“The charm of Marrakesh comes slowly to the traveller, but it stays with him always, and colours his impressions of such other cities as may attract his wandering footsteps…”, so begins the English playwright Samuel L Bensusan’s chapter on Marrakesh. Generations of travelers have been captivated by the so-called ‘red city,’ its grand palaces and ornate mosques, crammed in between the winding streets. On this Royal Marrakesh tour we will explore the ancient Kasbah, the royal citadel built by the Almoravids and transformed into a glittering Imperial capital under their successors, the Almohads. A series of other dynasties left their mark including the Saadian’s and their ornate tombs, which we will see on this tour, and we will finish at the landmark Koutoubia Mosque.
Avoid the Crowds
Allows you to explore without having to be shoulder-to-shoulder in a large tour group
Written by a Cambridge-based archaeologist, whose postgraduate (MRes) research has been devoted to Early Iron Age architecture
Easy-to-follow GPS directions to get you from one point to the next on your tour
Saadian Tombs, El Badii Palace, and the Koutoubia
Remote Tour Included
As with all our tours, a remote tour is included that can be enjoyed from home
- Bab Agnaou - One of Morocco’s four ‘imperial cities’, along with Meknes, Rabat and Fez, the splendid entrance to the Royal quarter of the city is a much restored survival of the glittering imperial capital under the all-conquering Almohad caliphate.
- Saadian Tombs - A monument beyond compare in Morocco, the mausoleums built by the Saadians are amongst the most intricately decorated in the Islamic world. Rediscovered by westerners only just over a century ago, the tombs are now a highlight of any tour to Marrakesh.
- El Badii Palace - Although in ruins, the huge open courtyard and surrounding pavilions of the El Badii palace is an austere survival of the powerful reign of Sultan Ahmed el Mansour, who presided over the last ‘golden age’ of Marrakesh at the centre of the powerful Saadian dynasty.
- The Bahia Palace - The so-called ‘brilliant’ palace is testament to the longevity of Islamic craftsmanship as well as the power and wealth attained by just one family. Stopping outside, we will take stock of some of the most sumptuous decoration found in Marrakesh and reveal the story of a short-lived let high-flying official, Si Moussa.
- Dar Si Said - It may appear inconceivable that amongst the narrow lanes of the medieval Medina there would be any space for large town houses. But like many Moroccan cities, the high ranking officers in Marrakesh sought to build themselves an elegant place to live and conduct their business. One of the best examples is the Dar Si Said, a well preserved house from the nineteenth century that now holds the city’s best collection of Berber furnishings and folklore artefacts.
- Jemaa el Fna - Listed by UNESCO as a ‘Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Hukmanity’, the Jemaa el Fna and its night time spectacle of performances is one of the most enigmatic cultural events to be found anywhere in the world. Whilst its origins are still relatively unknown, the vivacity of the display lives on, and we will stop here to take stock of the importance of Marrakesh’s central square.
- The Koutoubia - As emblematic to Marrakshis as Big Ben is to Londoners or the Eiffel Tower to Parisians, the city’s largest mosque and its 253ft high minaret, stands as a beacon at the western fringes of the old city.