We started off the day in New Marrakesh, the part of the city that was built by the French in the 1900s. Marrakesh has a unique look; No building is higher than 6 floors because they do not want any building towering over the minaret of the Koutoubia mosque, which is the symbol of Marrakesh. It is clearly visible from anywhere in the city. The exception is a hotel built in the new part of the city during the French occupation. Also all buildings in Marrakesh have to be painted a reddish color on the outside, which is why it is known as the Red City or the Rose City. It is actually quite nice to see the contrast of the red buildings, the greenery of the palm trees and plants, and the blue skies. Marrakesh is located at the base of the Atlas mountains. I’m told on a clear day you can see the white of the snow from the Atlas Mountains, which are only about 20 miles away.
The Koutoubia mosque reflected on the water in the morning. This is the matching tower to the unfinished Hassan tower in Rabat.
Unlike the other cities, cars are allowed inside the Medina of Marrakesh so our bus drove us right to Jemaa el-Fnaa, the square of the Medina of Marrakesh. It’s always bustling with the food stalls selling dried fruit, skewers of meat, tangine, couscous, and other foods as well as street performers. But beware if you take their pictures (even raising your camera counts) because they will hound you for a tip. Apparently snake charmers are the worst.
“Even if you give them $100 they will follow you for $200.” – Hesham, our tour guide commenting on snake charmers.