Marrakech-Medina-Quartiers-Seven Towers

Day 11     Marrakech – A rest day – Medina

stall in the soukNo motorcycling, as today was  free for us to explore Marrakech.  The medina, a magical place, and the central hub of old Marrakech, was to be our first “port of call.”  Just what, you might ask, is a ‘medina?’  Well, it means the old walled part of an African town. Just like Fes, the historic walls of Marrakech were high, enclosing the “quartiers.”  For the benefit of the local community each “quartier” has a mosque, a madrasa (that’s a school), a hammas (bath-house), a water fountain and a bread oven.  The Moorish minaret of 12th century Koutabia Mosque rises above the skyline of the city and is visible for miles around.  Koutoubia Minaret

Narrow street in the medina

Souks are a maze of alleys and narrow streets, and the one in Marrakech is no exception.  It’s easy to get lost unless you keep your eye on the location of various landmarks.  We noticed in Marrakech that various alleys located close to each other  contained the same trades.  It was here that we met Imam Souhaili in the midst of the herbalists’ section.  He was a local trader specialising in herbs, spices, creams and ointments, perfumes and oils.  He managed to sell us some hibiscus tea and pressed a brochure into our hands.  This gentleman had an amazing knowlege of which herbs and oils to use for specific medical problems.  From him  I first heard about argan oil.  This is  a superb oil that is indigenous to Morocco and  used extensively in the western world for hair products. 

Seven Towers of Seven Saints

Near to the Medina we discovered the seven towers of the “Seven Saints” aligned in a row.  This sacred site was quite moving and we gazed in some awe at the structures in memory of the seven saints.  Just like woSeven Towers of the Seven Saintsrshippers in mediaeval times  who made pilgrimmages to sanctified places, so too, have  Moroccans. The Moslem faithful have visited this Holy site since the 17th century.  Like mediaeval and modern-day pilgrims, they hope to be healed of their illnesses as well as receiving harmony and tranquility for their souls. › Africa ›

The old city of Marrakech is a maze of colour and I will write more about it in my next article.

Naomi Flashman

Tags: , ,

Comments are closed.