Meet the master storytellers of Marrakech who are keeping traditions alive.
The Moroccan tradition of storytelling, or Hikayat, dates back almost 1,000 years. Some of the stories were recorded, while others have been passed down orally – and these are the ones that are in danger of being lost. While the art form itself is becoming rarer, the remaining storytellers are committed to keeping the tradition going.
Hikayat used to be found in cities throughout Morocco, but today, Marrakech’s Djemaa El Fna square is the only place left to experience the magic of the storytellers. The few remaining masters, such as Ahmed Ezzarghani, train a group of young apprentices so that they can keep their rich Moroccan heritage alive and pass on this oral tradition to the next generation.
Visit Cafe Clock in Marrakech to watch these budding performers live in English and Arabic, or have a private masterclass in your riad with Ahmed Ezzarghani himself.
The Amanjena is a respite from the chaos and chatter of the market. Modeled after Ahmed al-Mansour’s ruined palace, el-Badi, Amanjena is a palatial and beautiful private retreat, offering guests tranquillity and peace just outside of Marrakech.
The inviting lobby has pink columns and petal-filled marble fountains, leading to the central courtyard where a jade pool sits beneath the blue desert sky.
Stepping into Amanjena is like stepping into a Morocco of a bygone era, and we recommend staying in one of the Pavilion Piscine rooms – they offer private pools and gazebos to shelter you from the strong summer sun.
Fashion meets gardens
Yves Saint Laurent had a well-known love for Morocco. So much so that he bought several houses here. The Musée Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech, opened in 2017, is a must-see homage to his life and his work, and it's just around the corner from the Marjorelle Garden. Lovingly restored by Yves Saint Laurent himself, it's the perfect accompaniment to the museum. You can even visit his old house which connects to the garden and explore the secret quarters.
Take to the mountains
The High Atlas mountain range circles Marrakech and is the perfect place to escape the city and embrace nature. Just an hour from Marrakech, head to , home to the bustling village of Siti Fatma for riverside dining and mountain views. Here, you can head to Setti Fatma, the seven waterfalls, which is an easy hike from the center of the village. Passing through Berber villages on your walk, it's a great opportunity to connect with the local people that call the valley home.
Windsurfing in Essaouira
Just 3 hours away from Marrakech is the windy city of Essaouira, the perfect place to relax on the beach, go windsurfing and enjoy a slower pace of life. The city is also a great place for people-watching, enjoying great food with sea views, and experiencing a change of pace after bustling Marrakech.
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