Marrakech and Essaouira

The Red City, so called because of the terracotta wash used on its buildings, lies within reach of both the cool High Atlas valleys and, beyond arid plains to the west, the coast. Marrakech has attracted European visitors since at least the 1920s and is one of the great historic cities of North Africa. Focus points are the elegant 12th-century Koutoubia Mosque and the Jemaâ el Fna 'square', famed for its seething mass of entertainments and open-air restaurants. Around them stretches the médina, a place of narrow streets, flat-roofed houses and minarets. The souks are thronged with handicrafts of every shape and size, from silken caftans and pottery drums to carved wooden chests and the orange-woollen expanses of Chichaoua carpets.

West of Marrakech, the photogenic fishing port of Essaouira is an isolated but popular side-trip from Marrakech. The town has been an important port for centuries and its high walls have been battered by various sea powers, as well as Atlantic waves. Its fishing industry survives, though the focus is increasingly tourism and the surrounding beaches are popular with windsurfers. Beautiful and relaxed, it is the perfect antidote to Marrakech's more frenetic attraction.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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Morocco Handbook: Marrakech - Essaouira - Fes - Atlas

Marrakech evokes images of labyrinthine souks, vibrant colours, and minarets stretching towards the...
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