Basic guide to Marrakech

This is a wonderful city. Here are a few hints and tips for the first time traveller to Marrakech. It's different to the normal guides on places of interest etc but it's also something that was difficult to find before setting off. Hopefully you will find it useful. Here's a link to a blog which gives a full run down from actually getting there, basic orientation and a bit of how to get the best out of the locals.     Hope you enjoy!

Marrakech Travel Guide is another useful resource for finding things to do and see in Marrakech. 

Cinnamon City, Miranda Innes

 An easy-going read charting the progress of the author in her endeavours to buy and renovate a riad in Marrakech.  The various anecdotes about interactions with the local Marrakchi are hilarious, albeit reinforcing stereotypes about the locals taking advantage of the European incomers - but what are stereotypes if not a reflection of the world as one sees it.  Miranda finds her riad, overcomes hurdles to get the restoration work done, and eventually finds a reliable local manager to oversee the running of the house in her absence.  You can even go stay at the riad featured in the book, as it now operates as a chambres d'hotes.  Its a great escapist read if you enjoy watching TV such as "no going back" and "grand designs" - this is the literary combination of the two.

 Zohra's Ladder & Other Moroccan Tales, Pamela Windo

 A series of tales about the authors experiences in Morocco.  Pamela travels throughout Morocco, and spends time getting to know the local folk.  The stories are rich in atmosphere - you can almost smell the spices in the air - and if you read it in the Cafe de France on Jemaa Al F'na, you'll smell them for real.  The book gives an rare insight into a woman's world - the reader is drawn into those precious  moments of closeness that pass between women from different worlds, when they are alone without their husbands, brothers or fathers.

STOLEN LIVES - Twenty Years in a desert Jail - by Malika Oufkir 

A true story, narrated by the author, whose family was persecuted for 20 years.  Oufkir, the child of a general, was adopted at the age of five by King Mohammed V and brought up as a companion to his daughter. She had an adolescence of wealth and privilege, where she consorted with movie stars and royalty. In 1961, Hassan II succeeded his father as king, and Oufkir's father (a general) was executed after staging a coup against the new regime. For the next 15 years, Oufkir, her mother, and her five siblings were confined to a desert prison and subjected to inhuman conditions. Oufkir's description of their day-to-day survival during these years is the heart of the book. The family finally escaped by digging a tunnel, were recaptured, and today live in Paris, where Oufkir eventually found love and marriage with a French architect.   A compelling reading, a book difficult to put down.

Cinema Eden by Juan Goytisolo

This author (the driving force behind UNESCO's inclusion of Jemaa el-fna as a cultural place) poetically describes - amongst other stories - the ongoing spectacle that is theJemaa el-fna. He describes the "square" as the leveller of peoples that has withstood the onslaught of time and modernity but expresses concern about how long it will survive. A unique insight into several aspects of Marrakech life.