26 Oct Seven things to do in Marrakech this autumn
Marrakech is always a great decision, but with great art exhibitions, an international climate change conference and new gardens opening to the public, now is a great time to visit! We’ve rounded up our top seven things to do in Marrakech this autumn.
Suite 280 by Hassan Hajjaj at La Mamounia
Morocco’s Andy Warhol, pop artist Hassan Hajjaj’s artworks will appear in a solo exhibition SUITE 280 at La Mamounia hotel. From 27 October 2016, stop by the mythical hotel to witness Hajjaj’s latest works capturing the intimate moments in the hotel’s famous suite, known as the Al Mamoun suite. Expect vibrant colours and humour one associates with the London-based Moroccan artist.
Take a wander
There is no shortage of gardens to explore in Marrakech. During COP 22, Moroccan author and artist will open a sculpture garden bringing together 15 artist works focused on the green theme. The park will be open at the end of Avenue Mohamed V and will remain a peaceful retreat in the heart of the city after the 12-day international conference ends. After a visit to the Majorelle Garden, wander further up the road to see the Yves Saint Laurent Museum currently under construction and set to open in 2017. Over at the Royal Mansour, a new garden and swimming pool will open to non-resident guests. Given that this hotel s completely hand-built by the finest craftsmen from across Morocco, we cannot wait to wander through the lush gardens.
Gain a deeper understanding of Gnaoua culture
From 26 Setpember to 20 November stop by the Musee Mouassine for greater insight in to Gnaoua culture during the Gnawa sept couleurs de Jean Luc Manaud and Eugene Delacroix. The duos photographic works capture the ritual lila they attended in 1995 between Meknes and Marrakech. The documentary Le bal des genies explores the topic further with raw footage from the event. You may be surprised to learn that there’s more to Gnaoua music than you may think!
Admire the saffron harvest
Set your alarm early to head out to the Ourika Valley to admire the women picking the saffron crocus flower before it has bloomed prior to sunrise. A visit to Saffron Gardens provides a look in to the manual process of separating the red stigma (the part which produces the saffron) from the rest of the flower. Head in to the gardens for a fresh tea and hot out of the oven bread for dipping in the olive oil before making your way back to Marrakech. The display panels and photographs make for an interesting read to understand the harvest process.
Back in town, head over to the Musée Bouacharite for an exhibition entitled Safron featuring the gorgeous photographs by Jean-Luc Petit (photo above).
Get involved in the COP 22
With the Conference of the Parties (COP22) kicking off in Marrakech on 7 November and lasting until 18 November, thousands of attendees are expected to descend on the city, visiting the Blue Zone where the main negotiations are set to take place and also the Innovation Zone, set up just outside the Kasbah quarter of the Marrakech medina for exhibitors. We’re looking forward to the sculpture garden opening on Avenue Mohamed V and featuring some of the Mohamed Melehi, Mohamed Mourabiti and Fatiha Zemmour to name a few (and also some of our favourite artists during the recent Marrakech Biennale). The life-sized whale that will be on display stuck between a pile of rocks in a statement about climate change and oceans should make for some great Instagrams. But we’re also looking forward to visiting the Innovation Zone to hear the compelling speeches including those on farming and the role in implementing the Paris Agreement, photo exhibitions about climate induced displacement in Bangladesh and food security under climate change.
Take in a film at the Marrakech International Film Festival
Held from 2 to 10 December 2016, this year’s edition of the Marrakech International Film Festival will be presided by Béla Tarr and will pay homage to Russian cinema. But, as per previous editions, there are sure to be quality Moroccan entries for an introduction to Moroccan cinema along with thought-provoking international entries. While the jury and the line-up have not yet been announced, we are staying tuned at festivalmarrakech.info for more details.
Have a night on the town
To experience another side of Marrakech, slip in to a pair of heels and head over to Hivernage, where the cities hottest nightclubs are located. Lotus Club has recently launched its new dinner show Oh la la! While the Es Saadi Palace’s Epicurean remains a popular hotspot for locals and expats in Marrakech. Over at Strass, Waww, the dinner show inspired by Moulin Rouge and Le Lido is filled with cancan and samba dancing and pop and jazz music for a truly 1001 Arabian nights experience.
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