Medina - The ancient Medina (walled city) of Marrakech is a truly amazing and unique place. Fully deserving of its Unesco World Heritage listing, a visit to the medina will transport you to another world as you wander through the maze of alleys, the vibrant souks (markets) and the thronging squares within the rosy glow of its mud walls.
The bombardment of sounds, Balek! Balek! (mind your backs) as you dodge donkey carts impossibly laden with market produce,the bells and horns of bicycles and mobilettes, the resounding call to prayer at certain times of day AND night, will send you searching out the nearest cafe where you can climb to the roof terrace and look down from a different perspective with a restoring mint tea in your hand.
The overload of scents through the souks from the spice stalls piled high with cumin, paprika, corriander, so evocative of Moroccan cuisine, to the homemade soaps and baskets of dried rosebuds and lavender flowers, contrasting with the pungent leathers worked into travel bags and poufs temptingly available in every colour, begging to be taken home.
Even the bunches of mint you will be offered to hold under your nose will not be enough to mask the overpowering smells of the traditional curing method of the hides witnessed at the tanneries which give moroccan leather its distinctive odour.
I found a dab of tiger's balm in the nostrils did the trick!
The vibrancy of colours in the striped vegetable silk throws hanging from the stalls, the dyed wool skeins drying overhead in the wool dyers souks, the exotic spice colours piled into cones of every spice imaginable and more.
The gleam and shine of the hundreds of ornate silver, brass and bronze lamps and lanterns intricately worked and lovingly polished, the embroidered decorations on the traditional staw baskets raising them to unusual and desirable levels, the variety of patterns on the berber knitted hats piled high in on the ground infront of the women selling them, and the traditional designs on the carpets draped on every wall for your choice. Even the subtle changes in the caged chameleons as you pass them will take your eye.
This cacophony of senses unite in the main square of Jmaa el Fnaa, where people, donkeys, bikes, carts, cars and trucks weave past snake charmers, monkeys on shoulders, robed story tellers, acrobats and jugglers, water sellers in their traditional red costumes, wide hats and clanging bells, false teeth sellers, henna artists, little girls selling packets of tissues, freshly squeezed orange juice and smokingly delicious smells from the food stalls, all to the background sounds of the prayer calls and the constant beat of the bongo drums..............This to me is the Medina of Marrakech.