Morocco is a land of contrasts – from the sprawling deserts to the snow-capped Atlas Mountains, and from the medieval kasbahs to the vibrant cities. Visitors to this North African country will find rich cultural traditions and beautiful landscapes. Three cities that embody these aspects and are must-see destinations for travelers are Marrakech, Fez, and Rabat.
Starting with Marrakech, visitors to this city in the south of Morocco will experience a mix of old and new. The medina (old town) is a maze of narrow streets, where market stalls and spice vendors, snake charmers and street performers, and artisans selling leather goods and pottery are lined up. No trip to Marrakech is complete without a visit to the Djemaa El-Fna, the famous square that comes alive in the evenings with storytellers, musicians, and food stalls. The vibrant colors, smells, and sounds of Marrakech make it an unforgettable city to visit.
Moving to Fez, located in the northern part of the country, visitors will find a city with a history dating back to the 9th century. Medieval Fez is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and its labyrinthine streets are punctuated with mosques, madrasas, and palaces. Among its highlights is the Al-Attarine Madrasa, a beautiful Islamic school with intricate mosaic tiling and carved cedar wood. The city is also known for its tanneries, where leather products such as bags, shoes, and jackets are produced using traditional methods. A visit to Fez is like traveling back in time.
Lastly, the capital of Morocco, Rabat, offers a more laid-back vibe. Situated on the Atlantic coast, it has a rich history with influences from Roman, Arab, and French colonization. The 12th-century Hassan Tower, the symbol of the city, stands alongside the mausoleum of King Mohammed V. The winding streets of the medina, with its traditional souks and cafes, provide a pleasant contrast to the wide boulevards of the new town. Rabat is also home to the vibrant Kasbah of the Udayas, a hillside neighborhood with blue and white painted houses and sweeping views of the ocean.
In conclusion, the fabled cities of Marrakech, Fez, and Rabat each have their unique charms, and exploring them will provide visitors an unforgettable taste of Morocco’s rich cultural heritage. Whether it’s the bustling marketplaces of Marrakech, the medieval architecture of Fez, or the serene coastal views of Rabat, these cities offer a glimpse of a country that is at once ancient and modern, rooted in tradition and embracing of the new.