are in search for winter and skiiing. Ifrane boasts lush, green cedear forrests in spring, summer and fall. Just outside are Berber villages and a Middle Atlas region that is rich agriculturally. The town also hosts students year round with it's famed Al Akhawayn University. Ifrane is an hour from Fes, a UNESCO Heritage sites and serves as the perfect excursion in summer and for skiiing in winter.
7. Exploration of Morocco's Covered Markets. Visit Spice Souks Craft makers. With centuries-old souks, authentic craftsmanship, and tiny workshops, the shopping scene offers both old and new. Moroccan crafts are a fundamental part of Moroccan life. There are covered markets to visit everywhere in Morocco from the historical medina's to the rural country side. Local markets (souks) in the countryside take place on every day of the week. Each region of the country has a local souk that helps supply the population with good. Some are covered markets while others are completely open air. Covered Markets offer the best insiders experience for intrepid travelers who want to see first hand how Moroccans shop. The covered markets in the medina also house charming cooperatives, some of which are run by women that produce, wood, metal, copper, wool, linen, stone, embroidery and clay into distinctly Moroccan products that have been made for centuries. The covered markets offer a perfect opportunity to Shop the Souks of Morocco in style.
8. The Ultimate Hammam experience. Discover a Moroccan bath house. A scrub with Moroccan salts and Rose water Massage is an essential part of any Morocco travel experience. Hammams have played an important role in Morocco serving as places of social gathering, ritual cleansing and with special customs attached to them. The majority of Moroccans visit a hammam at least once a week. Book a two hour appointment and request for both a Hammam and Massage combination option. Be prepared to be well scrubbed (in a hot room) on both sides of your body with a rough flat glove called a kiis. This is a culturally enriching experience.
9. Bread baking with a Berber Family. Meet a local Berber family in the village of Ait Ouzzine nestled between the Sahro and Tamlalt Moutnains. Sip tea with the Berbers and bread bake on volcanic rock. Make a rare speciality bread of the region called Bourafin which is a century-old tradition of gathering brush and rocks, then baking the bread in open mountain, fresh air on age old historic volcanic rock. Walk in the green fields and see how the traditional Berbers live with their gardens of herbs, livestock, and henna plants.
10. A romantic Horse and Carriage ride through the ramparts of Marrakech. A fun way to visit the ramparts of Marrakech is through a Horse-drawn carriage. Through the red hamra city, visitors will see colored horse-drawn carriges in shades of chartruse, hot pink, lemon and orange. These carriges are referred to as calche's. There's nothing quite like taking a caleche ride in historic Marrakech medina as your driver summons the horse to turn down small alley's, navigate the souks, weave between old world palaces and gardens, and then sprints along beside motorcycles and new card into the ville nouvelle (new city). At sunset or even on a rare, rainy evening a calche ride will bring back memories of another century and how travelers once navigated Marrakech.
11. Take a road trip and Wander the Blue Washed City of Chefchaouen. Located in Morocco’s Rif, this small city is often referred to as the hidden jewel of the North. Chefchaouen was founded in 1947 by Moorish exilesfrom Spain. Its blue-glazed houses and buildings are a tradition that comes from the town's former Jewish population. Wandering around this blue washed city is one of the top things to do on a visit to Morocco. It offers an imaginary experience that makes you feel as if you are inside a magifcal story book from the 17th Century. Travelers can venture into the old Kasbah that faces the exterior of the city's walls, shop for handcrafts, taste fresh goat cheese and observe locals doing daily chores.
12. Indulge in ancient history by visting the Berber Museum in Marrakech. The intense blue house and studio of French artist Jacques Majorelle is now the Majorelle Gardens and the Berber Musuem. While visiting the Majorelle Gardens, a stunning botanical garden that became the Moroccan retreat and sanctuary for French fashion designer Yves Saint-Laurent, is on everyone's bucketlist we recommend highly not to miss the Berber Musuem. Formerly known as he Islamic Museum of Art, this new museum was renamed and launched with propert histoical provenance to honor the Berber people and their traditions. As the Berbers are the original inhabitants of Morocco and were driven in the mountains in te 7th Century by Arabs from Yemen, having as much of their history and costume on display pays a long standing homage essential to those discovering Moroccan history. With over 60o objects in the Berber Museum ranging from the Rif to the Sahara this offers vistors a compelling panorama on Berber culture. The renovation of the Berber Museum was carried out by Christophe Martin with museocologiest, Bjorn Dahlstrom. This is a must see piece of Marrakech for all travelers.
