THE PEOPLE OF MARRAKESH
Morocco’s Marrakesh is wonderful and independent because it moves to its own beat and creates a micro-world of visual and spiritual richness that simply need to be experienced. NOMADSofORIGIN Magazine takes you along the streets of Marrakesh to show you the culture of the locals
Words: Emily Georgieva
Photography: Toa Heftiba, Annie Spratt, Davide Grieco, Hannah Busing, Alex Plesovskich
22 February 2019
On top of the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, Marrakesh hosts Arab, French and North African cultures in its borders. Travellers can’t resist the ochre-coloured buildings and the monotone movements of the palm trees. People travel from the west to this land of colour for over a century now and tell stories of Morocco to people back home so that its charm can live on even outside of the country. Many famous writer, novelists and designers have been inspired by the modernity of the place and how vivid it feels all year round. A fairy tale-like, Marrakesh is a complex little paradise with a European soul and African feel.
Although a postcard-worthy destination for tourists and explorers alike, Marrakesh is above all a place that has managed to stay true to its people. Sure, you will feel like the appeal of the markets and street vendors have been crafted to draw more foreign travellers in, but Marrakesh is the pearl of Morocco and has always reflected its culture.
When you walk alongside the street markets, you will most likely see donkeys passing you by, belly-dancers moving around you to entertain and henna artists who draw temporary tattoos on the palms and hands of intrigued tourists. Street traders will try to sell you things you possibly don’t need but will be of a great cultural value to represent your travels if you decide to buy them. Musicians will put on a one-of-a-kind show for you, playing duff, twanging three-stringed ginbri and metal qarqaba to create sound that will make you want to dance until your feet hurt.
Carpets and lamps hang around the markets to showcase the craftsmanship of the Moroccans. Their details and colours attract attention much like the intensity of the crowd rushing to see everything around makes you want to stop at every street corner and look at what’s around you. The smell of peppermint tea and spices sparks a sense of nostalgia in every traveller once they leave the borders of Morocco to remind them of the culture of the locals.
There, selling their goods, carefully crafted carpets and intoxicating smell of fresh herbs, the Moroccans have created a tiny place in the world to display their culture and give people a chance to take a piece of it with them. For the locals, Marrakesh is a place to display their ancient-old craft skills, their artistry and impressive heritage.
If you find yourself in the middle of this beautiful, lively chaos stop for a second and consider the pleasant commotion. You will be standing midst a place you are going to remember for as long as you live. Culturally different and indescribably charming, Marrakesh and its people are a gem for this world.
NOMADSofORIGIN is an independent annual publication with a focus on sustainable travelling and global cultural values. Each issue features interviews, engaging articles and photo guides, which take our nomadic readers through different destinations and introduce them to local people's perspectives.
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