The Art of Navigation in the Souk’s of Marrakesh

Marrakesh is a wonderful, busy, crazy city. At that point in my life, it was like nothing I had ever seen before. Eager to absorb everything the city has to offer, we immediately set off into the souk filled city upon our arrival. I for some reason think I have an amazing sense of direction, so I felt confident that I could navigate our way through the city using the tiny squiggly map in the back of our guide book.  Needless to say, I got us totally and completely lost only moments after leaving the Djemaa el Fina.

After leaving the main square, the first thing the three of us wanted to explore the souk – which we severely underestimated. I had been warned again and again about the maze of sights and sounds that make up the inner medina of Marrakesh…but of course I did not listen. We managed to get so turned around that we wandered around in circles for a few hours. I had this idea that I would see this one minaret that was near our riad and it would guide us home. Every once in a while I would spot THE minaret and we would excitedly walk towards it… but, here’s the problem…pretty much everything looks the same. It turns out there are just a bunch of similar looking doors and minarets throughout the souks.

Wrong MinaretDoor NOT near our Riad

As it turns out, the Souk is a great place to get lost. The hours we spent navigating every narrow alley and colorful stall are a wonderful memory. However, dusty hour after dusty hour the adventure was getting a little stale.

They must be mass produced or something

Eventually we managed to exit the Souk and found ourselves near the Ben Yousef Medersa.  (Medersa means school in Arabic). We were beyond thrilled to see this particular Medersa for one because it was something we had wanted to see and more importantly we knew it was somewhat near our Riad.

How were we able to so definatly pin point our exact location you ask? Well, by using my keen directional and map reading skills. That and this sign which was so helpfully located on the wall of the Medersa… 

They call me Garmin cuz I'm a navigation wizard

The Medersa was beautiful and it was nice to spend some time in its peaceful interior after the craziness of the Souk.

The ticket to the Medersa, also include entrance to some nearby sites which we decided to visit since we had already paid. Although these were lovely, look what we managed to spot during this side trip:

As you can see...it looks EXACTLY the same...

Luckily this time it turned out the be the RIGHT Minaret and we were happily headed back to our Riad. Although it had been a long day, we had gotten to see almost every inch of Marrakesh’s incredible Medina.  I wouldn’t have changed any part of the day.
 
Sound like something you would enjoy? What’s stopping you from planning your own trip to Marrakesh?
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4 Responses to The Art of Navigation in the Souk’s of Marrakesh

  1. If you haven’t been, I highly recommend Morocco, too! We had an amazing time. And, yes, it is really easy to get lost in the medina. we used a guide the first day and I’m glad we did.

    Hop over to my blog to read a few posts about it.
    http://tinyurl.com/bw5luxj (And look…there’s your minaret…Maybe!)
    http://tinyurl.com/744okk7
    http://tinyurl.com/7npdkwu

    If you want to do a Camel Trek in the Sahara, these guys are awesome.
    http://tinyurl.com/ckbx6en (Note: I did not know them before out trip and I DO NOT receive compensation of any kind for recommending them. I really am just a happy customer).

  2. Angela says:

    I would absolutely love to go to Marrakesh, and as a souk-obsessed traveler, the market will be my first destination too ;)

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