For More Information about Things to do in Morocco Morocco’s Imperial Cities, Seaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villages, A Taste of Morocco, Magical Kasbahs, Ruins & Waterfalls, Absolute Morocco, The Best of Marrakech, Fes, and Ouarzazate
|Posted by Alecia Cohen on March 15, 2017 at 9:35 AM||comments (1)|
Imagine your journey on a Morocco Private Tour. Imagine that you will be whisked away in a moment’s notice to drink wine with views of the Moroccan Coast, stay inland at a converted Palace with trickling fountains surrounded by the scent of rosewater and venture by 4x4 to a remote Desert Stone camp. Morocco’s Heritage and people lie at a crossroads where Moroccan Arabs, Berbers, Jews and Christians have lived together peacefully for centuries. The result is a country that is home to a rich Muslim and Jewish history where a unique blend of Arab, Andalusian, Berber Jewish and European traditions are alive and well. Morocco is known for it stunning cuisine and its people who are hospitable and kind.
A Morocco Private Tour offers travelers a fine balance of rural, and old world traditions combined with contemporary elegance. The sites we offer on our Top 10 Morocco Private Tour itineraries are the highlights of Moroccan cities and regions, but each region of Morocco can be developed into a special experience and our service is to curate a Private Tour to Morocco that resonates with you. Monuments and museums are a great starting place, but we encourage travelers to let us know what is relevant to them and then use our knowledge of Morocco to create an itinerary that will suit budget, time-frame, tastes, and interests. We will customize an inspirational private trip, show you Morocco’s best-kept secrets and arrange your stays at charming boutique riads and hotels.
Our tailor made private tours to Morocco include luxury transportation in a 4x4, accommodations at the Best Boutique Riads and Hotels, an English/ Multilingual Speaking Driver along with Licensed, expert Historical Guides. Whether you prefer Old cities, Roman ruins and the souks or the Sahara Desert, the High Atlas Mountains and natural wonders, we can tailor-make a tour based upon your personal interests.
|Posted by Alecia Cohen on December 26, 2016 at 9:45 AM||comments (0)|
Marrakech is home to several magnificent, must see Palaces located in the historic district, also referred to as the medina. When visiting Marrakech on a Private Tour to Morocco these Top Rated Palaces are historically significant and offer a window into the former lives of royalty who built and managed these century old lavish homes. The palaces of Marrakech are essentially riads (courtyard homes) based upon the concept of Roman villas with lush interior courtyards, ornate architecture, hand crafted cedar wood and painted ceilings and succulent gardens. Marrakech's palaces are typically surrounded by walls given this was a tradition of protection and to prevent those passing by from seeing inside. Many of the Marrakech palaces and riads have been been transformed into boutique hotels and guest houses. Several of the palaces such as the Bahia Palace, El Badi Palace, Dar Si Said Palace, are historic landmarks, that have remained open to the public as to visit on a Guided tour of Marrakech. These palaces are also used by art organizations such as the Marrakech Bienalle and the Marrakech International Film Festival for both public and private events.
The Bahia Palace was built at the end of 19th century by Si Moussa, grand vizier to the sultan Sidi Mohammed ben Abderahmane 1859 -1873, as his personal residence. The work on the palace was continued by his son Ba Ahmed who was grand vizier to Sultan Moulay Hassan and the powerful regent to the young sultan, Abdel Aziz. They brought craftsmen from Fes who created carved and painted and guided wooden ceilings and reception rooms and numerous courtyards. The haphazard warren of rooms is partly due the growing number of official wives and concubines with their children. The most imposing feature is the vast courtyard used for official occasions and decorated with a central basin. It leads onto to gardens and palm trees. When Ba Ahmed died all his possessions were seized by the sultan and the palace is completely empty of fixtures and fittings. The Bahia has an imposing entrance through the main gate, which is just up from the Jewish Mellah. It was the headquarters of the French military during the French Protectorate and the American novelist Edith Wharton stayed there as a guest of Marshal Lyautey in 1917. The Royal family still uses the Bahia palace for official occasions.
Ben Youssef Medersa
Visit the Ben Youssef Madrasa, an Islamic college in Marrakech, Morocco, named after the Almoravid sultan Ali ibn Yusuf (reigned 1106–1142), who expanded the city and its influence considerably. It is the largest Medrasa in all of Morocco.The college was founded during the period of the Marinid (14th century) by the Marinid sultan Abu al-Hassan and allied to the neighbouring Ben Youssef Mosque. The building of the madrasa was re-constructed by the Saadian Sultan Abdallah al-Ghalib (1557–1574). In 1565 the works ordered by Abdallah al-Ghalib were finished, as confirmed by the inscription in the prayer room. Closed down in 1960, the building was refurbished and reopened to the public as a historical site in 1982.
