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Six Things You Didn't Know About Marrakech


Mystical, magical, atmospheric, fragrant, noisy, colourful....just a few of the adjectives that spring to mind when someone mentions Marrakech. Most people associate bustling souks, hearty tagines, mint tea and the hectic Djemaa el Fna square with this sultry Middle Eastern city but Morocco's favourite city break destination offers much more. Read on to discover six things you didn't know about Marrakech....

1. The city has gardens. A lot of gardens. From the lush courtyards of its riads to the expansive formal gardens of its palaces and museums, these green spaces are havens from the hustle and bustle of the city. The Agdal is the most important garden in the city and at over 800 years old, it is sometimes referred to as the Islamic Versailles.

2. Golf. Marrakech is rapidly becoming one of the leading golfing destinations. There are currently six courses, a couple of them offering 36 holes, and others are on the drawing board, all designed by some of the biggest names in golf course design.

3. The name Marrakech is thought to derive from the ancient language of the Berber people that live in the Western Sahara region and means ‘Land of God’. The city is strategically located between the Atlas Mountains and the desert so the name had an obvious appeal to the first settlers, representing the sacred inhabitable balance between the two opposite barren landscapes.

4. Hitchcock made his mark on the city. His classic and suspense genre masterpiece, The Man Who Knew Too Much, was filmed and set largely in Marrakech. There are actually two versions of the film, one filmed in 1934 and a later re-make from 1956, both directed by Hitchcock. The later film is generally considered the better of the two and makes an ideal introduction to the city.

5. Winston Churchill was also a fan. During the Second World War, the allied leaders held a conference in Casablanca after which Roosevelt and Churchill enjoyed a brief rest in Marrakech, where Churchill was keen to witness the reaction of the US President to both the ‘Paris of the Sahara’ and the stunning view of the sun setting over the Atlas mountains. Churchill’s affection for Marrakech continued throughout his later life and he returned several times after the war.

6. You will never go to Boots again. Marrakech's pharmacies are an experience in themselves. Qualified herbalists take you on a tour around these well-stocked, multi-floored old fashioned chemist shops hidden away deep in the souks and advise you on cures and remedies for every possible ailment. It is, of course, obligatory to buy a few litres of the revered Argan Oil, used for everything from glossy hair to anti-aging.

Discover even more about Marrakech with us next February on a belly dance and sightseeing week - early bird discount applies when you book by 31 August.