The Medina

This is a must for all visitors to Marrakesh, where you will lose yourself among vendors, narrow alleyways and mosques.

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The Medina

A labyrinth where time stood still

To provide you with some background information before you start exploring Marrakesh, it is important to know that the city is split into two parts: the centre, containing the Medina or the old city, flanked by spectacular red earth walls; and the new city, which sprang up outside the walls during times of French colonial rule and continues to grow today. The old walled city of Marrakesh, or the Medina, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985. It houses a rich treasure of palaces, markets, cupolas, minarets and mosques (normally with a restricted entrance for non-Muslims). These monuments bear witness to the wealth that the ancient Arab dynasties once bestowed upon the city. The real heart of the Medina has to be the emblematic Djemaa El Fna Square, one of the world's most bustling squares. Bear in mind that alcohol is prohibited in the Medina and that houses cannot exceed three floors; rules which do not apply to the new part of the city. However, there is one rule that is common to the entire city: the building exteriors must be red like its native soil, traditionally used in its construction. That is why Marrakesh is universally known as "The Red City".

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