10 Things You Can Do in the Medina of Marrakech
The Medina (the old city) is agreed-upon to be a must-visit place in Marrakech. It is a large district in the city where tourists head over to explore the veracity of what Marrakech truly is. The famous Jamaa Lafna square, Souks, Historical monuments… All take place in the Medina. It is absolutely the right place to go to if you’re looking forward to exploring the traditions, crafts, arts, culture, and lifestyle of Morocco. Perky and welcoming, the Medina is an irresistible stopover for visitors; a place where you will not run out of things to do. Here is a list of 10 things that you can do once in the Medina:
1. Grab an Orange juice and Stroll around
You will probably get first to the Medina through Jamaa Lafna busy square. This is where you will catch everything on the move; so much as it might get a little bit overwhelming as everybody would be calling for you to try this and that. Before trying anything, go grab a fresh orange juice or any drink you like from one of the juice carts and stroll around the square. Take your time in observing and getting familiar with the enthusiastic aura of the place while enjoying the delicate sunny weather.
2. Take pictures
Another obvious thing to do, but not if the pictures could turn out exceptionally awesome. Apart from having a cool frame for your picture, you can make it further interesting by posing with animals: monkeys, snakes… You can also take a picture with the Garrab, a person dressed traditionally in red and an embellished dome-shaped-like hat and equipped with silver or bronze containers for water. He offers water and takes pictures with tourists for a very small amount of money. You can also place yourself strategically according to the lofty Koutoubia Mosque or take eye-catching pictures in the souks, next to the shining lanterns or the flashy leather goods.
3. Get a Henna tattoo
A Henna tattoo is a traditional tattoo used by Moroccans for ages. It is made of Henna dye and water and usually placed on the hands or feet with the help of a syringe. The henna artist makes different shapes, geometrical and floral, to finally come up with a beautiful paint of Henna. At first, it looks dark green, then black once it completely dries (it’s the perfect time to snap a picture of it) and then takes a brownish red, depending on how long you’ve kept it on. The Henna tattoo is temporary and most likely to vanish with the more use of water. Though it is typically for women to use, many guys still like to place a scorpion tattoo on their arm.
4. Attend to a Helqa
A Helqa is a form of street theatre folklore that long existed in the Moroccan tradition. It could be set as a tale, a funky musical show, a dance, a comedy show…etc. The audience gathers around the performers in the form of a circle, which is what the word “Helqa” stands for. It is very entertaining and purely cultural. Though as fun as it might be, don’t let your guards down as there could be some sneaky people around ready to steal. And that’s a safety tip that isn’t exclusive to the Helqa.
5. Eat on a Terrace and Enjoy the View
There are a lot of options for where you can eat in the Medina. Two of which remain the most gratifying. First, you can eat at one of the food carts that host a barbecue and offer a good deal of Traditional Moroccan meals, such as: the Moroccan soup, tea…etc. Or you can have a meal on the terrace of a restaurant. This is where you can get a full view of the liveliness of the Medina. It is especially mesmerizing at the sunset and with the spark of night lights.
6. Purchase a Souvenir
The souks in the medina are interconnected through alleyways forming a wonderful maze that displays a colorful gallery of Morocco’s treasurable cultural legacy. The souks of the Medina, particularly Souk Semmarine, contain all kinds of goods and therefore present a lot of options for picking up a souvenir: traditional leather bags, and shoes, carpets, jewels, Moroccan attires…etc. The prices are usually very affordable, but some haggling skills can get you quite the deal.
7. Visit Historical Monuments
The Medina is unquestionably the number one focus point of historical monuments. Koutoubia Mosque, Bahia Palace, Badii Palace, Saadian Tombs, Almoravid Dome and more of the most famous landmarks and monuments are in the medina, situated close to each other. Visiting those historical monuments will allow you to discover and learn a lot about the Moroccan architecture, culture, and history.
8. Explore the Moroccan Traditional Handicraft
In a modern world where everything is done by a machine, Moroccans are still proudly embracing their handicrafts. Luckily, the medina is a hub space for all the works of dedicating traditional artisans. Whether it’s pottery, leathercraft, rugs, lanterns … the finesse and skillfulness of these works will never fail to captivate your attention and fascinate your senses.
9. Enjoy a Horse-Drawn Carriage Tour
Horse-drawn carriages, also known as “coche” (as in Spanish for “car”) are a very popular form of touristic transportation. The four-wheel carriages take the color green and are furnished in red (colors of the Moroccan flag) and drawn by two horses. Tourists rejoice in a great tour that goes about many corners in Marrakech under the harmonic rhythm of the horses’ hooves. The tour costs no more than 120 MAD for an hour.
10. Book a Trip or a Tour
The Medina is also a great base for excellent agencies that provide great travel services and fair excursion offers. Whether you’re looking for a desert tour or a night camp in the Sahara Desert , a day trip exploring the high Atlas mountains, a thrilling quad bike tour, or regular private tour… The Medina is a good place to start looking and embarking on a joyful new experience.