Through A Lens: Marrakech

The Moroccan photo series continues, and this time we're on the road to Marrakech, the red city, where I spent the day in 52°C heat. Experiencing temperatures I'd never believed were possible, let alone survivable, it was a day full of new impressions.

After a three-hour drive to Marrakech, we arrived in the city's old district, the Medina. Narrow alleyways filled with pedestrians, merchants and people on scooters weave in and out of view, sometimes opening up to a small square or palace.

A tree full of Seville oranges – or bitter oranges – commonly used to make marmalade

A tree full of Seville oranges – or bitter oranges – commonly used to make marmalade

Our first stop was at the Bahia palace, built towards the end of the 19th century by Si Moussa, the grand vizier of the sultan, for his favourite wife, Bahia. Only parts of the palace are open to the public – the rest is still in use by Morocco's king, Mohammed VI.

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Natural dyes made from local materials are used to dye fabrics.

Natural dyes made from local materials are used to dye fabrics.

Next, we ventured into Marrakech's souk, a true tourist magnet, as well as a great place to see craftsmen go about their daily work. Stray cats can be seen roaming the alleys everywhere and the soothing scent of pine wood livens up your senses. 

Next up, we ventured into the Medersa Ben Youssef – an Islamic college founded in the 14th century, it closed down in 1960. Formerly one of the largest Quranic schools in North Africa, it is a great place to gaze at Moroccan craftsmanship including carved Atlas cedar cupolas and five-colour mosaic walls.

The spectacle of Jamaa el Fna is repeated daily and each day it is different. Everything changes — voices, sounds, gestures, the public which sees, listens, smells, tastes, touches.
— Juan Goytisolo

The day came to an end at Marrakech's bustling Jamaa el Fna square. Snake charmers entertain their audience, orange juice stand owners offering fresh juices and locals meeting to exchange the latest news are just some of the things that can be witnessed here. As the heat was impossible to endure, the square was almost entirely deserted, but our viewing point from a café overlooking the square proved to be the perfect place to watch the remaining spectacle.

Next week, I will share my impressions of Marrakech's Jardin Majorelle with you – by far my favourite place in the vibrant city!


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Lilly Wolf