Lost in Medina

Marrakech, Morocco

Sep 2013

Text Paola Corini, Photos Luca De Santis

ListenArcade Fire, Reflektor

 

They say you should experience getting lost in Marrakesh’s medina at least once. We got there on what looked like a luggage trolley, we rang at a huge wooden black gloss door and disappeared through the cool and dark rooms of a riad. I got back out almost immediately and started walking through the narrow streets of the medina and its gentle bends at a quick and steady pace. It’s a labyrinth where you feel you know your way and you’d swear you recognise its streets. There is no window or balcony looking out onto the streets and you walk through tall and uninterrupted walls ranging in colour from pink to yellow ochre. You get past piles of emerald green fresh mint leaves and you feel like taking a deeper breath in there are piles of ripe oranges and pyramids of eggs for cooking msemmen: thick square crepes filled with honey and sesame seeds. A colourful ceramic tile floor invites you to walk in and have a peek: it’s a simple patio, just a fountain in the middle and kids playing with a ball in one of the corners. Long skinny cats sleep in the sun. Motorbikes make their way through the crowd with their engine off, defiant and confident. Tins of spices, medical herbs and pigments sit on the shelves of the pharmacies. You sleep in riads, traditional buildings hidden behind majestic doors that are usually kept close and you slowly learn to recognize. Inside, it’s a paradise of roses, bougainvillea and orange and lemon trees and palm trees. There are balconies with chiselled cedar wood banisters, polished red and saffron-yellow tinted lime-washed walls and high sun-drenched terraces where you’re reached by the loud call to prayer from the Koutoubia’s mosque. Your hands smell of orange flowers. Hints of Arabia, Andalusia, France and Nord-Africa come together in this city of refined beauty.

 

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