MAARIFA CULTURAL CENTRE
Maarifa, or “knowledge” in Arabic, is the name of the Cultural Centre of Four Seasons Resort Marrakech, describing a space dedicated to art and culture of Morocco. The Maarifa Cultural Centre also offers professional-led workshops such as perfume making, Arabic calligraphy, argan oil making and mint tea rituals. A bookshop within the Maarifa Cultural Centre offers a fine selection of books on Moroccan Art de Vivre, as well as photographs of Morocco from the 19th century. Sculptures decorate the room, and Moroccan pottery adds an craftsman's touch. Additional items for sale include Moroccan handicrafts; designer items for women, men and children; beautiful pieces of vintage mottled leather; jewelry with semi-precious stones; accessories, handbags and clutches such as printed python leather pouches with stylish bright red or cobalt blue gussets finely embellished with gold; and Berber carpets.
Golf enthusiasts have a lot of opportunities to play golf only 12 - 30 min. drive away from the resort.
PLACES TO VISIT IN MARRAKECH
BEN YOUSSEF MADRASA
Founded during the 14th century, this madrasa was one of the largest theological colleges in North Africa. Its 130 student dormitories cluster around a courtyard and may have housed as many as 900 students. One of its best-known teachers was Mohammed al-Ifrani (1670-1745). The Saadian rulers who rebuilt the madrasa in the 1560s left their distinctive mark in its architecture and art. Closed down in 1960, the building was refurbished and reopened to the public as an historical site in 1982.
In about 1147, to mark his victory over the Almoravids, the Almohad sultan Abd El Moumen set about building one of the largest mosques in the Western Muslim world. It later served as the model for the Giralda in Seville, as well as for the Hassan Tower in Rabat.
The painter Jacques Majorelle was born in Nancy, France, in 1886. After studying at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, Majorelle decided to devote himself to painting. He travelled to Spain, Italy and Egypt. Convalescing from tuberculosis, he went to Morocco in 1917 and settled in Marrakech, in his now-famous villa. This garden is filled with a wide array of beautiful plants and vibrant colours, and offers many opportunities for photos.
MEDINA AND SOUKS
The souks of Marrakech are among the most fascinating in the Maghreb. A very wide range of goods, from fabric to jewellery and slippers, is on offer. Leatherwork is particularly prominent.
This palace, whose name means "Palace of the Favourite," was built by two powerful grand viziers at the end of the 19th century. It gives a great impression of what it must have been like to be a 19th-century nobleman in Morocco.
El-Badi, which means "The Incomparable," was the royal palace during the Saadian dynasty, when Marrakech was the Imperial Capital and considered to be one of the wonders of the Muslim world. The complex was built between 1578 and 1594 around a courtyard and was demolished in the 17th century. Its lavish Italian marble, Irish granite and Indian onyx were salvaged to embellish the construction of other buildings.
PLACE JEMAA EL'FNA
For centuries, this unique and extraordinary square has been the centre of Marrakech. Every night, it fills with musicians, dancers, storytellers, showmen, fortune tellers and snake charmers, each drawing a crowd of astonished onlookers.
Although they were neglected for more than two centuries, the tombs of the Saadian dynasty constitute some of the finest examples of Islamaic architecture in Morocco.
This major city in southwest Morocco offers 300 days a year of sunshine, beautiful beaches, powdery sand and a thriving hotel scene. Famous for its agriculture and seafood, Agadir has palm-lined boulevards and beachfront bars that add a decidedly Western resort feel.
With its long beach, abundant seawater spa treatments and dramatic sunsets over the Purple Islands just offshore, Essaouira makes for easy relaxation. The northeast trade winds make conditions ideal for surfing and kitesurfing, yet the area has managed to avoid the trappings of mass tourism.
At an altitude of 2,600 metres (8,530 feet), Oukaimden is one of the premier skiing resorts on the African continent. However, Oukaimden does not usually get much snow, so skiing on the steeper slopes is usually not possible. In the winter, it offers a breathtaking panoramic view over the High Atlas Mountains, and in the summer a large choice of hikes.
Just outside of Marrakech, this valley sits at the foothills of the Atlas mountain range. A delightful day getaway for tourists and locals alike, the small village of Ourika offers a river, cascades and numerous hiking opportunities.
Choose from a handful of cities in which to ride a camel or drive a 4x4 into the Saharan Desert. Take in what will be one of your most memorable sunsets and sleep in a tent nestled on top of a sand dune. Whether you choose Zagoura or Ouarzazete, your dreams of trekking and adventure in this desert are sure to come true.
DAR SI SAID (MUSEUM OF MOROCCAN ARTS)
A few twisty, turny alleyways beyond the Bahia Palace, this historic site is housed in an opulent palace that is a delight to explore. Dedicated to the arts and crafts – both past and present – of Marrakech and its surrounding areas, displays include daggers, knives, elegant robes worn by real emperors, ceramics, leatherwork and beautiful ornate decorations.
MAISON DE LA PHOTOGRAPHIE
Tucked inside the Medina, this museum has a private collection of 3,500 photographs displaying Morocco from 1870 onwards. The exposition contains hundreds of old photographs and shows the first film recorded in the High Atlas in colour – in 1957 by Daniel Chicault. Enjoy the many moving images of lifestyles over three floors, as well as lunch with a beautiful view on the terrace.
This Islamic art museum is located inside the Majorelle Garden and presents objects of Islamic art from Maghreb, the Orient, Africa and Asia. The displays include ceramics and pottery of great value, weapons and magnificent jewellery, textiles, carpets, woodworks and other treasures. A space is also devoted to the works of Jacques Majorelle, creator of the garden, and displays the personal collection of Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent.
The Museum of Marrakech is housed in the Dar Menebhi Palace, built at the end of the 19th century. The house itself represents an example of classical Andalusian architecture, with fountains in the central courtyard, traditional seating areas, a hammam and intricate tilework and carvings. The museum exhibits modern and traditional Moroccan art with fine examples of historical books, coins and pottery of Moroccan Jewish, Arab and Berber cultures.