The Eastern Fairytale - Marrakech

By: Tatyana Kogut.

Marrakech is located in the centre of Morocco and is surrounded by the Atlas Mountains. This ancient capital is often called the heart of Morocco. The city was founded in 1070s byYusuf ibn Tashfin, the founder of the Almoravid dynasty, in order to control the caravans that moved through the Atlas mountains. Pretty soon Marrakech turned into an important North-African centre.

Those are not only tourists who find Marrakech an attractive place. Moroccans themselves come to this ancient city from all around the country. Narrow streets will lead you to the main spot for meetings and communication - the famous Place DjemaÃ? el Fna, the biggest square in the African continent. The square is filled with street merchants, story-tellers, musicians, dancers, fortune-tellers and snake charmers. Another city's attraction, Koutoubia mosque, is located straight next to the square. Construction works to build the mosque started during the reign of Abd al-Mu'min, the first in the Almohad dynasty. His grandson, Ya'qub al-Mansur, adorned the mosque with a wonderful minaret, which is still standing there. The Koutoubia mosque dates back to the XI century, and it's the wonderful work of Spanish-Moorish art. The minaret is more than 70 meters high.

One thing you definitely shouldn't miss is the centre of Marrakech - its Medina, where there Bahia Palace stands, one of the most beautiful works of art in the whole Mulsim world. The palace was founded by Ahmed el-Mansour to mark the victory over the Portuguese in the year 1578 (the so-called Battle of Three Kings). The Dar Si SaÃ?d Museum offers a great amount of ancient works of Moroccan art and ornaments of gold and marble, collected by Ahmed el-Mansour (1578-1603). Another landmark worth seeing is the Ben Youssef Medrassa college, founded in 1570. This is a true masterpiece of the Merinid architecture. In the 12th century there were there are also the Agdal Gardens and Menara basin (an artificial lake) founded. These will make your walks around Marrakech romantic and beautiful. Truly, the city knows what to attract its visitors with. But the best time to visit Marrakech is the festival time, when the whole city is filled with music rhythms and emotional dances.

Don't miss a chance to visit the city suburbs and meet the sun coming out from the Atlas mountains. In the south you can still find small Berber settlements, where people lead the same way of life their ancestors did - far from civilization, putting their hopes on their farm only. East of Marrakech there are wonderful waterfalls and another miraculous thing - Imi'n'Ifri bridge, "the abyss gates", created by the nature itself.

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