Marrakesh has a rich history of multicultural rule and this history is exemplified in the district of Gueliz.
When the French colonized Morocco from 1912 to 1936, their influence gave birth to this neighborhood, known for its European flair. This modernized district of Marrakesh is catered towards western tourists and expatriate residents.
Gueliz is home to many European-styled businesses, such as small art galleries, new restaurants and posh cafés. An active nightlife is another appealing aspect of Gueliz. On most nights, the air of Gueliz is filled with loud music. The bars and nightclubs bursting with crowds enjoying Gueliz drinking culture.
However, experiencing the European-styled businesses and electric nightlife are only a few ways to get a taste of Europe in this otherwise African city.
The district of Gueliz is home to several attractions that have left visitors in awe, like the Jardin Majorelle.
The Majorelle Gardens
One of the most visited sites in Marrakesh is the Jardin Majorelle, better known as the Majorelle Gardens.
These enchanted grounds were designed and created by the French painter Jacques Majorelle. From 1886 to 1962, Jacques spent 40 years of his life dedicating his passion and dreams to the creation of this garden. Within the garden, visitors can experience a myriad of exotic plant species that line bubbling streams and pools. When the sugar scented breeze blows by, the air is filled with the rustling of leaves. The sound of birds chirping adds to this soothing melody.
Through the garden, one will find a building designed with a Moorish charm and decorated a hint of Art Deco. The building is painted with vibrant primary colors, especially in blue. This blue represented Jacques’ perception of the Atlas Mountains, the very mountains that tower of the city. Despite remaining within the city limits, the Majorelle Gardens provide a calm experience away from the bustling streets of Marrakesh, as the garden hides you behind high clay walls.
Although Gueliz is known for its European culture, this is not the only culture that can be experienced in the district. A great place to experience both French and Arabic culture is by taking a trip to the Royal Theatre.
Theatre Royal in Marrakech
Theatre Royal in Marrakech, Morocco
Built by the Tunisian architect Charles Boccara, the Royal Theatre was designed to encapsulate Arabic architecture with a modern twist. The outside is decorated with a large dome and grand pillars made from marble that can immediately capture an observer’s attention. However, the outside is equally matched by a beautiful interior, especially in the entrance hall and auditorium. It is a monument standing in the middle of Gueliz.
Yet, the Royal Theatre is more than a monument. This theatre is known as being one of the major artistic and cultural focal points of the world. In either the 1200-seat open-air theatre or the 800-seat opera house, the Royal Theatre hosts a variety of cultural events. Events can be either national or international, including ballet, opera or musical performances, the majority of which are offered in either French or Arabic. More than theatrical performances, the Royal Theatre houses a number of art exhibits, including exhibitions of paintings, sculptures and photography.
Located down the street from the Royal Theatre is the Palace of Congress. Topped with four stark-red flags, the pink façade of this imposing building will surely catch the attention of any passerby. Built in 1989, the Palace of Congress is an important building dedicated to hosting a variety of conferences, exhibitions and fairs. More noteworthy is the palace’s dedication to hosting the annual International Film Festival of Marrakesh, an event that takes place in December.
Gueliz is the meeting grounds for all of the cultures present in Marrakesh. This is exemplified in the various attractions scattered throughout the neighborhood. From European cafés to operas in Arabic and everything in between, this modernized district of Marrakesh offers a unique perspective of the primarily Arabic city.
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Gueliz, Marrakesh 40000, Morocco