Museums of Marrakech Morocco – Local Culture Art and History

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. Staying in the walled city (the medina) of Marrakech 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 in 2010. I did do some corrective work to brighten up some of them and bring the color out.

I traveled to Morocco by myself, flying from Istanbul Turkey in April, during the shoulder season, in between low and high season. So the weather was mostly pleasant, especially in Marrakech.

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.

 

Contemporary art galleries in Marrakech Morocco - Thiam's Galerie

Thiam’s Galerie – contemporary art in Marrakech Morocco

 

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.

 

Museums of Marrakech Morocco - Palais de la Bahia

Palais de la Bahia – fine craftsmanship in every detail

 

Bahia Palace, constructed in the late 19th century by the finest craftsmen in Morocco, 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.

 

Fine craftsmanship - Palais de la Bahia

Detail of painting and woodwork at Palais de la Bahia in Marrakech

 

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.

 

Bright blue building of Jardin Majorelle and Berber Museum

Jardin Majorelle and Berber Museum

 

Brilliant blue of Jardin Majorelle - gardens and museum open daily

Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech Morocco – open every day of the year

 

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.

 

Dar Si Said Museum in Marrakech Morocco

Dar Si Said Museum also known as Museum of Moroccan Arts

 

There are many examples of elaborate carved designs in wood and plaster at Dar Si Said.

 

Elaborate geometric designs carved in plaster and painted bright colors - Dar Si Said (Museum of Moroccan Arts) Marrakech

Detail of carved and painted plaster work at Dar Si Said

 

Fine craftsmanship - Dar Si Said - Museum of Moroccan Arts in Marrakech

Dar Si Said – intricate designs carved into plaster

 

My favorite museum in Marrakech was the Ben Youssef Madrasa, a former Islamic college which closed in 1960. Then in 1982 it became a museum. If you at all interested in architecture go visit Ben Youssef Madrasa.

 

Museums of Marrakech Morocco - not to be missed - Ben Youssef Madrasa

Courtyard of Ben Youssef Madrasa – former Islamic college turned museum

 

Repeating geometric designs of Islamic art - Ben Youssef Madrasa

Tiles at the courtyard of Ben Youssef Madrasa in Marrakech

 

Must see museums of Marrakech Morocco - Ben Youssef Madrasa

Tiles at Ben Youssef Madrasa in Marrakech Morocco

 

Must visit museums of Marrakech Morocco - Ben Youssef Madrasa

Looking out from a former dorm room – 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.

 

Contemporary art -visit Dar Bellarj next to Ben Youssef Madrasa

Art by Nadia Ouriachi Conejo at Dar Bellarj – Marrakech Morocco

 

This cactus painting reminds me of Texas :)

 

Visit contemporary art gallery Dar Bellarj in Marrakech Morocco

Marrakech Art by Nadia Ouriachi Conejo at Dar Bellarj

 

A couple hundred meters from Ben Youssef Madrasa is the Marrakech Museum, formerly the Dar Menebhi Palace but converted to a museum in 1997.

 

A tourist could get lost in the mesmerizing tile designs in Marrakech Morocco - Marrakech Museum

Mesmerizing tile designs at the Marrakech Museum in Marrakech Morocco

 

Marrakech Museum formerly the Dar Menebhi Palace opened in 1997

Jewelry at Marrakech Museum

From centuries old architecture to contemporary art I enjoyed visiting the museums of Marrakech Morocco and look forward to visiting again.

What is your favorite museum or gallery?

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About the Author

Susan Moore spent 7 months traveling around Southeast Asia back in the 90's. Returning to Canada she found a job working on rotation in Siberia Russia. She later moved to Austin Texas where she started a bookkeeping business, allowing her to work remotely. Currently Susan is in year 4 of living a nomadic life, roadtripping around the USA and Canada and writing about her experiences. Read all about Susan » You can reach Susan Moore at Facebook or Twitter or Instagram

14 Replies

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  1. Richie says:

    I would love to visit. It was nice seeing the museums through your photos.

  2. Love the colors and designs. Very soothing.

    ROG

  3. deepa says:

    Beautiful photos :)

  4. Jane says:

    Gorgeous colours and details in those tiles.

  5. Reader Wil says:

    Thank you for taking us on an interesting tour
    ,Have a great week.
    Wil

  6. ellen b says:

    Wow…such amazing detail. I really like that cactus painting.

    • Both the cactus painting and the ceramic bull sculptures made me think of Texas :)
      I found the temperature in Marrakech to be similar to Austin in April too, both cities are of a similar latitude – Marrakech around 32 and Austin 30.

  7. Diane Westwell says:

    Fabulous pictures Susan, The colours in the mosaics are amazing, reminds me a little of Turkey, I’ve been to Tunisia but not Marrakesh, After taking your virtual tour I would love to go. The carving in the woodwork was truly MAGNIFICENT,
    Thanks for sharing you MAGICAL trip,

    love,
    Di x

    • Thank you Di! Yes the colors remind me of Turkey as well. I would like to get back to Morocco and see more of the country and also southern Spain to see Alhambra!

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