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Ancient medinas of Morocco

Hidden inside a modern country with a wealth of contemporary bars, restaurants, and nightspots, stepping inside the medinas of Morocco transports you to a different world.

Encompassed by towering walls, they are filled with narrow streets, tiny alleyways, marketplaces, and historical mosques. The purpose of each medina was to keep out invading armies, which is why each of the four imperial cities of Morocco has its own. Each medina has its unique story; lose yourself in its history and beauty.

Despite its Modern transformation, Morocco has never lost sight of its deep-rooted traditions. The magical Medina is one of the traditional Moroccan cultures embedded in people’s daily life.

Typically walled, the traditional Medina invites you to explore its most profound treasures while meandering its narrow streets. Artisan shops, fountains, mosques.

Hundreds of people live and work inside its ochre walls, passing their know-how on to other generations.

In Fez, Tetouan, Essaouira, and Marrakech, these car-free and best-conserved historic towns have quickly become World Heritage. Whether it’s located in an imperial city, a coastal city, or the mountains, Medinas will take you back in history.

Be enchanted as you explore the ancient medina districts, and dive into its magical atmosphere!

History of the North African medina

A medina (from Arabic: مدينة, romanized: madīnah, lit. 'city') is a historic district in many North African cities, often corresponding to an old walled city. The term comes from the Arabic word meaning "city" or "town."

Prior to the rise and intrusion of European colonial rule in North Africa, the region was home to many major cities that had long been centres of culture, commerce, and political power over many centuries.

Medina of Marrakesh, Morocco

One of the four imperial cities of Morocco, Marrakech is the country's cultural, economic, and historical centre. Sometimes called the Land of God or the Red City, Marrakech is a bustling, vibrant combination of old and new. In the historical part of the city lies the medina. Djemaa El-Fna square forms the heart of the medina, a place brimming with stalls and shops selling food, spices, handicrafts, traditional clothes, henna tattoos, and perfume. Tourist hotspots include the Koutoubia mosque and the El-Badi Palace, two beautiful examples of enthralling Arabic architecture, culture, and history.

Medina of Tétouan, Morocco

Tétouan forms the primary connection between Morocco and Andalusia in Spain. Refugees constructed a large part of the city from Andalusia in the 8th century, and traces of Andalusian culture can still easily be found all around the city.

The medina here is small but very well preserved. Along the medina wall are seven gates through which visitors can enter the historical city. Inside the medina are three parts: the Andalusian, Jewish, and Berber sections.

Mohammed V Avenue is the main road here – a winding walkway filled with restaurants and shops – and is a path that will lead you to charming residential areas, different squares, mosques, and the Grand Palace.

Medina of Meknes, Morocco

Meknes, an imperial city located near Morocco, is sometimes referred to as the "Versailles of Morocco." This is because of the city's beauty and majesty.

Sultan Moulay Ismail, also known as the Warrior King, was the ruler of Meknes and was responsible for shaping the city. The medina, which is located inside the Historic City of Meknes, is a combination of 17th-century European and Islamic architecture.

Medina of Fes, Morocco

One of the four imperial cities of Morocco, Fes El-Bali, the ancient city with a distinct history, is a medina bubbling with bright colors, architecture and traditional craftsmanship. With its arabesque style and ancient artwork, Fes tells you the story of the early Moroccan dynasties' footprints, leaving your imagination wild.

Strolling through its streets is a chance to take advantage of the smallest architectural detail and handcrafted works of art, as well as an opportunity to immerse yourself in the depths of a city with an intellectual and spiritual character.

Founded by the Idrissides, this medina is home not only to numerous palaces but also to Al-Quaraouiyine, the oldest university in the world.

Fes is an imperial city and the former capital of Morocco. It is one of the oldest and largest medieval areas in the world. Built in the 9th century, the Medina of Fes is perhaps the most well-preserved in the country. The new city is made outside the medina, meaning that when visitors cross the threshold of the Bab Boujeloud, they enter into an entirely different place. Talaa Kebira is the main street of the medina leading to an array of hidden gems, including residences and mosques.

Medina of Essaouira, Morocco

Essaouira's beach is a lovely location close to the Atlantic coast that has grown to be a favorite hangout for windsurfers and seagulls. The port city has recently experienced a spike in popularity that has attracted Game Of Thrones enthusiasts from all around the world. Essaouira serves as the backdrop for the town of Astapor in the television series, and its Arabic and Muslim architecture is reminiscent of Morocco in the 18th century. European influences are also prominent, producing in a unique sight that recalls the region's former glory as a cosmopolitan harbour.

The city has a medina, a walled town with narrow streets. Essaouira's medina is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Also called a souq, the medina is a walled city with narrow streets and a labyrinthine layout. The medina is home to several historical sites, including the Essaouira Citadel and the Skala du Port.

The Essaouira souk is a place where you can find everything from spices to handmade goods. It's a great place to bargain for souvenirs or gifts for friends and family back home. The atmosphere is festive, and the colors and smells are intoxicating.

Here, you will encounter a traditional Moroccan market where you can find all sorts of traditional handmade crafts, pottery, and artwork. Haggling is expected, so be sure to brush up on your bargaining skills before heading in.

The medina of Essaouira is the perfect place to pick up some unique gifts or try out some new spices for your next dish.

Other souks in Morocco

Many other cities in Morocco have busting medinas. Diamond Transfers and Tours is pleased to recommend a traditional bazaar, or marketplace, that suits your interests. We will arrange all of the details, transportation, local guides, and accommodations for your trip.

More wonderful medinas can be found throughout Morocco, including in:

  • Chefchauen

  • Rabat

  • Casablanca

  • Taza

  • Tangier

Photo Gallery: Medinas of Morocco

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