Museums in Marrakech That Are Well Worth a Visit

The Majorelle Gardens are home to the Berber Museum
The Majorelle Gardens are home to the Berber Museum | © Ross Robinson / Alamy Stock Photo
Daniel Jacobs

Marrakech’s best museums are small, intimate and often housed in wonderful old mansions. Plus, they’re usually much less crowded than the city’s big sights. Drop into one of these nine museums on your visit to the Moroccan city.

Marrakech has a generous scattering of small museums, and more are popping up all the time. They don’t demand an entire morning or afternoon of your time, but are rather places to pop into while touring the Medina or the downtown Ville Nouvelle. At most of them, friendly staff are on hand to answer questions and even show you around. Few take more than an hour or so to visit, and some of the best ones are housed in beautiful old mansions that are worth seeing for themselves.

1. Musée Tiskiwin


Sign on wall outside Musee Tiskiwin
© btravel / Alamy Stock Photo
For centuries, Marrakech was the northern terminus for a rich trade across the desert with Timbuktu, Mali and Ghana. Musée Tiskiwin documents the city’s place in the trans-Saharan caravan trade and its accompanying cultural connections. Crossing the Sahara was a far more hazardous undertaking than crossing the Mediterranean. But it was the cross-desert trade in salt, gold, ivory, Moroccan leather and – lest we forget – slaves, that made the city rich. The museum (whose location is marked by a bright yellow sign) started life as the private collection of Dutch anthropologist Bert Flint, who has spent his life studying Marrakech’s links with West Africa. Here in this museum, you’ll see a vast collection of camel saddles, tents, sculptures, costumes and adornments illustrating the trade, desert life and Marrakech’s West African connections. English-speaking visitors are provided with a booklet which explains all of the exhibits.

2. Maison de la Photographie


Maison de la Photographie de Marrakech, Morocco.
Courtesy of Maison de la Photographie
At the Maison de la Photographie, you can glimpse the Marrakech and Morocco of times gone by through an amazing collection of photographs, all taken between 1870 and 1960. With over 4,500 shots, many printed from glass negatives made by pioneers of Moroccan photography, the museum has far too many images to show at any one time, but rotates them in exhibitions that change regularly, focusing on particular aspects of the city and of Morocco more widely. Many of the photos show aspects of street life over the decades, or cover the history of locations such as the Jemaa el-Fnaa. There’s also a good roof terrace café and a shop selling reproductions of old photographs as postcards.

4. Berber Museum

Building, Museum

Berber museum, Jardins Majorelle, Marrakech, Morocco
© Andy Sutton / Alamy Stock Photo
In the famous Majorelle Gardens is an Art Deco pavilion painted in the artist’s stunning “Majorelle blue”, an intense colour inspired by the blue of a traditional French and North African workman’s jacket. Originally Majorelle’s workshop, the pavilion has now been converted into a museum of Berber art and culture, and is open to anyone visiting the garden. The displays are arranged on three floors. The ground floor showcases traditional skills and crafts, including weaving and basket-making. Its prize piece is a lovely old minbar (mosque pulpit) from the Anti-Atlas mountains of Morocco’s far south. The middle floor is dedicated to Berber jewellery, traditionally made from chunky pieces of silver embellished with coral and amber, and the very top floor is given over to Berber costumes, showing the designs and accessories particular to each community.

5. Yves Saint Laurent Museum


Yves Saint Laurent Museum Building, Marrakech, Morocco.
© Photogenic / Alamy Stock Photo

Just around the corner from the Majorelle Gardens is a museum dedicated to the man who saved it from the bulldozers, Algerian-born French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent. The museum is a homage to “YSL”, as he is known, who bought and restored the garden, spending much of his time in the city, along with his partner Pierre Bergé. As a fashion designer, YSL was famed for his combination of comfort and elegance in womenswear, a look that quickly became popular among Europe’s jet set, and a particular favourite with movie star Catherine Deneuve. The museum is housed in a brand-new, specially constructed building with a textured brickwork exterior. It kicks off with a starter exhibition of photographs and artworks before plunging into the main course of fashion design. The main exhibition space features prototypes from some of YSL’s most famous creations. There is also a film about Saint Laurent and his work, as well as temporary exhibitions, a library, bookshop and café. Most visitors combine a visit with the neighbouring Majorelle Gardens.

