On the Road to Marrakech
Travel is one of life's greatest gifts of inspiration. So, we thought there was no better route to start daydreaming than one that starts from southern Spain to Marrakech, Morocco.
Much of the Iberian Peninsula was predominantly inhabited by Muslims, Jews, and Arabs before the Reconquista, and then eventually by Christians during and after the Reconquista. As a result, the area has become the central hub for many cultures that have passed through over generations upon generations. This rich cultural mix is reflected in the wonderful architecture, art, and cuisine of the area. From the tilework and carved vaults of the Alhambra Palace in Granada, to the colorful and lively spice markets of Marrakech, there is a sensory feast which would prove inspirational for any creative
If you are thinking of starting your own adventure with Marrakech as your final destination, here are some of our recommendations....
One sight of this place will take your breath away. Originally built as a military fortress for battles between Muslims and Christians, the Alhambra is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site with settings that offer visitors an immediate sense of peace and tranquility. Following the theme of "heaven on earth" that's so heavily referenced in the Koran, Alhambra Palace is filled with majestic stone columns, tile mosaics, and running water everywhere - from fountains to reflecting pools.
The Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba is known as one of the most prominent Moorish architectural pieces in all of Spain. From ancient times, this site has been used for worshiping many different divinities throughout the ages. Originally a Visgoth basilic, it was later partially occupied by a mosque, and in 711AD, when Spain was still in Muslim control, La Mezquita was divided into Muslim and Christian halves as areas of worship. The Cathedral, with its unusual location inside the building of the mosque, was begun in the early 16th century. A unique trait of the building is the double arches with red and white voussoirs, allowing the structure to have its dramatically lofty ceilings. The merging of these two houses of worship in one building make this a wondrous place to see.
Once you've reached Marrakech, one of the most visited locations to sightsee is the Koutoubia Mosque. The pride of the mosque is its minaret, which is about 70 feet high and follows the 1:5 proportion that is found in all Almohad mosques. Located in Jemma El Fna, Marrakech's most important marketplace, Koutoubia is also known as the largest mosque of the city. This means that the mosque acts as a great point of reference to get to other places as well.
While in Marrakech, you cannot forget to stop by at its most vibrant and colorful site: the spice markets. Spice include "saffron, argan oil, ground cumin and coriander, shards of mace, star anis, rolls of cinnamon and home-made mixtures of spices created for marinading fish, fruit or meat." In addition to the stalls selling a plethora of spices, you can also stop by to shop for multitude of tea leaves, fruits, vegetables, handmade crafts, cosmetics, and more. Even if you're not really looking for herbal remedies, you are bound to feel adventurous wandering through the marketplace.
Have you had the good fortune to visit any of these wonderful places? What were your favorite spots or experiences? We would love to hear from you!