Marrakech, Morocco

Tripadvisor has named Marrakech, Morocco as its number one best destination in the world. This is big news but what is it about Marrakech that makes it the best? Marrakech is a major city in the northwest African nation of Morocco. It's located in the north of the foothills of the Atlas Mountains and the city was founded in 1062 AD. The red walls of the city were built by Ali ibn Yusuf between the years of 1122 and 1223 and buildings were constructed in red sandstone during this time, this is how the city got its nicknames "Red City" or "Ochre City".

In keeping with many other Moroccan cities, Marrakech is an old fortified city packed with colourful vendors and their stalls, the medina and is bordered by modern neighbourhoods, the most prominent being Gueliz. Today, it is one of the busiest cities in Africa and is a major economic centre and tourist destination. Mohammed VI, the reigning Moroccan monarch strongly advocates this tourism and has enhanced Marrakech's growth dramatically. The city is particularly favoured by the French and many French celebrities own property in the city.

A trip to Marrakech is an intoxicating assault on the senses. The heart of Marrakech, Djemma El Fna Square is an exciting mix of souks, gardens, palaces, snake charmers, outdoor food stalls and supreme shopping for exceptional Moroccan goods. The Majorelle Gardens is one of the 'must do' when on a trip to Marrakech. It's filled with colourful walkways, ponds, cactus and plants as well as a shop that houses exceptional hand-made goods. The gardens were opened to the public in 1947 and it's also the site of the magnificent, La Mamounia, a five star hotel. The Hotel's claim to fame is being the place where legendary Alfred Hitchcock wrote "The Birds".

Another highlight of a Marrakech holiday is El Bahia Palace. Its name translates to "place of the beautiful". It's an inspiring example of Eastern architecture and represents the trends and standards of the wealthy that lived at that time. It took fifteen years to complete and there are 160 different rooms in the palace. Decorations take the form of subtle panels, zellij decorations, tiled floors, arches, carved cedar ceilings, shiny marble finishes and zouak painted ceilings.

Surrounded by a pristine eight hectare garden, it is a firm favourite while trapsing through Marrakech. A blend of the ancient and modern world, it's no surprise it has earned it's to ranking status on Tripadvisor.

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