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Jan. 4, 2023

"Exploring Marrakesh: A Brief History and Tips for Experiencing the City Like a Local"

Welcome to the Destination Morocco podcast, where we explore all aspects of Moroccan culture, history, attractions, and activities. Our goal is to help travelers plan their trips to Morocco and experience the country like a local. In this episode, we will be discussing the history of Marrakesh and how to explore the city like a local. Our guest is Youssef Kharoubi (eps 3), the founder of Marrakesh Tour Guide.

Youssef was born and raised in Marrakesh, and he has a deep love for the tourism industry. He attended school in Marrakesh and later worked for a travel agency, guiding Japanese tourists around the city. Youssef then spent six years living and working in Japan, teaching English at a private school. After returning to Morocco, he became a tour guide and has been sharing his knowledge of Marrakesh with visitors ever since.

Now, let's dive into the history of Marrakesh. As Youssef mentioned, there are four Imperial cities in Morocco: Fes, Meknes, Marrakesh, and Rabat. Marrakesh was founded in 1062 by two Berber dynasties, the Almobabits and the Almohads. The Almohads eventually took control of the city and made it the capital of Morocco. However, the capital was later moved to Fes in 1230, and Marrakesh fell into obscurity for two centuries.

It wasn't until the 16th century that the capital was once again moved to Marrakesh, where it remained until 1912, when the French colonized Morocco and the capital was moved to Rabat. Despite no longer being the capital, Marrakesh remains a major tourist destination and relies heavily on both the tourism industry and agriculture for its economy.

Marrakesh is known for its rich history and vibrant culture, and there are countless attractions to explore in the city. One of the most iconic landmarks is the Koutoubia Mosque, which was built in the 12th century and is the largest mosque in Marrakesh. The mosque is known for its beautiful minaret, which is decorated with intricate patterns and stands tall over the city.

Another popular attraction is the Saadian Tombs, which are the burial site of the Saadi Dynasty. The tombs are ornately decorated with intricate carvings and colorful mosaics, and they provide a glimpse into the opulence of the Saadi Dynasty.

The Jemaa el-Fnaa is another must-see attraction in Marrakesh. This bustling square is the heart of the city, and it is filled with street performers, food stalls, and souvenir vendors. It is a great place to soak up the local culture and people watch.

So, how can you explore Marrakesh like a local? One way is to visit the markets, which are a crucial part of Moroccan culture. The markets, or souks, are a labyrinth of narrow streets filled with stalls selling everything from spices to textiles to jewelry. It is a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture and perhaps even pick up a few souvenirs.

Another way to experience Marrakesh like a local is to visit one of the city's many gardens. Marrakesh is home to several beautiful gardens, including the Jardin Majorelle and the Jardin Secret. These gardens are peaceful oases in the midst of the busy city, and they offer a chance to escape the hustle and bustle and relax amidst the lush greenery.

Finally, consider trying some traditional Moroccan cuisine. Moroccan food is a blend of various cultural influences, and it is known for its delicious and aromatic dishes. Some popular Moroccan dishes include tagine,