6. Musée Mohammed VI pour la Civilisation de l'Eau (AMAN)


The Musée Mohammed VI pour la Civilisation de l’Eau (Mohammed VI Water Museum), named in honour of Morocco’s king, is dedicated to the science and beauty of hydrology. Located out of town in the Palmeraie (oasis palm grove), the museum is large, modern and still largely undiscovered. It is, however, well worth the effort of getting to. Child-friendly, with lots of touch screens, interactive presentations and video displays, the museum illustrates the history of hydraulic engineering in Morocco from the Middle Ages to the present. Indeed, it is a little-known fact that Morocco pioneered irrigation techniques, using water channels from the High Atlas mountains to bring water to all of the city’s ancient orchards, including the Menara and Agdal gardens. There are exhibits on the properties of water, on the hydraulic history of Marrakech and Fez, on the spirituality of water and the rituals associated with it, and on the system of dams built under the reign of the present king’s father, Hassan II.

7. Musée des Confluences


The exhibitions at the Musée des Confluences are usually very interesting, but the star of the show is the building itself. The museum’s rather vague title (“Museum of Convergences”) reflects the fact that it doesn’t actually have a specific theme or even a permanent collection, but houses a succession of temporary displays on different subjects. Past exhibitions have included the shared culture of the Abrahamic religions and the magnificence of Marrakech’s palaces. Indeed, of those palaces, this very building is among the most magnificent of all. It was built in the 1920s for the despotic Thami el Glaoui, who was Pasha of Marrakech during the colonial period, and no expense was spared in its construction. Glaoui threw lavish parties here, attended by the likes of Winston Churchill, and the beautiful tile work, stucco and carved cedarwood is among the finest in all Morocco. Not all of the palace is within the museum – part of it houses the local HQ of one of Morocco’s big labor unions – but regardless of what’s on, the museum is well worth a visit just to experience the magnificence of Glaoui’s wonderful palace.

8. Musée de Marrakech

Museum, Building

Inside Interior of Musee de Marrakech
© Dimitar Chobanov / Alamy Stock Photo

Located next door to the Ben Youssef Medersa, the Musée de Marrakech is not in fact a museum about Marrakech, but a small collection of diverse exhibits housed in a gorgeous 19th-century palace. As with the Musée des Confluences, the Musée de Marrakech is less of interest for its exhibits than for the building which houses them. Commissioned by Mehdi Mnebhi, Morocco’s defence minister, it was constructed around a magnificent central patio with a huge brass chandelier. Other key parts of the building include its kitchen and private hammam. The collection includes antiques, coins, musical instruments, ceramics and jewellery, and there’s a small collection of contemporary paintings and sculptures. Unfortunately, descriptions are in Arabic and French only.

9. Dar Si Said

Building, Museum, Natural Feature

Interior of Dar Si Said Museum
© Dimitar Chobanov / Alamy Stock Photo

An impressive 19th-century mansion, Dar Si Said went on to house a museum. At one time, the state-run Dar Si Said was Marrakech’s only museum. Its collection of historical and archeological pieces have now been been put into storage (bar a small collection of old weapons), and Dar Si Said has now been been reborn as a museum of carpets and textiles. The building itself is worth a second glance. It was the home of the eponymous Si Said – a son of the grand vizier Si Moussa, who lived in the nearby Bahia Palace – and while its interior decor can’t compare with his father’s home, it certainly isn’t short of beautiful tile work, stucco and painted ceilings. The museum centres on a lovely central patio with a fountain and gazebo. The mainstay of the museum’s permanent exhibition is a wonderful collection of antique carpets, but there are also exhibits on how carpets and textiles are manufactured, and a display of costumes through the ages. Descriptions are in Arabic, French and English.

landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article