The Red City
Marrakech is known as the ‘Red City’ thanks to the blush-coloured walls that surround it. Constructed in the 12th century, the bricks are made from tabia, which is a mixture of red mud and water from the Hazou plains. But anyone who’s been to the city will know that its nickname doesn’t do it justice. Red is just one colour in Marrakech’s kaleidoscope.
You’ll get the best feel for this in the city’s souks. Bright spices are piled up in pyramids, freshly-dyed carpets hang from the sides of stalls, and silver lamps glint with the promise of a genie inside. It’s a similar story in Jemaa el-Fna, Africa’s biggest square. Ten times busier than Piccadilly Circus at rush hour, the market place is alive with snake charmers, story tellers and potion sellers.
Away from the bustling medina area, Marrakech wears a cloak of green. The region around the city is carpeted with gardens. And they’re no ordinary public parks, either. The Menara gardens were built by royalty in the 12th century and the Jardin Majorelle was owned by fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, until his death in 2008.