Marrakesh also known by the French spelling Marrakech, is a major city of the Kingdom of Morocco. It is the fourth largest city in the country, after Casablanca, Fez and Tangier. It is the capital city of the mid-southwestern region of Marrakesh-Safi. Marrakesh is possibly the most important of Morocco’s four former imperial cities. The region has been inhabited by Berber farmers since Neolithic times, but the actual city was founded in 1062 by Abu Bakr ibn Umar. The red walls of the city, built by Ali ibn Yusuf in 1122–1123, and various buildings constructed in red sandstone during this period, have given the city the nickname of the “Red City” or “Ochre City.
Now the city’s cultural scene is being reinvigorated, thanks to two landmark happenings in the world of art and design. First came last October’s launch of the YSL Museum — a striking geometric building next to the Jardin Majorelle, which Saint Laurent and his partner, Pierre Bergé, bought and restored in the 1980s.
Marrakesh is served by Ménara International Airport and the Marrakesh railway station, which connects the city to Casablanca and northern Morocco.
Average temperatures range from 12 °C (54 °F) in the winter to 26–30 °C (79–86 °F) in the summer. The relatively wet winter and dry summer precipitation pattern of Marrakesh mirrors precipitation patterns found in Mediterranean climates. However, the city receives less rain than is typically found in a Mediterranean climate, resulting in a semi-arid climate classification.
Here is what you need to know as a tourist about Morocco
What’s the local currency? Do they take credit cards?
The Moroccan Dirham (DEE-rahm). For a 10o$ you could get a 942 Moroccan dirhams/100€ = 1110 Moroccan dirhams. At the ATM you will get money in dirham. Often you ll be charged a foreign transaction fee of about 3 percent by your bank, whether you get cash out or use a credit card.
What language do they speak?
The Moroccans speak a fascinating mixture of Arabic, Berber, English and French. While English will likely be understood by many in the larger cities, you may have language trouble in smaller or rural areas. In this case, Arabic and French are the answer.
Say no to tour guides
The people saying “no money” definitely want your money. They will try to get you into their shops or take you places and ask for money for the service. Be firm and tell them no. It doesn’t matter their age or how helpful they are, if they start walking with you, they will ask for money!
Don’t walk alone at night
While walking in well-lit and busy areas can be fine, be careful walking at night. You never know what lurks around the corner in the medinas. Petty crime is rampant here, especially against tourists.
Watch for scams
Don’t let anyone ask you to write a letter or read a postcard that their “cousin” sent to them in English/French/whatever your native language is. It’s a ruse to get you into their store and wear you down. Same with letting someone put henna on your hand. Once these vendors have you, they will be relentless about you trying on clothes, buying something, or giving them money. Say “no thank-you” and walk away.
Always negotiate taxi prices up front
Always negotiate the price for taxis before you get in, as prices are going to be substantially inflated when you arrive at your destination.
Morocco is more intense than your average destination but amazingly beautiful
While this is good advice for any country, Morocco is more intense than your average destination due to the sheer number of people who will give you unwanted attention. It takes a lot of energy to always be on your guard in a place where the simple act of asking for directions often leads people asking for money.