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