Marrakech: An overview - Part 30

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Marrakech: An overview - Part 30

Road trips out of Marrakech – continued,

After you leave the villages we just passed through then you are headed for the Tizi-n-Test Pass. Just how much you will enjoy the experience of this 6, 861-ft pass will depend on whether you are a passenger or a driver. If you’re driving then you have to keep your eyes glued to the road ahead in order to negotiate the endless hairpin bends. The narrow road has no safety barriers which ensures that you will not have much time to enjoy the spectacular views. If you are a passenger and not nervous then the view across the plains of the Sous to the south is stunning. There are various souvenir stalls and small cafés located on the pass itself where you can stop and enjoy the panorama. So as a driver I would defiantly recommend that you make use of these.

Taroudant which is the final destination was built on the proceeds of gold brought from the Sahara. It was the capital of the Saadian Empire in the early part of the 16th century. Today it is still enclosed by reddish yellow walls and seems to resemble a smaller and quieter version of Marrakech. It features a grand Kasbah that can be reached by passing under the triple-arched Saadian Gates. You will also find two excellent souks here, including the Arab Souk, with its focus on traditional crafts.

Close by is the Tichka Plateau which is a highland plateau of beautiful meadows. The Tichka Plateau is found a short distance to the north of Taroudant. It is particularly arresting in spring when the wild flowers are in full bloom. It is a great place to go walking but is probably best enjoyed with a qualified guide which you can arrange by going to the bureau des guides in Imlil

If you plan on spending a day in Taroudant here’s a few suggestions on what you might do. Taroudant resembles a more run down Marrakech at first sight. However it has more of an African than Arab identity unlike most other Moroccan cities. This is because it was never under French occupation and so doesn’t possess a European quarter. You can start your tour of the city on Place El Alaouyine, known by its Berber name as Place Assarag. This will lead you to Avenue Mohammed V which is South of the square and then head East into Souk Arabe which is famous for its antique shops. Before you start haggling then stop at the souk’s edge at the Boulangerie El Widad for some delicious Moroccan pastries. South of the main street, across Place El Nasr is Souk Berbère which is the main fruit and vegetables market. Return north and seek out the Avenue Moulay Rachid where there are plenty of places to have a tajine for lunch. After lunch head east along the Avenue Moulay Rachid, you will walk down an orange tree lined path and come upon the triple arched Saadian Gates at Bab El Kasbah. These lead to the walled Kasbah quarter built by Mohammed ech-Cheikh who made it the capital of the Saadian Empire. This was poorest part of town and it used to house the governor’s palace, now it is home to the very chic Hotel Palais Salam. Now you can make your way back to the Bab El Kasbah. You can jump into one of the waiting calèches and for a small fee, do a circuit of the city walls. They can take you back to the Place El Alaouyine or even your hotel .

Continued in part 31

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Page added on: 27 May 2018
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