Planning a trip to Morocco’s former imperial capital of Marrakech? While the Red City is famous for its lively souks, the statuesque Koutoubia Mosque, the old medina, and the carnival-like atmosphere of Djemaa el-Fna, there are plenty of great museums to discover too.
Museum of Marrakech
The Museum of Marrakech is housed within one of the city’s former palaces. The grand building was the private residence of the country’s defence minister before the colonial era. It was later used as a school for girls before being carefully restored and opened as a museum. The lavish Andalusian-style inner courtyard is a highlight, with carved cedar wood, colourful tiles, stained-glass windows, ornamental pillars, a large chandelier, and painted doorways. Visitors can also see the less opulent hammam and kitchen. An array of artwork and artefacts can be found in the various rooms, with pieces from the present time as well as the past. Collections include pottery, calligraphy, old gravestones, coins, paintings, clothing, and historic documents. The museum covers archeaology, ethnography, history, and art. Admission is 50 Moroccan dirhams (US$5).
Dar Si Said
Experience the life of a wealthy Marrakshi from times gone by at Dar Si Said. A previous palace, the magnificent building in itself is a worthy museum piece that displays the finest craftsmanship from across Morocco. Marvel at the tilework and carvings that cover the floors, ceilings, walls, and doors, admire the inner courtyard with an ornamental fountain, stand on the exquisite balconies, and peek inside the various grand rooms. Items on display show Moroccan life and traditions from the 19th century. Exhibits include rugs, musical instruments, jewellery, kaftans, weapons, leather goods, and pottery. Admission costs 10 Moroccan dirhams (US$1).
It may be relatively small, but Musee Boucharouite packs a punch for anyone interested in traditional carpets and rugs. The collections focus on items handcrafted by Berber women, and visitors will immediately notice the difference between such rugs and the traditional Arabic rugs that are commonly found in the souks and homes around Marrakech. The museum is a testament to a lesser-appreciated, though no less visually pleasing, craft. The admission fee is 40 Moroccan dirhams (US$4).
Maison de la Photographie
Opened as a joint collaboration between a Marrakshi and Parisien, Maison de la Photographie houses many old photographs that show snapshots of Morocco and Moroccan life from the 1870s through to the 1960s. There are also original glass negatives collected from the High Atlas regions, old documents, magazines, and postcards. Visitors can watch a rare colour documentary filmed in Morocco in the late 1950s too. The entrance fee is 40 Moroccan dirhams (US$4).
Located within Centre Culturel Atlas Golf, Observatoire Astronomie is a top spot for fans of stargazing and astronomy. The equipment contains the largest telescope in Morocco, with observation sessions held each Friday evening. Learn more about the universe and how the viewing apparatus works. Observation sessions cost 160 Moroccan dirhams (US$16) per person.
Found within the historic heart of Marrakech’s medina, the newer colonial-era area of Gueliz, the lush village of Palmeraie, and in other parts of the large city, Marrakech’s diverse museums are sure to please.
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