Morocco: Marrakesh Market and Palaces

Authors experiences History Morocco Travel

This is a detailed article about part of our 7-day trip to Morocco.

During our time in Marrakesh we visited the market place, a Palace and a Mansion Riad. The Marrakesh market place (souk) is a super sized version of the more normal sized shopping markets in many of the Moroccan cities. The medina (old city) is fun to experience. There is an open market (Djemaa El-Fna) area where buskers, including snake charmers and monkeys will let you take their photo for a contribution. But behind that is a huge maze of narrow streets organized into departments. You really would need several days to do any real shopping here. Its kind of like shopping for furniture at IKEA, once you enter the display tunnel you just keep going and going, about 20 times longer than IKEA! I was glad that we had a guide, but it often felt like a running marathon to ensure we saw everything. Although cars are not allowed in the alleyways, motorcycles ARE allowed, so sadly this creates a challenge for the shoppers who are constantly moving out of the way, combined with the smelly gas fumes and noise. None of the other cities we visited allowed motorized vehicles. Some allowed push carts, and donkeys.

Our guide encouraged us to visit the carpet den for the “cultural educational experience”, and also a pharmacy experience. We were offered their traditional “mint tea” as a part of the sales pitch. None of our group actually bought anything, and the sales pressure was clearly there, but in a light way. As near as I can tell a standard carpet sells for between C$1,000 to C$2,000 and they can ship via Fedex. Rumor has it that the guides get a portion of the sale.

Palace and Mansion

We enjoyed touring the Bahia Palace that was occupied by a previous king, now a museum, and also a delightful Restaurant lunch in a former Riad mansion. Riads are an architecture used for some large two story homes and mansions that have all the windows facing into a central court. There are no outward facing windows. This helps ensure total privacy for the people who live there.


There was an large 6.8 earthquake in Morocco in 2023. You can see some large cracks being repaired in some photos of the buildings.

Photo Gallery 1 (all):

There are 3 pages of photos here. Use the slide show button at the bottom, to see them all. Captions are visible when you mouse over or zoom in.

Gallery 2: Riad Lunch

Gallery 3: Bahia Palace


Marrakesh is more touristic than the marketplaces that we explored in other Moroccan towns. The original souk markets were intended to serve the people of the town – but definitely a fun visit. You can read a full travel guide on Wikipedia’s travel site. See an overview of our full 7-day trip here.


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