Marrakech – The 6-Hour Walking Marathon

Marrakech – The 6-Hour Walking Marathon

Our tour guide, Yousef, met us at the riad shortly after breakfast for our 6-hour walking tour. Before retirement, we always felt the need for a vacation after returning home from vacation, because the trips were always packed to the hilt so that we could see as much as possible. Since we’ve retired we’ve approached traveling at a more leisurely pace. Unfortunately, this Morocco trip was planned and paid for before we retired. So we are now back to the necking-breaking pace of trying-to-see-the-world-in-7-days.

First stop – Koutoubia Mosque
The gallow-looking structure (which I mistook as a construction crane) atop the minaret is actually there to point Muslims toward the direction of Mecca, so that they can position themselves facing Mecca while praying.
The Koutoubia minaret is the tallest structure in Marrakech, and by law no building in the city may exceed the height of the minaret.

One of the great things of hiring local guides is that they’ll bring you to places that aren’t in the guidebooks or blogs. So you’ll actually get to experience the city as a local, as opposed to as a tourist spending money on overpriced trinkets and beer in tourist traps.

Kasbah Mosque in the southernmost part of the Medina is the only Almohad building in Marrakech.
Marrakech is known as the Red City for its uniformly reddish/pinkish hued walls.
A synagogue in the Jewish quarter in the Medina

In the Marrakech Medina, having a guide with us also miraculously warded off all the scammers. It was such a relief to wander around the Medina not having to worry about “friendly locals” accosting us, or salesmen stopping us from taking photos of their wares (or pressuring us into buying something after I’ve snapped that photo).

Traditional shoes
Brass lanterns
The interior of a fondouk (AKA han in Turkey), a traveler’s inn where trader caravans would rest (animals in the courtyard, and traders upstairs in the rooms), and sell their wares. Now some of these house local artisans.
Here’s a hardworking donkey waiting to transport raw leather to the artisans.
Doors of Marrakech
Koubba Ba’Adiyn, the only Almoravid structure in Marrakech and thus the oldest (built 1106) building in the city.

One of the few museums that is open is the Dar El Bacha Museé. Built in 1910, it was the summer palace of the governor of Marrakech, but recently converted to a museum. Like the Museé de Marrakech, the collections on display are small.

The central courtyard garden with bitter orange trees
Columns adorned with mosaics
A café inside the palace
Fountain within the palace
Busy patterns in one corner of the room, but surprisingly not gaudy.

Our last stop of the day was the Secret Garden. Previously a 400-year old palace in disrepair, it was recently restored and opened to the public in 2016 as an oasis within the bustling Medina.

By the end of the sixth hour, I was a walking zombie. Luckily, Joe and I had planned to have dinner back at the riad, so we didn’t need to travel too far for food.

A private table set up for the only 2 hotel guests in the riad.

2 thoughts on “Marrakech – The 6-Hour Walking Marathon

  1. Great post and amazing photos. We had a chance to visit Marrakech a few years ago and upon arrival decided to hire a local guide, too. He brought us to many amazing places and told us many interesting stories. Would love to go back to Marrakech one day again. Thanks for sharing and have a good day 😀 Aiva

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