El Badi Palace The El Badi Palace was built in the 16th century by the Saadian Sultan Ahmad al-Mansour following his victory over the Portuguese at the battle of the three Kings in 1578. This epoch making event changed the course of history as King Sebastian of Portugal and his allies were defeated and Portugal never again held sway in Morocco apart from a few costal outlets like El Jadida, Essaouira and Azemmour. The Sultanate of Morocco was at the pinnacle of its power. Portuguese ransoms and captured booty as well as Sub Saharan African gold and the sugar trade paid for the construction of the palace. Sultan Ahmad al-Mansour died shortly after the El Badi’s completion in 1603. He had asked his court jester what he thought of his palace and the jester replied that it would make a fine ruin. By 1690 this came to pass, as Sultan Moulay Ismail stripped the El Badi completely to adorn his palace in Meknes. What you see today is a mere shell but it does give a sense of the massive proportions involved along with sunken gardens and dungeons. As so often in Moroccan history buildings were destroyed by conquerors or successors building their own stately palaces. There are fine views from the towers of the Medina and the Atlas mountains. Storks nest on the ramparts as they do along the high walls of the Royal Palace adjoining it. The Marrakech Folklore Festival Son et Lumiere with Berber dances and music takes place in July in the grounds of the El Badi and its huge ramparts and walls provide an imposing historical venue. The El Badi Palace has a museum and exhibits of which includes and a 12th-century minbar that once stood inside the Marrakech Koutoubia Mosque. The Royal Palace, whose high walls and gates follow on from the El Badi, is also known as Dar el-Makhzen, is part of the imperial grandeur of Marrakech. It was built on the site of the Almohad Kasbah, by the Almohads in the 12th century and underwent changes by the Saadians in the 16th century and the Alaouites in the 17th century. It was one of the palaces owned by the Moroccan king, and the palace employed the most accomplished craftsmen in the city. The rooms are large, with unusually high ceilings for Marrakech, with zellij and cedar painted ceilings. At the entrance is an ancient pulley fastened to the ceiling.
Dar Si Said Palace & Museum of Moroccan Arts
Dar Si Said, also known as the Museum of Moroccan Arts, is located to the north of the Bahia Palace, right from the Rue Riad Ziroun el-Jedid. It was formerly the house of the brother of Bou-Ahmed, Sisi Said. The collection of the museum is considered to be one of the finest in Morocco, with jewelry from the High Atlas, the Anti Atlas and the extreme south; carpets from the Haouz and the High Atlas; oil lamps from Taroudant; blue pottery from Safi and green pottery from Tamgroute and leatherwork from Marrakesh. There is also a fine small garden laid out in classic Moroccan style but the glory of Dar Said is the carved and painted ceilings on the top floor which are the finest example of painted ceilings in Marrakech. Some of the wooden screens and frames were recovered from the El Badi palace. Today in the Middle East, Moroccan craftsmen are sought after as creators of Moroccan carved and painted ceilings in palaces and corporate headquarters. Their craftsmanship was displayed in the New York Metropolitan Museum exhibition “The Moroccan Court” in New York in 2011 and in the following year at the Shangri-La residence in Honolulu as part of a promotion for Moroccan business and cultural exchange between Morocco and Honolulu.
Dar Menebhi Palace The Dar Menebhi Palace close to the Medersa Ben Youssef was built at the end of the 19th century by Mehdi Menebhi. The palace was carefully restored by the Omar Benjelloun Foundation and converted into a museum in 1997. The house itself represents an example of classical Andalusian architecture, with fountains in the central courtyard, traditional seating areas, a hammam and intricate zellij tile work and carvings. The museum’s large atrium (originally a courtyard, now covered in glass and fabric) contains a very large centrally hung chandelier consisting of metal plates decorated with fine geometric and epigraphic cuttings. Several features of the original courtyard, including the floor-set basins and mosaics have been retained. The museum holds exhibits of both modern and traditional Moroccan art together with fine examples of pottery and ceramics from Fes and Moroccan Jewish, Berber and Arab cultures. Dar El Bacha The Dar El Bacha on the Rue Bab Doukala was the palace of the Pacha of Marrakech, Thami El Glaoui, who was Pacha from 1912-1956. He entertained the cream of western high society with parties at Dar El Bacha with Winston Churchill, Colette, Maurice Ravel, Charlie Chaplin and many others. As he collaborated with the French protectorate and contrived to remove Sultan Mohamed V into exile in Madagascar, he was and remains, unpopular to this day. Although Sultan and later King Mohamed V forgave him on his return from exile, all Thami’s properties were confiscated after his death in 1956. The Dar El Bacha is now a Royal Palace and a trade union federation occupies part of its imposing edifice. It was rumored that a museum was to open there but nothing has transpired. Many would like to visit this palace but it remains closed.
For more information about Marrakech's Palaces on a Guided Tour Morocco’s Imperial Cities, Seaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villages, A Taste of Morocco, Magical Kasbahs, Ruins & Waterfalls, Absolute Morocco, The Best of Marrakech, Fes, and Ouarzazate