Ah, the sights and sounds of Marrakesh – one of Morocco’s four imperial cities and home to the labyrinth of souks, striking sandstone buildings and - for one weekend of the year at least - close-combat all-electric street racing. While the historic city is fast becoming synonymous with the ABB FIA Formula Championship, here’s all you need to know about the iconic host city ahead of the race on Saturday.
A (very) brief history
First up, time for a spot of history. With foundations in the 11th century AD, Marrakesh is one of the four imperial cities of Morocco, along with Fez, Meknes and the current capital, Rabat. Affectionately named the ‘Red City’ for its numerous red sandstone buildings, Marrakesh has a population just under one million.
Alongside Formula E, Morocco has played host to races in the World Touring Car Championship, AutoGP and, as a one-off, the city brought down the curtain on the 1958 Formula One World Championship, which saw racing legend Stirling Moss clinch the win in a Vanwall. Today, the city is a bustling hub of trade, tourism and culture - home to beautiful mosques, palaces and gardens. Here's our top selection of the sights and sounds of Marrakesh.
Sights and sounds
Get up close to the Koutoubia Mosque
As the largest Mosque in Marrakesh, the foundations of Koutoubia date back to the 12th century. Look familiar? It should do. Koutoubia is one of the city’s most iconic buildings.
Get lost in the Medina
Otherwise known as the souks, the Medina is nestled in the heart of the city, home to a crazy labyrinth of market stall filled streets, selling everything from furniture and metalwork to food, spices and clothes.
Time for Tea at Riad Yima
Marrakesh is known for its tea drinking culture and where better to sup on a cup of it than at Riad Yima – one of the city’s top traditional tea rooms. Featuring the work of local artist Hassan Hajjaj, discover Riad Yima in the backstreets of the city centre.
Souk it up in Jemma el Fna
It’s tricky to avoid Jemma el Fna on a trip to Marrakesh as the city’s main square. Bustling with dancers, snake charmers and entertainers by day, the square transforms later in the afternoon into a food market. Sit up high in one of the café balconies to watch the transformation. On one side of the square, you’ll also find the entrance to the souks and Medina.
Take a walk around Jardin Majorelle
Once home and final resting place of fashion mogul Yves Saint Laurent, Jardin Majorelle is one of the most popular and best-kept gardens in the city. Discover plants from all corners of the world and take in the art-deco beauty of the Majorelle blue house at its heart.