Morocco: all our hotels
HISTORY OF MOROCCO
Immersing yourself in the Moroccan culture means understanding the merge of its history with the modern development and how they complete each other harmoniously. A diverse fusion of Arab, European, Berber, and African cultures, the Kingdom of Morocco, or Al-Maghreb, with its Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines, formed for long a crossroad between the African and European continents.
Marrakech, a city in southern Morocco, was founded by the Almoravids in the mid-11th century, led by Yusu Ibn Tashfin, who was one of the major leaders and promoters of an Islamic system in the region of Marrakech and Muslim Spain. The Almohad Empire rebelled against the Almoravids and the city fell to the former in 1147. During this time Marrakech served as the primary capital of the Kingdom of Morocco. In the year 1247, the Marinid dynasty overthrew the Almohads, and in 1269, they captured Marrakech and later extended their control of trade in the Strait of Gibraltar. It is during this period that Marrakech became the regional capital of the south. The Marinids founded the north African city of Fez in 1276 and from then on, the city flourished as an important centre for intellectuals and international trade. In 1525, Marrakech was captured by the Saadian dynasty, and they established their capital in Marrakech. Between the mid-16th and mid-17th centuries, Marrakech reached its peak glory and grandeur. The Saadian dynasty declined later and a new dynasty, the Alaouites, was founded during 1664-1672. Later on, Sultan of Morocco, Moulay Ismail Ibn Sharif built the Imperial City of Meknes and reigned over the country until 1727, during this time Morocco was a strong, centralised country.
During the 19th century, Morocco remained an independent country. However, the beginning of the 20th century saw the British German, French and Spanish forces competing with one another to dominate Morocco. In 1912, Marrakech was captured by the leader Ahmad Al-Hibah who was later defeated and driven-out by the French forces and became part of the French protectorate until 1956, which marked Morocco's independence. In 1999, Mohammed VI became king of Marrakech, pioneering economic and political changes, and Rabat later became the capital of modern Morocco as a way of compromise for the two rival cities of Fez and Marrakech.
A DIVE INTO THE CULTURE OF MOROCCO
Morocco's splendid culture was mostly influenced by the Berbers on a wide aspect of their way of life. The use of spices for example in most regions is a trait of Barbarian's presence. As for their music, the Moroccans are traditionally known for their instruments of the Arab and Amazigh region. A classical Andalusian touch characteristic of North Africa shows as well in the Moroccan melodies. While the majority of Morocco habitants are Berbers and Arabs making the two official languages Berber and Arabic, you can also find French widely spoken except in the norther region. That is where Spanish also is predominant.
The major religion in the country is Islam – Sunni that forms the foundation for most families. It shows by the importance of family's unity and taking care of one's parents when they grow old. Hence why you cannot find many elderly homes in Morocco. The second-largest religious group in Morocco is Christianity despite most of Christians being foreigners. Judaist and irreligious categories of society in some Moroccan parts. For a country this beautifully diverse, the Moroccan fashion stands out as a cultural attribute. Women and men in Morocco traditionally adorn the djellaba, which consists of a long sleeved loose hooded cloth. However, the youth of modern Morocco are slowly switching up their style to western clothing. Vivid colours, extraordinary patterns and slippers form the main criteria in the Moroccan's fashion choice.
Another important aspect in the Moroccan tourism and cultural initiation is its nightlife experience. You do not want to miss out on the many festivals that take place, most famously the Tan-Tan festival, the Cherry festival and many more. The Gnaoua festival is the most legendary festival to attend in Morro. It combines many great performances that take on a spiritual and artistic aspect. Wearing colourful costumes and playing the Gnaouas musical instruments, the artists transport you with their art, engaging all your senses.
TOP ATTRACTIONS IN MOROCCO
Morocco is a place of multiple attractions, one where culture, tradition, music, and food blend in perfect harmony. From the moment you step on its land, you will be absorbed by the colours, sounds, and astonishing views surrounding you. Embark on a tour in the Sahara Desert, along the wonderful coasts or take a cruise to unforgettable destinations and feel the magic of a vibrant Morocco.
