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  • Writer's pictureKate Woodman

Marrakech et ses souks (Marrakech and its souks)

Updated: Feb 16, 2020


Marrakech from our rooftop...the medina is aptly named the "ochre city" as the buildings and walls are constructed of a reddish/ochre colored local clay

Longtemps je souhaitais visiter le Maroc. La semaine dernière, j’ai finalement fait. Heureusement, ma sœur Carol, qui ne vit plus en Italie, me rejoigne. On a decidé de visiter seulement Marrakech, parce qu’on a eu une semaine et on a voulu apprendre à connaître bien la ville. On a eu la chance de rester dans une petite maison, ce qui en arabe est « tigmino ». Le propriétaire, Cyril, est aussi propriétaire du riad l’Orangeraie, qui est près de notre « tigmino. » Et les deux sont situé dans le quartier Mouassine en plein cœur de la médina (vielle ville) de Marrakech. Le location était parfait !

For many years I had wanted to visit Morocco. Like many, when I thought of Morocco, I envisioned Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman and Dooley Wilson (Sam) in Rick’s smoky Café, snake charmers in Jeema-el-Fna square, and the color, cacophony and scents of the souks (marketplace). Last week, I finally went. Fortunately for me, my sister Carol, who is no longer living in Italy, flew over from Colorado to go with me. As we only had a week, we decided to limit our visit to Marrakech and the surrounding area. We stayed in a lovely small house (called “tigmino” in Arabic) that is owned by Cyril, the proprietor of the nearby beautiful riad l’Orangeraie. Both are located in the Mouassine district of the medina (old quarter), very close to Jeema-el-Fna square and the souks. It was a perfect location, and except for the 5-times daily calls to prayer, very quiet, which is hard to believe given the location. But, much like Paris, building entrances are no indication of what lies behind. Most Moroccan homes are built around a central garden (riad) or courtyard (dar) which is either open or covered, and the exterior walls have no or very small windows. Hence once inside, the noise of the street is left behind.

Tigmino rooftop

l'Orangeraie rooftop

Marrakech est une fête pour les yeux, donc j’ai pris beaucoup de photos. En fait, c’était difficile de décider ce que des photos de partager ici. Donc, je ferai plusieurs articles de blog de notre séjour en Maroc. Pour aujourd’hui, les photos de notre « tigmino », le riad d’Orangeraie et les souks.

Marrakech is indeed a feast for the eyes. I couldn’t stop taking pictures! In fact, it was difficult to decide which ones to share….I want to post them all. I won’t of course, but will share today images of our little house Tigmino, the riad l’Orangeraie and the souks. Posts of other aspects of our trip will follow.

Tigmino front door

Entrance from main street to passageway leading to Tigmino

Tigmino sitting area looking down from rooftop

Breakfast every day on the Tigmino rooftop

Continuous screening of "Casablanca" on wall above pool at l'Orangeraie

Riad l'Orangeraie guestbook

Jeema-el-Fna square

"Big square" (as the locals refer to Jeema-el-Fna to tourists) with minaret of Koutoubia Mosque (largest in Marrakech) in background

Gorgeous pomegranates for juicing....vendors will juice just about anything!

Nuts and dried fruit

Bread

On their way to the dinner table...

The occasional female vendors....usually selling bread or pastries

Koutoubia Mosque (Moroccan flags were everywhere as King Mohammed VI was in town)

Poor little monkey....

Lots of street food

Souks

The heartbeat of Marrakesh is undoubtedly the souks or markets of the medina in the old city. The biggest in all of Morocco, they are a honeycomb of connecting alleyways, engaging all five senses. There’s the scent of lemons, mint, and olives, the flavor of nuts, coffees and teas, and the dazzling eye-catching colors of intricate lanterns, caftans, babouches (slippers), pottery and, of course ubiquitous rich carpets. The vendors are relentless (charming at first....but ultimately tiresome and annoying). The narrow crooked "streets" are chaotic to say the least....pedestrians compete with motocycles, bikes, tuk-tuks (a favorite experience was zooming through the souks in a tuk-tuk our last night), handcarts, donkey carts....blessedly skateboards and scooters have not yet arrived in Marrakech!

Captures the chaos of the souks...

Mint....

Pigment for dying wool

Lanterns

Babouches (slippers)

The day we visited the Yves Saint Laurent Museum and stunning Majorelle Garden which are located outside the medina, we found ourselves in a part of the souks that was definitely NOT for tourists...fascinating. I believe we were in the Bab Doukkala market on the northwestern edge of the medina, close to the bus station. I don't have many pictures as I didn't want to call attention to the tourist that I obviously was....but the following is a taste of the area.

About to be weighed....

Delivering bread

More of Marrakech to come.....

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