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Angkor is a UNESCO protected city and the largest archaeological sites in South East Asia stretching in an area of 400 km. It is a destination which has the remains of the Khmer regime and the parks, temples and hydraulic structures mesmerize you with its sheer grandeur and splendour. Every year millions tourist cross flock to this amazing fairy tale land and enter Angkor Wat, the largest religious  [...]

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Fiesta Time Throughout The Year

Posted on November 28, 2009 | Fascinating CitiesNo Comment



Marrakech is meant for outlandish travelers, who enjoy walking around the souks, get an insight of the city’s present and past life through its contemporary galleries and its museums, the medina and the cultural and commercial center Djemma el Fna. French influence is clearly visible in streets of the French built Gueliz.

Marrakech restaurantFestivals and cultural events show how the city is adapted to the present times. For instance, the Marrakech Film Festival has screenings of commercial movies from Hollywood and Bollywood.

The restaurants across the city serve a variety of cuisine; there are Pizza places for Italian lovers, French recipes at many of the restaurants here and also a fusion of Moroccan dishes. Café culture is prominent during the evenings, more than the city’s night scene.

Of course, the city has good music and festivals as part of its vibrant culture.

Music

Marrakech culture is synonymous to music. Best of performers performing all kinds of music can be heard at Djemma el Fna, as the sun sets. It’s not rare to spot a group playing randomly in the grounds behind the Koutoubia Mosque.

The music of street musicians at Djemma el Fna come out as rhythmic blend of melodies from instruments like banjos, lutes, guitars, flutes, drums and violins.

Marrakech Music
The Gnaoua trance music, represented successfully by the internationally renowned band – Nass Marrakech, is a gift from this very city. The music blends African styles that comprises of the songs of the freed slaves, combination of repetitive rhythms and choric voices, all of which creates a trance like awareness of the present moment in everyone who is listening to the Gnaoua trance music.

The contributions of the Andalucian, Arab, Berber and African influences too can be seen here in Marrakech where a fusion of Moroccan music has evolved.

Films

Marrakech has been a location for many of the movies by great Hollywood names. Among the many cinemas, too good venues to catch some good movies are in Gueliz. They are the Colissee that screens independent international and Moroccan films as well as those belonging to the mainstream commercial genre and the Institut Francais that screen films that are in French.

The literary scene in Marrakech

There are a couple of good books by Moroccan writers on Marrakech such as The Sand Child by the Fez born Tahar ben Jelloun and Al- Bidayat by El-Khouri Idriss, a well known Moroccan writer who is worth reading. These books have a reflection of the daily life of Morocco in coffee shops as well as the life of the marginalized members of the Moroccan society.

A couple of good writers have emerged who tackle with socially relevant issues of today, such as the Marrakech born Mahi Binebine whose works include Welcome to Paradise (2003) and the writer from Rabat , Leila Abouzeid, author of The Director and Other Stories (2005).

Many of the Marrakech based books have also been turned into well received movies.

Festivals and Special events

This North African city of Marrakech is up with one event or the other, all throughout the year. The year starts with Marathon de Marrakech in January. The marathon has runners dashing from Palmeraie to Djemma el Fna and back.  March is the time for celebrating classical music during the Rencontres Musicales de Marrakech Festival.  The venue is the Amphitheatre at the Theatre Royale. Performances range from Mozart to Arab Andalusian music.
Djemma el Fna
In June, comes the Gnaoua and World Music Festival with its free public concerts that have international acts. Also to enthrall the audience is the best of Gnaoua music and tunes that celebrate the freedom from slavery.

The Marrakech Popular Arts Festival comes next in the month of July where celebrations are expressed through Berber music, folk dance and street performances by artists from across the country that pour in the city to create a vibrant atmosphere.

September is the time for Marriage Festival.  This is an interesting one when women from miles come here to choose their life partners by way of flirting, strutting and negotiation.

The annual Marrakech Film Festival is a week long film festival held in November or December. Films screened during this festival include African and Arab films as well as Hollywood films. Open air screenings of Bollywood movies are attractions of this fest.

While most of the cultural events take place during festivals, there are a couple of opera and dance performances held in the open air amphitheatre at Theatre Royal in Gueliz.

It will certainly be fun to enjoy a trip in Marrakech with an itinerary scheduled around one of the many festivals the city has.

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