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Marrakech is the fourth biggest city in Morocco, located in the northern side of the country below the Atlas Mountains. The city is well known for its spices, palaces, souks, bazaars and hammams. Marrakech is divided in two parts – one part is Medina, the old historic city, and the new part is called Gueliz or Ville Nouvelle. The old part was built in the Middle Ages and the new part was built in the middle of 20th century by the French. Both parts of Marrakech are equally charming – Medina is full of mansions, ancient palaces, narrow alleys and local shops, while Gueliz is full of brand stores, restaurants, boutiques and gardens.
The climate in Marrakech is hot semi-arid. Summers are extremely hot with July and August having average temperatures of 36 C. Winters are usually wet, with December and January being the coldest months with average temperatures around 6 C. Early spring months and autumn season is pleasantly warm for exploring Marrakech.
Marrakech can be best explored on foot. In the center of the city is the popular square Jemaa el-Fnaa. West of the square is the attractive Koutoubia Minaret, and all around the square there are labyrinths of alleyways where you can find lots of interesting things. The Jemaa el-Fnaa square has been listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site ever since 1985. On the square you can see lots of acrobats, musicians, dancers, snake charmers, herb and spice sellers and lots of other interesting people.
Marrakech markets called Souks are big attractions to see. On these markets you can buy anything you can imagine from tea pots to wardrobe, from herbs to leather, from pottery to souvenirs – Souks have everything at affordable prices. You can also buy some quality rugs and carpets, as well as traditional Muslim clothing and lanterns. Besides visiting Souks, you should also visit the Menara gardens in the western part of Marrakech. These gardens date back from the 12th century, and there you can relax between lots of olive groves, orchards and beautiful small lakes.
The historic legacy of Marrakech can be seen in the many mansions, amazing residences and grand palaces. Main palaces in the city are the Royal Palace, Bahia Palace and El Badi Palace. Other typical mansions are Riads, which are designed according to the ancient Roman villas. They have large open gardens surrounded by tall walls. When it comes to religious spots, Marrakech is a home of a few great mosques. Koutoubia Mosque is located beside the main square in medina and is the grandest mosque in Marrakech. Other attractive mosque to see is the Ben Youssef Mosque which dates back from the 12th century. This mosque is the oldest in the city and can be easily spotted by its attractive minaret and green roof.
When it comes to festivals and celebrations, Marrakech has plenty of Islamic and national holidays, as well as cultural festivals throughout the year. A few notable festivals in the city include the Berber Festival, the National Folklore Festival and the Marrakech Festival of Popular Arts.
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