Surrounded by the snow-coated Atlas Mountains, Marrakech (also spelled Marrakesh) is a city packed with beauty, enchantment and life. The second largest city in Morocco, this location has become a well-loved, tourist destination. With its striking natural sights, ancient fortified city and its unique sense of culture, it is no surprise Marrakech attracts thousands of tourists every year.
Surrounded by the snow-coated Atlas Mountains, Marrakech (also spelled Marrakesh) is a city packed with beauty, enchantment and life. The second largest city in Morocco, this location has become a well-loved, tourist destination.
With its striking natural sights, ancient fortified city and its unique sense of culture, it is no surprise Marrakech attracts thousands of tourists every year.
That however is not all Marrakech offers; it also hosts many annual festivals, making it a superb holiday location. Here is a guide to the greatest festivals this stunning city has to offer.
National Folklore Festival
A cultural event held every September; the National Folklore Festival attracts visitors from around the world. A time for music, food and fun, this festival is popular amongst tourists and locals alike. The festival offers local folk musicians the chance to perform in concert halls throughout Marrakech, allowing the city’s hidden talent to be showcased. A unique opportunity for singers and musicians, the festival aims to unite the city, allowing everyone to come together in support and mutual admiration.
Marrakech Festival of Popular Arts
Attracting famous Moroccan musicians, this festival is ideal for those wanting to experience the heart of Moroccan culture. With a variety of acts ranging from street performers to folk dancers, the Marrakech Festival of Popular Arts is attended by thousands year after year. Usually held in July, the majority of performances take place amongst the 16th century ruins of the Badi Palace. By allowing contemporary acts to perform amongst the ancient ruins, the festival combines the historic and the modern to present Marrakech as the proud city it is today.
The Imilchil Marriage Festival
A truly unique festival, the Imilchil Marriage Festival is situated in Marrakech’s small village of Imilchil in the Atlas Mountains. Held in the autumn months, this festival is like no other. Women from the surrounding areas come to this beautiful little village in order to pick a husband of their choice. Negotiations will be made and gifts exchanged during the process of arranging marriages. Celebrations will then take place, enabling families to come together in unison and enjoy each other’s company.
This unusual festival is the result of an old, intriguing local myth.
As legend has it, once upon a time, two young lovers from different tribes fell deeply in love. However due to their opposing families, the young lovers were forbidden to be together. Their devastation and heartbreak led to their intense tears; such intense tears, that the lakes Isli and Tislit were formed. The story ends tragically with the young lovers crying themselves to death. Realising what they had done, the parents agreed to hold an anniversary on their death, upon which a festival would take place, enabling opposing neighbours to marry each other and unify as one.
The International Film Festival of Marrakech
Held each year, The International Film Festival of Marrakech, is a world-renowned event, attracting hundreds from across the globe. With famous writers, actors, directors and filmmakers attending, this event is extremely popular. A chance to honour Moroccan cinema and reward actors, The International Film Festival of Marrakech is overseen by Prince Moulay Richid of Morocco. The best actors and filmmakers receive rewards, in addition to prizes being given for the greatest short films and foreign features.
This incredible event has become a proud part of Moroccan culture. An opportunity to celebrate the world of film, famous stars ranging from the award-winning English actor Jeremy Irons to the world-renowned Hollywood film director Francis Ford Coppola have been known to attend this great event. A must for tourists visiting during the season, this festival will not disappoint.
A city bursting with life, Marrakech is home to lots of great talent and many festivals. From witnessing the unique Imilchil Marriage festival to being part of the famous International Film Festival, there is much to experience in this grand city. Those looking to experience the heart of African culture will find Marrakech is the perfect place to do so.
By travel writer, Maria Hubbard who loves to write about travel in Africa.