Visiting Marrakech for the first time I enjoyed learning about the local culture through art and history. I visited modern art galleries as well as the historical museums. I stayed in the walled city (the medina) of Marrakech so I could explore the city on foot and get lost in the maze of narrow walkways. Many of the museums of Marrakech Morocco are located in the centuries old medina of Marrakech which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Apologies for my not-so-great photos but they were all taken with my Blackberry Tour mobile phone. I did do some corrective work to brighten up some of them and bring the color out.
My afternoon tea time friend Aziz took me on a walking tour of the souks one day and afterwards I asked about contemporary art so he brought me to Thiam’s Gallery. I met Aziz while walking to my riad and he said “Remember you said you would come and look at the rugs today?!” No I didn’t but I smiled and laughed at his words. This is one of the lines that the souk vendors use to try to get tourists to spend some money in their shop. I started chatting with Aziz and visited each afternoon to drink tea and talk.
The first museum that I visited in Marrakech was the Palais de la Bahia – located in the Jewish Quarter, just a short walk from the Riad Massine II where I stayed for my eight days in Marrakech.
Bahia Palace was constructed in the late 19th century by the finest craftsmen in Morocco and took over 14 years to complete. Visitors may enter only a portion of the palace. There are over 150 rooms and a large marble courtyard and fountains, intricate geometric designs and beautiful painted wooden doors.
When I visited Marrakech in April of 2010 the Berber Museum at the Jardin Majorelle was closed for renovations so I will let you explore some of the collection via their website here.
When I visited the Dar Si Said Museum (also known as Museum of Moroccan Arts) I was one of very few visitors and I enjoyed a private guided tour from staff member Omar. I am not certain whether I received the extra attention because I was a lone female or because I showed such an interest in the details of the designs – perhaps a bit of both.
There are many examples of elaborate carved designs in wood and plaster at Dar Si Said.
My favorite museum in Marrakech was the Ben Youssef Madrasa, a former Islamic college which closed in 1960. It was reopened as a museum in 1982 and I would recommend to anyone who is even slightly interested in architecture to visit Ben Youssef Madrasa.
Adjacent to Ben Youssef Madrasa I noticed the gallery Dar Bellerj so I went inside to see what was on display. There was an exhibit of paintings by Moroccan artist Nadia Ouriachi Conejo.
I was reminded of Texas when I saw the painting of cactus on display.
A couple hundred meters from Ben Youssef Madrasa is the Marrakech Museum, formerly the Dar Menebhi Palace but converted to a museum in 1997.
From centuries old architecture to contemporary art I enjoyed visiting the museums of Marrakech Morocco and look forward to visiting again.
Have you visited both historical museums and modern art galleries?
What is your favorite museum or gallery?
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