Buying Beer At The Supermarket
It is nigh on impossible to buy alcohol inside the medina, so it is worth taking a trip to one of the supermarkets in Guliez to stock up, especially if you are staying in a riad.
The local brews of Casablanca & White flag beer are very pallitable and quite strong at 5.2%.
But be advised that alchol can only be purchased through certain checkouts at these supermarkets, which seems a little hypocritical, but hey who cares that much.
Public transportation in Marrakech
Grand taxi (Mercedes) from the Airport to Jemaa El Fna: fixed prices are indicated at the exit of the airport building and should be 50 dirham, on the taxi stand itself there is a board with says it is 60 dirham to Jemaa el Fna square. Note that you always have to bargain a bit with the grand taxis as they have no meter, but they are practical if you have a lot of luggage.
Petit taxi (Fiat) from Marrakech train station to Jemaa El Fna square costs 20 dirham or less depending of how much you can bargain off the starting price of 40 dirham. With the meter on it would probably cost 10 dirham, but unfortunately in Marrakesh a lot of petit taxi's refuse to use the meter, especially when you have luggage with you. So, compared to Rabat and Casablanca, where they all use a meter, in Marrakech you have to use your bargain skills.
Nid'Cigogne - in the Kasbah
Lunch time one day found us close to the Saadian Tombs and all of the guidebooks recommended Nid'Cigogne. Ok, so that doesn't mean that it would be a good meal, but hey, it was close and we were hungry.
The thing that appealed to me about Nid'Cigogne was that you could apparently dine with a great view of some nesting storks - and the books were right. We sat up on the 3rd level of the restaurant and our table looked right across at a nest with two storks who put on quite a show for us during our meal with their dancing and beak-clacking performances.
So, the restaurant is split over 3 levels, and there are a couple of flights of stairs to access it from the street. We got a lack lustre welcome on arrival and very slow, disinterested service throughout the meal. The menu consisted of light meals like sandwiches & salads, and some more traditional fare such as tajines and couscous.
We ordered a Beef Tajine and some Chicken & Vegetable Couscous to share. The couscous was ok, with some big pieces of vegetables on top, but the tajine wasn't very good.
Summing up, the food was disappointing, and expensive by Moroccan standards, but it was worth it for the storks!
Djemma El-Fna Square
The heart and soul of Marrakesh. Djemma El-Fna starts out exciting and finishes off wild! Storytellers, acrobats, snake charmers, water sellers, musicians, magicians and just about any other form of entertainment you can think of. At night the food stalls open up and you can get a cheap but delicious meal. Cafes line the outside and everyone in Marrakesh comes out for a part of the action.
The Red City
Marrakech known as the "Red City" or "Al Hamra," is a city with a population of 1,036,500 (as of 2006) in southwestern Morocco, near the foothills of the Atlas Mountains.
The possible origin of its name could be from the Tamazight (Berber) words mur (n) akuch, which means "Land of God". (The root "mur" is now in the Berber languages used only in the feminine form "tamurt"). The same word "mur/mawr" appears in the country Mauritania, but this interpretation is still unproven to this day. There are other possibilities that are often invoked.
Djemaa el FnaThis city is the capital of the Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz region.
Marrakech has the largest traditional market (souk) in Morocco and also has one of the busiest squares in Africa, Djemaa el Fna.The square bustles with acrobats, story-tellers, water sellers, dancers, and musicians, as well as drug lords by day; By night, the square turns into food stalls, becoming a huge open-air restaurant with busy life that include the infamous Ladies of the Night(prostitutes).
Like many North African and Middle Eastern cities, Marrakech comprises both an old fortified city (the médina) and an adjacent modern city (called Gueliz). It is served by Ménara International Airport and a rail link to Casablanca and the north.
The city is spelled "Marrakech" in French, "Marrakesh" in English, and "Marrakesch" in German
Marrakesh is the third largest city in Morocco after Casablanca and Rabat. It was known to early travellers as "Morocco City." Prior to the advent of the Almoravids in the 11th century, the area was ruled from the city of Aghmat. The Almoravid leader, Abu-Bakr Ibn-Umar decided Aghmat was becoming overcrowded and chose to build a new capital. Being a nomad from the Sahara Desert, he decided to build it in the plains, away from the mountains and rivers. He chose the site of Marrakech, because it was in neutral territory between two tribes who were vying for the honor of hosting the new capital. Work started in May 1070, but Abu-Bakr was recalled to the Sahara to put down a rebellion in January 1071 and the city was completed by his deputy and eventual successor Yusuf ibn Tashfin. The city experienced its greatest period under the leadership of Yacoub el Mansour, the third Almohad sultan. A number of poets and scholars entered the city during his reign and he began the construction of the Koutoubia Mosque and a new kasbah.
Prior to the reign of Moulay Ismail, Marrakech was the capital of Morocco. After his reign, his grandson moved the capital back to Marrakech from Meknès.
For centuries Marrakesh has been known for its 'seven saints.' When sufism was at the height of its popularity, during the reign of Moulay Ismail, the festival of the 'seven saints' was founded by Abu Ali al-Hassan al-Yusi at the request of the sultan. The tombs of several renowned figures were moved to Marrakesh to attract pilgrims in the same way Essaouira did at that time with its Regrega festivals. The 'seven saints' (sebaatou rizjel) is now a firmly established institution, attracting visitors from everywhere. The seven saints include Sidi Bel Abbas (the patron saint of the city), Sidi Muhammad al-Jazuli, Sidi Abu al-Qasim Al-Suhayli, Cadi Ayyad ben Moussa, and Abdallah al-Ghazwani.
Marrakech was dominated in the first half of the 20th century by T'hami El Glaoui, Lord of the Atlas and Pasha of Marrakech. The poet of the city was Mohammed Ben Brahim, his favorite place was café Al-Masraf. The poems and songs of Ben Brahim are still known by heart by many Marrakshi.
"How many people are living there?"
The official number of residents is one million. Also, there is a very large international community consisting mainly of Europeans: especially French, estimated at 10,700 people, mostly retired. Additionally there are Germans, Italians, English, and Swiss