Explore the Coastal City of Essaouira
For all avid fans of Game of Thrones, Essaouira or Mogador will satisfy your wildest dreams. This is where parts of the show were filmed. Attractively located on the seaside, Essaouira holds up to an ancient little town charm where you can find the ramparts, visit the port and watch the fishermen on their duties. It also hosts one of the most vivid beach festivals in the world, the Gnaoua Festival. Make sure to visit the 18th century Essaouira Citadel, as well as nearby beaches where you can partake in water activities such as windsurfing and kitesurfing. Plan a day trip from Marrakech or Agadir and enjoy this charming coastal city, while staying at one of the top hotels in Essaouira.
Bask in Agadir's Blue Shores
Sun, sand, and sea. This is what Agadir is all about. Bask in Agadir's blue shores for cooling down under the Moroccan heat or take a walk on Agadir's beachfront promenade and stop by local shops and food stands along the way and meet friendly locals. A perfect holiday destination for unwinding, Agadir also serves as a layover point for day trips and longer journeys to the other touristic towns of the Souss Valley and Anti Atlas regions. Visit Agadir's port city. An important part of Morocco's tourism as one of the most important fishing ports in the country, Agadir booms with both business and fun. Its resort-y feel gives this area a more relaxing feel to it, escaping for a quieter time. If you're planning a visit to the city, you can choose to stay in the comforts of Sofitel Agadir Thalassa Sea & Spa, located in the heart of the Tamazigh capital, or book any one of the top Accor Hotels in Agadir.
Take a Tour of the Portuguese Cistern
While visiting the town of Mazagan (El Jadida), make sure to visit the Portuguese Cistern. Historically part of the Fortress of Mazagan and serving as a warehouse and armoury, the Portuguese Cistern, more than 500 years old is now classified as cultural heritage monument. It is also considered one of the last remaining Portuguese structures in Morocco. Besides its importance as a historic landmark, its unmissable beauty lies in the water covering is floor that reflect the rays of Moroccan sun shining from the roof. A true eye-appealing scene.
Marvel at Casablanca's Hassan II Mosque
Explore the beautiful art at Casablanca's Hassan II Mosque. A landmark building and a prominent attraction for Morocco itself and not just Casablanca. A state-of-the-art modern mosque, established in 1993 and covered with detailed art that nearly took the work of 10,000 artisans to complete. The mosque's interior is created by intricately carved marble pieces, mosaics and breath-taking tile details, a work of art that pays tribute to the traditional Islamic architectural ideals and artisanship. One of the main attributes in visiting this monument in Casablanca, is the fact that it is the only mosque that non-Muslims can enter in Morocco.
For the unversed, Casablanca is famous for being the setting of the 1942 romantic film. It is Morocco's main entry point, a key business hub, and one of the busiest cities in the country. Exploring Casablanca's old road towns is certain to take your breath away with their old Moorish architecture where the European style seems to infiltrate here and there. You can find many strolls and streets worth visiting such as Rue Tahar Sabti and Boulevard Mohamed V. Visit the second largest building in the city, Sofitel Casablanca Tour Blanche hotel, for a luxurious experience, take a stroll by Hassan II Mosque and snap a picture of the beautiful Atlantic Ocean ahead of you. Casablanca is a must stop along the journey of discovering Morocco. A splendid way to explore the city is to book your stay with Accor Hotels. Explore the collection of luxury to budget hotels in Casablanca for your next holiday or getaway in this lovely city.
Escape to the Garden of Majorelle in Marrakech
This historical landscape is a highlight of any visit to Marrakech, one of the four imperial cities of Morocco. A heaven made of greenery and colours, the Majorelle Garden is an oasis of coolness and tranquillity. Created by the French artist Jacques Majorelle who was so mesmerised by the rich originality of Marrakech that he decided to build a villa with a Moorish style alongside a lush garden. Amongst the world of flora blooming in the Majorelle Garden, you can find all kinds of rare plants from India, Mesopotamia, California, and the Mediterranean. In addition, you can make the most of your time in Marrakech by visiting the Berber Museum and the Yves Saint Laurent Museum that opened nearby.
