mardi 24 mai 2011

The tanneries and northern gates

The main souks -and tourist route -stop abruptly at the Ben Youssef medersa. Beyond then, in all directions, you'll find yourself in the ordinary residential quarters of the Medina. There are few particular "sights" to be found here, but if you've got the time, there's an interest of its own in following the crowds, and a relief in getting away from the central shopping district of Marrakesh, where you are expected to come in, look round and buy.
Probably the most interesting targets are Bab Debbagh and Souk El Khemis. From Ben youssef you can reach these quite easily: it's about a fifteen-minute walk to the first, another fifteen to twenty minutes round the ramparts to the second. As you pass the entrance porch to the medersa, you'll quickly reach a fork in the side street. To the left, a covered passageway leads around behind the mosque to join Rue Amesfah. Head instead to your right, and then keep going as straight as possible until you emerge at the ramparts by Bab Debbagh; on the way you'll cross a small square and intersection, Place El Mokef, where a busy and sizeable lane goes off to the left - a more direct approach to Bab El khemis.
If you were to turn right, not left, from Place El Moukef, you would arrive within ten minutes at place Ben salah and the Zaouia of Sidi Ben Salah with a very fine, and prominent minaret built by a fourteenth-century Merenid sultan of Morocco.