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In Marrakech, Variety Is the Spice of Life

General — By Josh Steinitz on March 26, 2014 at 12:27 am
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Back at the town square just as hundreds of food vendors were starting to gear up for the evening rush, I wandered through the souk, losing myself in the alleyways where everything was for sale — shoes, dresses, spices, sweets, carpets, antiques, and just about anything else. Luckily, while there was plenty of cheap imported junk mixed in with more authentic wares, any moderately keen eye could tell which was which, and which shops specialized in locally-sourced crafts, clothing, or condiments (I walked away with some argon oil and lotion for my wife).

Deep in the souk's passageways

Deep in the souk’s passageways

Exiting one end of the souk, I wandered by the photography museum and came away impressed by the intense realism mixed with romanticism evident in the early 20th century black and white images on display, largely from French photographers. They portrayed a Morocco before the dawn of mass tourism, when local traditions were still very much unaltered by the wider world.

Dried fruits and nuts for sale in the square

Dried fruits and nuts for sale in the square

The same could be said of the Museum of Moroccan Arts, also located in the old city — handicrafts, pottery and housewares were on display from a time when these objects were meant for functional and ceremonial use, rather than export and sale. As sunset approached, and after an afternoon on foot exploring the city, it was time for a refreshment.

A plethora of olives

A plethora of olives

The main square was now abuzz with activity, and familiar sounds mixed with more exotic ones as I threaded my way to a restaurant on the corner where I spied a balcony with a view. Buying a cold Coke in a glass bottle bought me access to the balcony, and from that vantage point I was treated to the heartbeat of Marrakech’s tourism economy.

Antique shop in the souk

Antique shop in the souk

    1 Comment

  • Excellent wee article – got a week’s holiday to take and looking for somewhere colourful, out of the way with great food, so I’m collecting a lot of bookmarks like this! Thanks!

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