Explore the Nightlife in Marrakech
Marrakech is a vibrant and lively city. Its main marketplace Jemaa el Fnaa in the city's centre or medina attracts locals and tourists alike. It is THE market spot where you can find literally everything. And on sale. Dream spot for shopaholics! When night falls, the same market gives way to food stalls where you can stroll and enjoy multitude of flavours and dishes. Just imagine the aromas, sounds and lovely noises and the animated atmosphere in such a historic city adding to its uniqueness. You can also take a look at many interesting monuments and buildings such as the Koutoubia Mosque which dates back to the 12th Century, the 19th century Bahia Palace which stands out by its sumptuous design. You could think about Moroccan accommodation the same way you do the landscape – with diverse options that cater to all tastes and preferences. Explore the collection of Accor Hotels in Marrakech to enjoy a relaxing stay in this vibrant city.
Soak in the Beauty of Rabat
If you are seeking a break from the hustle and action of the more vibrant cities, head over to Rabat, Morocco's capital. Known for a quieter vibe, Rabat displays amazing Islamic architecture with a French and European distinctive atmosphere. While visiting, find a place to stop and soak the beauty around you, find a café and sip the famous Moroccan mint tea, discover the art-deco ambiance that inhabit the Rabat part of Morocco. Furthermore, you can visit the country's most important museum The Royal Palace as well as several historical attractions. There is no better way to experience the beauty of this beautiful city of Morocco, than with a memorable stay at one of the most recommended Accor Hotels in Rabat.
Lose Yourself in the Charming Chefchaouen Village
Also known as the "blue city" or "blue pearl" of Morocco. Explore Chefchaouen's blue tones alleyways and walls and the traditional houses painted in blue and white. Definitely one of the most sought-out "instagrammable" spot in the country. Located in a village near Tetouan, it is an easy stop-off along your journey touring the beautiful northern region of Morocco. You can simply continue hiking through the Rif mountains nearby or stay and wander the colourful lanes, basking in the beautiful atmosphere and even visit its beaches. This area is also characterised by Spanish-style balconies and ceramic-tiled roofs, making it a unique stop in your trip around Tetouan.
Experience the True Essence of Tanger
Located on the Maghreb coastline with a history that dates back to the 5th century BC, the cosmopolitan port city of Tanger is replete with charming tales, stories, and myths. What was once a magnet for intellectuals, novelists, artists, poets and writers from all corners of the world, is now a globalised city that has had a makeover to match the rapid economic development and business boom that portrays Morocco's future in a new light. Tanger is a perfect base to explore the north of the country and the beautiful Mediterranean coast due to its compelling distance for short day trips. The Roman ruins of Cotta, the seafront panoramas at Cape Spartel and the Coast's Spanish enclave of Ceuta are all within short distance from Tanger. You can find many ferries coming to and from Spain, making it a top destination for globetrotters and overlanders. Explore the winding alleys of the vibrant Old Medina, which is home to a collection of restored museums, souqs and other historical monuments that are remnants of the city's past. Another historical attraction that warrants a visit is the American Legation Museum, the first American-owned property outside the USA and it was home to the US Embassy for 140 years. Overlooking the Strait of Gibraltar and neighbouring Spain are the remains of the old village where the Phoenician tombs are located within short walking distance of the Old Medina. Looking for a perfect place to stay around? Kick back at one of the many hotels in Tanger, where everything you need is in easy reach.
TRADITIONAL FOOD AND DRINKS IN MOROCCO
One of the best aspects of travelling abroad is trying new dishes and delightful flavours. Morocco is no stranger to that with its rich and diverse culinary marvels. It is impossible to visit Morocco and not try its famous cuisine, so we are taking you through the must-try traditional dishes while visiting Morocco starting with the Tagine & Couscous. Tagine basically consists of a stew that you can make out of meat and vegetables. The name refers to the clay or ceramic dish it is cooked in it. Couscous is a hearty portion of lamb beef or chicken mounted on a heap of steamed couscous grains. It is famously eaten by a group of people from one singular super-sized plate.
Pamper your sweet tooth with Mhancha, a sweet pastry shaped like a coiled snake and Ghriba, the famous Moroccan cookies that come in a variety of flavours.
Finish up with none other than the Moroccan green tea with mint. Moroccans are famous for their hospitality and their generous gatherings. It is only customary to indulge their visitors with mint infused tea which is said to pack many benefits such as respiratory benefits to immune defence qualities.