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This is the only part of modern Marrakesh which we really saw much of, as do many tourists. We came here on our first day to visit the Majorelle Gardens, but also unfortunately found ourselves here on several more occasions for my clinic treatment and to visit pharmacies for the painkillers and injections that I had been prescribed.
The name of this district comes from the Gueliz Mountain west of Marrakech. It is laid out very much in the European style, with broad avenues and little cafés on many corners. At first glance these can look extremely Parisian, but then you spot the Arabic signs and the tea pots and glasses of mint tea and realise that Europe is further away that it might have seemed.
Gueliz is also home to many of the commercial premises that keep the city moving: banks, travel agencies, offices, shops, post office, railway and bus stations ... For tourists the main attractions are the Majorelle Gardens and perhaps the Cyber Park Arsat Moulay Abdeslam, which we passed but didn’t visit. This is also the place to find modern hotels, more Western in style and character, if these are your preference.
The main thoroughfare that bisects the district is the ever-busy Avenue Mohammed V which links three squares – the Place Abdel Moumen Ali, Place du 16 Novembre, and Place de la Liberté. To the south of the last of these it passes through the Bab Nkob gate into the Medina.
Gueliz -' The French Quarter'
Gueliz, is part of the 'ville nouvelle' - New Town of Marrakech - also known as The French Quarter, as the city expanded beyond the city walls in the 19th century, when it was under French control.
Long straight Boulevards radiate from roundabouts, where fountains provide an attractive diversion, and pavement cafes are evident.
Ave Mohammed V runs from the Koutoubia Mosque, through Gueliz, passing through the Place de la Liberte and Place du 16 Novembre.
Gueliz is the location for many mid range and luxury hotels, night clubs, cinemas, offices and shops.
My hotel was in this area, and I enjoyed wandering around, window shopping (there are some great shops selling contemporary clothing and shoes/bags etc) and sitting at one of the pavement cafes with a coffee, people watching. There's also a cinema which is probably the smartest in Marrakesh.
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Guéliz, hardly worth the trip
Guéliz is the modern downtown area of Marrakech, also called Ville Nouvelle (New Town). It was built by the French during their Protectorate and meant to house the Europeans living in the city. It is named after the sandstone mined in local quarries with more or less the same red/pink colour like the walls and houses in the medina.
Avenue Mohammed V is by far the most important (and busiest) road in Guéliz, running from the Koutoubia Mosque and passing Bab Nkob. The road is lined with offices, travel agencies, rental car offices, banks, shops (in side roads also some boutiques), restaurants and sidewalk cafés. In and around the area are also a lot of (western style) hotels. The gift shops offer the same Moroccan/Berber souvenirs as anywhere else in town and contrary to what I had read we had to bargain as well.
The best thing we did in Guéliz was drinking a morning coffee on one of the pavement cafés, watching modern Guéliz life and eating a croissant from a confectionery. But that’s hardly enough to travel all the way to Marrakech. It was just a short visit and we were happy staying in the medina.
Guéliz is easy accessible from the medina by a ‘petit taxi’.
The name Gueliz comes from the Arabic bastardization of the French word "eglise" meaning church. That's the long way of understanding that Gueliz is a colonial construction - a place of wide boulevards, not mazes of alleyways, of plumbing, showers, supermarkets, central heating and a regular supply of electricity. It's the modern part of Marrakech.
It might not be as charming as the old Medina, but you should visit Gueliz if you want to get a feel of real Morocco. This is where Moroccans live. It's where Moroccans would like to live. The Medina is becoming a bit of a tourist circus, but here people just go about their daily business. There's much less hassle here, and the pace is a bit less intense. You'll also find some of the best restaurants.
Gueliz is Marrakech's modern city, far to the north of the Medina. It seems almost like a European city, except for the pink walls of all the buildings.
Outside the Medina: Gueliz
Gueliz is the fancier part of town outside the Medina, by fancy I mean fairly useless but nice for a quiet walk when you need a break from the chaos.
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