Day 10: Marrakech Part 2, Morocco

by - September 17, 2012

Ali Ben Yousseff Medersa
We had stayed in Marrakech for quite a while now, but still hadn’t quite seen all there is to see here. Unfortunately Will woke up with traveller’s stomach and decided to stay in the riad for the day, so mum, dad and I set out for the sights to the north of the main square. Our first stop was the Ali Ben Yousssef medersa, a religious school like the ones that we had seen in Fez earlier in the trip. The school was extremely pretty and was once the largest and grandest in Arab North Africa. Unlike the medersas in Fez, we were able to look around the students quarters (rather than just the communal areas) and these certainly made my own university accommodation seem a whole lot nicer than I had previously thought - though they were more spartan than unpleasant. Our ticket to the madersa also entitled us to visit Marrakech museum, which is located in what was the foreign minister’s palace when Marrakech was the capital. The building was worth visiting in its own rights and the exhibits on Moroccan art ranging from the medieval to the contemporary was well worth an hour or so.

Marrakech Museum
From here we passed by the closed Koubba Ba'adiyn. This was the only building of the Almoravid dynasty that was spared by the Almohads when they sacked the city. The small shrine was closed for renovation, but it was possible to see it through the railings and get an impression of Almoravid architecture. We were now in the midst of the various souq districts and had a wander around the woodwork, metalwork and dyers souqs before stopping for lunch at a little cafe. There was one more remaining sight that I wanted to see, the Mouassine Fountain, but I couldn’t find it (navigation in Morocco is proving very difficult). Keen to see it, I asked a local kid to show me where to go for a little tip. When we got there I assumed that he had just run off with my money and tricked me, as the fountains weren’t really much to look at, but it turned out that they had seen better days. Having seen most of the places that our guidebooks suggested were worth seeing, we made our way back to the main square for some cheap, fresh orange juice and then treated ourselves to a relax in the riad pool. In the evening we headed out to a posh restaurant on the outskirts of the medina for our last meal in Marrakech. We had all been very impressed by the city, which you could visit for a week or so as a holiday in itself. Our last stop was the Atlantic Coast, where we would be staying in the coastal town of Essaouira.

Marrakech Sunset

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