gueliz marrakech
gueliz marrakech

Gueliz, Hivernage are the heart of the modern part of Marrakesh

ORIENTATION

   Count on a 30-minute walk from the centre of the ville nouvelle to Djemaa el-Fna, the main square in the heart of the old city. Since the blocks are long and boring until you enter the medina, you may want to take a bus or taxi.

    The main areas of the ville nouvelle are Gueliz and Hivernage. Most midrange and top-end hotels and nightclubs are in the Hivernage, while most budget hotels, restaurants, cafés, galleries and boutiques are in Guéliz around Ave Mohammed V. The train station is at the southwest edge of Guéliz on Ave Hassan II, a few long blocks from central Place du 16 Novembre. The main bus station is just outside the medina at Bab Doukkala, a 15-minute walk northeast of Place du 16 Novembre or a 20-minute walk from Djemaa el-Fna.

    Most budget hotels cluster along narrow streets heading south from the Djemaa el-Fna. West of the Djemaa el-Fna is the city’s major landmark and handy compass needle: the minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque.

Koutoubia Mosque

The main Souqs, mosques and Zawiyas (saints’ shrines) are north of Djemaa el-Fna, while most palaces are to the south along the Rue Riad Zitoun el-Jedid. Continue along this street and you’ll bump into the mellah (Jewish quarter).

Turn west at the covered Mellah Market, then head south along the ramparts until you reach Bab Agnaou, the triumphal arch leading to the royal Kasbah containing the gilded tombs of Saadian princes, the current royal palace (closed to visitors), and 16 acres of royal gardens dating from AD 1166.

Guides

Having a guide to the souqs takes away their adventure and mystique, but if you want to cover specific landmarks in an hour or two, you may want one. Just don’t go expecting any sweet deals: guides get commissions on whatever you buy, which inflates prices. Some riads and most travel agencies can also arrange guides (see Tours), and official guides can be booked for Dh250/400 for a half/full day at the tourist offices and in bigger hotels.