We hired a local guide to take us on a walking tour of the medina. Our first stop was El Bahia Palace, a beautiful royal home with 160 rooms. The rumors were that the palace was built as a home for the sultan’s wives and official concubines. The size of the rooms and apartments were based on how much the sultan favored the woman.
Then we walked through the mellah – the old Jewish quarter of Marrakech. Jews and Muslims lived together in the medina for centuries although most Jews have moved from the area. We saw synagogues and fountains which had different architecture than the Muslim areas of the medina.
Our guide left us at Ben Youssef Madrasa, an Islamic college founded in the 14th century. The architecture was absolutely beautiful.
After dark, we headed to Jemaa el Fna square. It was basically Eastside night at the Iowa State Fair except with snake charmers, story tellers, and a large mosque. We made the mistake of giving a little boy some change – we had a parade of children following us.