“Marrakech taught me colour”
-Yves Saint Laurent
I hate to say that I was slightly disappointed by Marrakech. It is the most popular Moroccan city and tourists and visitors flood it all year round but there really wasn’t much to see. If it were the first Moroccan city I visited, i believe I could have had a different perspective of it. However, I have two spots that I absolutely adored and will share them with you.
The aesthetic in Marrakech is stunning; the cobalt blue, green and earthy hues made every corner photo worthy. Just like any other Moroccan city.
Marrakech during summer is the worst decision a traveller could ever make. Temperatures reach up to 48 degrees during the day and no one can function in that weather. You have no choice but to sleep during the day and get out in the evening. I would strongly advise you go during spring time and enjoy yourself ten times more.
We were staying for the weekend in a flat we found using Airbnb. We were 8 of us in the flat and ended up paying 100MAD (KSH 1,000) each for the entire weekend which is a good deal.
JEMAA EL-FNA SQUARE ساحة جامع الفناء
I fell in love with Jemaa El Fna Square. The name is said to might mean the “The assembly of death,” which I found quite intriguing.
The square is located at the entrance of the Old Medina and has the most vibrant scene in Morocco yet. The first thing that greets you at the entrance of the square are the endless horses parked on the road side. The area reeks of horse droppings and only sets the scene for what will come next. As you walk into the square, drumbeats and singing gets louder and louder. Traditional performers practise their craft in front of an active audience that claps and dances along.
Snake charmers have set up base all over the square playing their flutes as you watch the snake seemingly get hypnotized as the pied piper does his thing. They might taunt you to pick one up or they might bring a snake to you so that you can take a picture with it. Warning: This is a trap. Unless you are willing to part with some money, politely refuse to handle the snake because they might accuse you of theft and get aggressive. Trust me.
Fresh orange juice stands are available all over the square. I was a huge fan of this as I ended up drinking 5 cups of orange juice (one is 5 MAD) in one night. It was that good.
We ended our evening at the square by having some Chicken Tajine at a rooftop restaurant in the square while getting a stunning view of Jemaa el-Fnaa square.
Marjoelle Gardens is one of the pearls of Morocco in my opinion. French painter, Jacques Majorelle (1886-1962), took forty years to create this enchanting garden in the heart of the “Ochre City”. The Art Deco cobalt blue (now dubbed Marjoelle blue) and yellow building was built as a home (Villa Bou Saf Saf) but was later converted into the Berber Museum.
Jacques aquired hundreds of rare varieties of trees and plants: cacti, palm trees, bamboo, coconut palms, thujas, weeping willows, carob trees, jasmine, agaves, white water lilies, datura, cypress, bougainvilleas, and ferns which he planted in the garden. He arranged these plants in a way that they play with light and shadow in relation to the building
The provision of courtyards, fountains and sheltered walkways provided shelter againist the harsh Moroccan sun. The use of primary colours as the main colour scheme complimented the greens of the garden and brought vibrancy and intensity to the premises.
YVES SAINT LAURENT
Yves Saint Laurent’s ashes were scattered in Jardin Marjoelle. Yes, you read that right. The acclaimed founder of YSL bought the premises in 1980 to save it from a real estate developer who wanted to convert it to a hotel. His studio was found in the villa and he stated that the garden was source of inspiration to him. Yves’s memorial is located in the garden together with an art exhibit on ‘Love’ by him.
I left the garden feeling inspired and motivated..seemingly the same effect it had on Yves Saint Laurent.
The entrance to the garden is a hefty 70MAD (KSH 700) with an additional 40MAD (KSH400) to enter the Berber museum.
Marrakech is a city full of culture and aesthetic. As an artist you will feel inspired by this city.
Have a lovely week