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“Similar to Old city of Damascus” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Medina of Marrakech

Medina of Marrakech
Marrakech, Morocco
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Top Rated
$41*
and up
Marrakech Discovery Tour
Ranked #5 of 150 things to do in Marrakech
Certificate of Excellence
Activities: Shopping
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Attraction details
Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: This is one of the major landmarks in the city. It is a World Heritage Site and serves as a commercial center for much of central Morocco.
Rabat
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Similar to Old city of Damascus”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2013

I like it, it's same as Omayyad cities, Damascus, Fes, Meknes, there must be more signs to guide visitors.

Visited November 2013
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Lymm, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
265 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 182 helpful votes
“Unable to relax and enjoy it”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2013

As with a lot of North African cities, the medina of Marrakech is a sprawling, maze-like tangle of tight streets, people and wares. Where the area of the souks is the part most tourists will wander through - getting themselves utterly lost in the process - the medina itself offers a more intriguing mixture of day-to-day life. It's here that the locals shop, here that they buy their meat (from places I'd never touch), their bread and their vegetables. It's a hubbub of local culture and tourist eye candy, and where you'd be a little foolish to pick up some of the "bargains" on offer. One young man had a stack of headphones that purported to be Dr Dre Beats and was trying to tempt westerners with really low prices; none of those looking and listening to his patter stopped to wonder how he'd managed to get hold of stock that would have counted as several years worth of his basic income!

Despite the filth that covers more of the ground than it should, the medina would have been a much more interesting spot but for two terrible thorns - traffic and conmen. The former wouldn't be such a big problem if it were just the donkey carters and porters, but the mopeds that drive far too quickly through the narrow alleys are a definite danger, let alone the few random idiots that opt to drive a taxi along routes that are clearly restricted. Relax for a moment and you could very easily be run down.

As for the conmen, be alert. Late one evening we walked home on our usual route when a man stepped in front of us and told us the way ahead was closed. I asked why and he simply said that the mosque had closed it. He clearly picked something that most westerners would think twice about questioning before asking us where we needed to go and then offering to take us there . . . along a different route that was much darker, narrower and far less public. Luckily I had my wits about me and said "no". He objected but eventually we just walked away and went along our normal route, which was obviously open and offered no obstacles at all. Not something that solo or vulnerable travellers should have to deal with in the middle of a busy city, but it is one of those things you perhaps have to accept.

A fascinating place, but not one that I will be rushing back to any time soon.

Visited November 2013
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Level Contributor
555 reviews
68 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 359 helpful votes
“Don't get lost!!!!!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2013

Wow!! What an experience. Go for it!! Remember where u entered and don't forget it at least have an exit strategy!!!! Very large market with so many different stalls. Think it is possible to buy anything here?!- bit u have to b prepared to haggle or get ripped off ?! Approach it with a good humour and that will be returned. Many offer to be ur guide and for about £1, that may be best money u have ever spent if you are not part of an tour group?! Fascinating stuff!!

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Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 attraction reviews
“You can always find something interesting!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2013

There is always something intriguing and interesting to lose yourself within the medina... a little turn you find yourself in the metal works area, then the leather works...etc. You need to spend a little more time here as theres lots to see and to get to know the people and culture.

Visited November 2013
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Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
66 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Wow! Tiring, Exhilerating, Frustrating, Breathtaking, Dirty, Is this the maddest place outside of India?”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2013 via mobile

As a couple our first thought was no, we had made a mistake and didn't like it. At the end of our first day we loved it. The start of our second day we hated it again. And so the love - hate experience went on until we acclimatised to the relentless noise and trading of the Medina. For that is what you have to do, it's a culture shock at first. Centuries old methods and buildings mixed with more modern, Donkeys walk the same streets as mopeds, Touareg Saharan nomads will mix with fluent English speaking Morroccans who would do well on an EastEnd market. Everybody wants your money, take a picture someone holds their hand out, get lost, someone knows the way for a price, stand still for a second, someone is shouting for you too look at the goods, point at something and be asked to 'make a good price'...
We loved it! We refused help, worked things out for ourselves, and explored safely! Of course, when every stall is similar, and every Dirham is ferociously fought after, people have no choice but to talk to you and try to get you interested in their wares - but we never felt threatened, never too hassled, and if No didn't work first time, a firmer No Thank You a second was always met graciously with a smile and 'maybe tomorrow?'
We were lucky, we stayed in the No1 rated (at the time) hotel (Riad khierredene) and were given a mobile phone and the most experienced and gracious guide we have certainly met (Ismail). He advised us to always offer 20% of any asking price and pay no more than 40% as a maximum, advice that we stuck to rigidly and it worked! Ever time I shook hands and said thanks but no thanks at 40%, I was told I must be Scottish and the deal was done. it made me smile every time.
Personally, I wouldn't take my kids, they are too young. Older teenagers (17+) would be mature enough to enjoy the experience - for that is what it is, however there maybe reviews here where younger children have enjoyed it. That being said, it's a great place, busy, tiring, yes... But it's not threatening, we felt safe, and it was a fantastic, fantastic experience. 1 off our bucket list. A must see place - Brilliant!

Visited November 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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