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Uncover Morocco’s Magic with Marrakech Urban Adventures

  • Michelle Rodrigues
  • 15 June 2010

Lying in the foothills of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains, the city of Marrakech is a phantasm made real of incredible sightseeing opportunities and cultural experiences. If you’re only in town for one day, take it in through Marrakech Urban Adventures, but remember that one day will only allow for a scratch at the surface of this third-largest city in Morocco – one of its Imperial Cities – a marvel of bustling markets, creative gastronomy and phenomenal architecture revealing a dynamic history. Split into two distinct areas – the ancient walled Medina and the modern commercial centre of Gueliz – Marrakech offers the best of two worlds.

The Koutoubia Mosque is the largest in Marrakech. Its soaring minaret was completed in the 12th century. Photo by 5ERG10

The Koutoubia Mosque is the largest in Marrakech. Its soaring minaret was completed in the 12th century. Photo by 5ERG10

What to See

The historic architecture in Marrakech – most clearly evident in its mosques and ancient buildings – is celebrated around the world for its beauty and mystery. On the Marrakech Urban Adventures tour of Medina, Palaces and Tombs, your tour guide takes some of it in during a walk through a labyrinth of narrow market streets and souqs overflowing with people, products and produce. Along the way you explore temples, tombs and palaces, as well as the age-old Jewish Quarter, or Mellah, where you learn about Jewish heritage and the architectural style of this village within a city.

What to Eat

Did you know that couscous is the national dish of Morocco? Typically served with a mix of stewed vegetables in a flavourful sauce and, if you desire, a choice of fish or meat, it promises a memorable sensory experience. Couscous and other typically aromatic Marrakech dishes, like mechoui or bisteeya, are enlivened with spices like cumin, cinnamon, mint, marjoram and turmeric. Mechoui, a roasted lamb dish, is savoured by locals and visitors alike; seasoned with a paprika and cumin, the meat is slow-roasted for about three hours. It’s OK to eat with your hands – don’t be shy! – as most Moroccan food is eaten this way.

Whether you’re a maverick for experiential travel or just love to cook, the Marrakech Urban Adventures Tajine Cookery Class is a perfect way to delve deep into Morocco’s world-renowned cuisine. On the tour, you become shopper and chef as you prepare your very own Moroccan meal. You first learn the Arabic words for the spices included in the day’s recipe and then head out in search of ingredients at the nearest souq. Once provisioned, you let your instructor guide you in the preparation of a classic, mouth-watering Moroccan dish. Of course, as a final reward, you sample your own aromatic creations at lunch in typical riad.

Shaped in colourful and aromatic stacks, spices are typical Marrakech souqs. Photo by André Pipa

Shaped in colourful and aromatic stacks, spices are typical Marrakech souqs. Photo by André Pipa

What to Buy

In Marrakech, a souq is a market, the one-stop shop for everything from spices to custom-made Moroccan shoes.Visit the souqs around the bustling Jemaa el-Fna Square and rub elbows with locals selling typical Moroccan fresh produce and fabrics. Take home a piece of jewellery for a loved one or set off to find the perfect babouches – traditional Morrocan slippers. While shopping, be sure to bargain; vendors like to haggle, so show them what you’ve got!

A visit to Marrakech can be an experience of tradition and cultural immersion that will make you feel like a local. You will be sure to discover many ways to enrich your senses as you indulge in the city’s living history. With a skilled guide from Marrakech Urban Adventures, you won’t get lost in the mix, you’ll become a part of it!

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Urban Adventures

Urban Adventures unlocks the secrets in and around some of your favourite cities. Urban Adventures tours range from two-hour to full-day experiences and uncover back streets, hidden gems and fascinating sights. Step into the lives of the locals, find out what makes the city tick and get acquainted with the local food, culture and traditions, all in the company of an expert local guide.
Visit the Urban Adventures website.
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Africa, architecture & landmarks, cities, ecotours, food & drink, handicrafts & shopping, local knowledge, markets, Morocco, new local connections, Northern Africa, responsible travel, WHL Group news,

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