The medina of Marrakesh is an interesting place in many points. It is a very angry city that remains in a time where technology did not exist and people were working with their hands. However it's central square "Jamal el Fna", which is translated as "square of death" immediately points the character of the city: It is not a friendly one. People are angry, traders are pushing their best to sell their merchandise, children have lost their innocent character to the necessity of food, women are trying to hide their feelings behind a burka, tourists are trying to fight their way through extremely busy streets. Peace is captured in the grounds of this city, noise and rush are ruling inside its tall walls.
In that aspect it is a very interesting city. A red city both in its walls and in its flags, this kingdom of fear is hosting like every other city in the world both the yin and the yang, both evil and good, both angry and peaceful.
And the peace has escaped to its Riads. Riad Zineb is a pearl of the Riads, both in its architecture and in its character. Peace has discovered this oasis in the desert and has selected this location for its residence. As soon as its thick wooden door closes the garden of eden unveils, with its refreshing swimming pool in the middle that has respected the local architecture and art displaying a marble fountain on its side. Its enourmous wooden doors, the high ceilings and the size of the building show that it must have been the home of the weathly tradeperson. With its handful of rooms for all the family members one can fully imagine the daily life in this small palace with the servants providing for the well-being of its rich owners.
The servants of this Riad, Khadija and Abjlil are humble people, rare to be seen in the streets of Medina, the ones that are already destined to the kingdom of God or Allah for the locals. The small turtle that roams around from time to time seeking for a piece of watermelon or grapes is keeping company to the children and confirms that paradise is a garden with life. The furniture, hand made by careful carpenters are pieces of unique art and results of hard work. The tiles in the floors and in the bathrooms are carefully assembled one by one creating stunning mosaics that are comparable to the ones found in the palaces of medina. The bathrooms are implementations of deep imagination and meditation, rooms that one would dream to have in their urban apartments as well. Art is the ruler of this house.
I would recommend Riad Zineb to everyone that wants to stay in Medina, experience this unique city and find a peaceful residence during the hot hours of the morning sun.
I would recommend medina to people that are interested to experience something new, rare to be seen and are ready for adventure. People who are armed with patience for the huggling and juggling of the souks, people who know how to find their way by themselves and trust their feeling. For business people or elderly I would recommend the new city with occasional visits to the Medina. The modern city has modern buildings, very good restaurants with international food and many conveniences such as taxis, cars etc.
But for the ones really ready to experience the uniqueness of a city living in its own era, a city not to be seen anywhere else on this earth, the Medina and Riad Zineb is the place to stay. Shortly put: If you are ready to do it, do it properly.
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