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Marrakech

Marrakech is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Morocco, known for its ancient Medina and beautiful Moorish architecture. The city is divided into two – the old Medina inside the city walls, and the new city, called Gueliz, which represents modern Marrakech. Inside the Medina is a maze of narrow alleys, souks and riads – traditional Moorish houses, many converted into B&Bs – while Gueliz is home to Marrakech's newer suburbs. Behind Marrakech are the Atlas Mountains, which make for a great day trip out of the city. Marrakech airport – officially Menara Airport - is six kilometers from the city and accessible via taxi or bus.

Travelers to Marrakech will find much to do. The Medina and all its mosques and markets is perhaps the city's biggest attraction. One of the main events of Marrakech is the Djemaa el Fna night markets – the busiest in Africa. Djemaa el Fna is the main square inside the Medina – a popular meeting place and where snake charmers, traditional Berber performers and water vendors ply their trade during the day. At night, the square transforms into a lively – and crowded – bazaar of predominantly food stalls. Behind the square are the souks, selling everything from carpets to Berber shoes to bags of spices.

For a glimpse into 19th-century Morocco – at least from a vizier's perspective – the El Bahia Palace is a worthy side trip. At an ostentatious 160 rooms, the palace features tiled interior courtyards, archways carved stucco panels, intricate mosaics and classic painted latticework. Many riads in Marrakech feature similar design traits and are imbued with significant history and romance, especially those inside the Medina walls.

For more information on hotels and landmarks in the different areas of Marrakech, click on the interactive Marrakech map on the left-hand side of the page.