Travel to Marrakech
Day 2 Marrakech Museum, Koubba and Souks
The Ben Youssef Mosque dominates the homonymous square in the middle of the souks that extend north of Jamaa el Fna. The present building dates from the nineteenth century, but at the same place were built earlier, since the twelfth century, two other versions.
Marrakech museum (Museé de Marrakech): The museum is housed in the Dar Menebhi Palace, built at the end of the 19th century by Mehdi Menebhi. The palace was carefully restored by the Omar Benjelloun Foundation and converted into a museum in 1997. The house itself represents an example of classical Andalusian architecture, with fountains in the central courtyard, traditional seating areas, a hammam and intricate tilework and carvings.
The museum was created in order to have a permanent collection of contemporary Moroccan art and organizing exhibitions and other cultural events. The museum holds exhibits of both modern and traditional Moroccan art together with fine examples of historical books, coins and pottery of Moroccan Jewish, Berber and Arab cultures.
Opposite the Ben Youssef mosque, inside an enclosure and lower than the street level, is the Almoravid Koubba, the only structure left in the city of the Almoravids times, the founders of Marrakech. Dating back to the reign of Sultan Ali Ben Youssef (1107 – 1143), the Almoravid Koubba probably formed part of the ablution facilities of the nearby mosque.
The style of the monument is at the root of all Moroccan architecture, subsequently used in all Almohad and Merenid designs. Climbing down the stairs we can see the interior of the dome, decorated with bright floral patterns as pine cones, acanthus and palms and a star-shaped octagons at the dome’s interior support.
The neighborhood of the souks (markets) is along the north side of Djemaa el Fna. The two main streets are Rue Semarine (long and covered) and Rue Mouassine; the first is an unbroken succession of small bazaars, while the second is quieter and has a growing number of quality places. At the end of Rue Semarine the road splits in two: Souk el Kbir and Souk el Attarin. Following the small alleys will find squares devoted to specific crafts and products.
Each section of the souk bears the name of the main type of goods offered (clothing, spices, leather, slippers, rugs, wool, wood, china, etc.) Or the workshops of the artisans (dyers, carpenters, blacksmiths, and so on. ). At the end of Rahba Kedima, a passageway to the left (north) gives access to another, smaller square – a bustling, carpet-draped area known as la Criée Berbère, also called Souk Zrabia. It occupies the area of ??the old slave market.
As discussed above, northeast of the souks is the district of the tanners, which extends along the Bab Debbagh, so named because it opens the door bearing the same name. A good idea to recharge is to buy some sweets in the pastry. We go back to Riyadh Mariana where they prepared us an excellent couscous.