Top 10 Most Famous Morocco Landmarks Travelers Talk About
Officially referred to as The Kingdom of Morocco, this northern African country has just about anything that a world traveler could want including diverse landscapes, rich culture and well preserved history. While modern conveniences like hotels and restaurants are in great abundance here, many past travelers trade in luxurious digs for tea in a local shop and a trip to see some of the famous landmarks in Morocco. There are no shortage of historic and worthwhile sites to visit while adventuring here, and the best ten of them are found below.
1. National Archeological Museum: The capital of the country Rabat is home to the largest collection of prehistoric and pre-Islamic artifacts found in Morocco. One of the biggest highlights of the museum are the well preserved remains of early humans from the Paleolithic period. In fact, many of the items found here are associated with very early human history, and the collection boasts sarcophagi, pottery, weapons, tools, art and more – all uncovered from famous Morocco landmarks like Volubilis, a former pre-Islamic settlement. Each floor of the museum houses unique items and specific collections that allow visitors to travel through time, admiring the well preserved past of Morocco.
2. Hassan II Mosque: In Casablanca (things to do in Casablanca) This towering structure, which is sometimes referred to as “Casablanca Hajj” is Morocco’s largest and amongst the ten largest in the world. Visiting a Mosque may seem mild compared to other things to do in Casablanca, however this building is truly unique. At sixty feet tall and boasting a hall glass floor which exposes the sea bed below it, this hand crafted delight is worthy of adoration from onlookers. A laser found at the top of the building’s tower points to Mecca, making the building as impressive when the sun goes down as it is in daylight. Although one of the largest of all religious Morocco landmarks, this structure’s outside dwarfs its interior, and is able to hold nearly three times the worshippers.
3. Saadian Tombs: Marrakech, south of Casablanca, is home to these recently discovered tombs that are thought to have originated during the reign of sultan Ahmad al-Mansur, somewhere in the mid 1500s. There are around sixty individual dynasty members found in the mausoleum, including the relatives of the aforementioned sultan. Aside from the interments of the three centuries of rule, what draws visitors to this perhaps most macabre of Morocco landmarks is the incredible architecture and stucco work found inside. A room featuring twelve columns is the most well known.
4. Majorelle Gardens: Near the tombs at Marrakech, twelve acres of botanical and artistic wonder await guests looking for one of the most peaceful and visually impressive places in the world. Founded decades ago, the gardens feature both artwork and plant life that are harmoniously intertwined to create a delicate yet decadent wonderland of color, vibrancy and life. Boasting a boatload of cacti and over a dozen bird species as well, the park is ideal for both nature and art lovers, too. This gem amongst Morocco landmarks is also important because it’s the home of the Islamic Art Museum of Marrakech and the final resting place of the scattered ashes of Yves St. Laurent, a former partial owner.
5. Palais de la Bahia Marrakech: Not far from Casablanca is a palace which is named for the word meaning “brilliance.” When it was erected in the nineteenth century, the intention was that the 2 acre gardens and palace buildings be the biggest and the best of them all. The original purpose of the property was to serve as the personal use paradise for former Sultan Grand Vizier, Si Moussa, and was named for one of his multiple wives. Guests are drawn to the palace for its impressive exhibition of both Moroccan and Islamic architectural styles, as well as notable rooms of interest such as the harem. While started with a royal, perhaps the most intriguing piece of information about the palace is that is that unlike many Morocco landmarks, this structure wasn’t always in the hands of nobles. Slave turned superstar Vizier Abu Ahmed finished the building’s construction in 1900.
6. Atlas Mountains: Although this massive mountain range stretches across three countries, it’s highest point is found in Morocco. At over thirteen thousand feet in height, it’s nearly impossible to miss. In addition to boasting the largest of all Morocco landmarks, the mountain range and the National Park surrounding them are home to a surprising array of plants and animals, some of which are found nowhere else on the planet. Unfortunately, many of these are endangered or threatened species, nearly going the way of one of the most well known of past mountain inhabitants, the Atlas bear.
7. Berber Villages: Morocco’s famed mountain range is home to something else that brings travelers hiking and mounted atop donkeys from all corners of the world. Villages found in the Atlas range are home to the Berber people, who are more than willing to greet visitors and share their culture and traditions with them. These Morocco landmarks are scattered about the mountainous countryside, and highlights include the Berber market, open once per week. There are several different types of excursions available to guests, but amongst the most popular are day trips that return in the evening or one and two nights adventures.
8. Moroccan Sahara: The southwestern part of the country of Morocco is home to what many associate with a true representation of a desert landscape. Orange beige dunes with windswept lines being traversed by mounted camels may seem like something out of a movie, but it’s an everyday occurrence here in Morocco. The largest desert in the world, the Sahara, stretches over ten countries, and is of course one of the most famous of all Morocco landmarks. The destination is popular in winter months, although traveling to this desert can be extreme. Day time temperatures, even in winter months, can be unbearably hot. However, the region can reach below freezing temperatures overnight.
9. Fes Old Medina: Nearly one million people reside in this city, Morocco’s third largest, found near the storied center of Casablanca. Until the mid nineteen twenties, Fes served as the country’s capital, but that’s not what makes it one of the most popular of all Morocco landmarks. Referred to by some as the “Athens of Africa,” Fes is known for being car free, culturally significant and architecturally amazing. Nearly a thousand years of history can be seen and felt within the city limits, and all this combined with the atmospheres and traditions of locals make for an exciting and breathtaking destination.
10. St. Andrew: Tangier , the seaside city perched near the Strait of Gibraltar, is home to a plain and simple, smallish sort of church that might draw more guests for its collection of the departed outside than for opulent details inside. The Moorish style building is different from many Morocco landmarks as it lacks the bright colors and intricate details that so many traditional buildings in the area have, instead sporting simple quotes and an altar along with a lack of graven images. There is, however, a cemetery outside the church that is very popular with tourists who come to read the headstones situated outside, including those from past fighter pilots that are adorned with memorable quotes. However, what might be the most memorable part about visiting this church is the always available and always accessible caretaker, Yassine.