Museum of Marrakesh

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by billmoy on December 20, 2002

This fine museum is a fairly new addition to the Marrakesh tourism scene, as it was carved out of a beautiful late 19th Century palace (Dar Mnebhi) and recycled as a museum in 1997. The building interiors are more of an attraction than the exhibits, though they are modestly interesting in their own right. The main courtyard is gorgeous, with a gurgling fountain in the center; several tiled fountains, large colorful doorways, and finely crafted details everywhere. The formerly exposed courtyard is now glassed over, with a massive golden chandelier looming over the fountain.

In a sense, the palace itself is the main art object on display. The lovingly restored interiors are colorful, but the lighting is low and muted. Still, the rooms display various examples of jewelry, locally produced zellij tiles, historic earthenware, and other colorful items. Other rooms are used as exhibition spaces of contemporary modern art, at least as modern as can be freely exhibited in Muslim Morocco. There is a traditional hammam that you can walk through. The hammam is basically a traditional Moroccan bathhouse, including luxurious resting areas. Portions of the hammam in the museum have been converted to art display space. The douiria, the former kitchen of the palace, is also used as exhibition space for contemporary art.

There is a pleasant roof deck with some decent views of the surrounding area. Relax at the cafe in the entrance courtyard with a steaming pot of mint tea or a soft drink. The museum store has a decent selection of art books, souvenirs and postcards.

The admission fee (as of November 2002) is a fairly stiff 30 dirham. It is about 3 US dollars, whereas fees at most Moroccan sites seem to be 10 or 20 dirham. Take a free brochure before you enter the museum (in English!). If you want a bit of peace and quiet while enjoying a pleasant educational and aesthetic experience, a visit to the Museum of Marrakesh may be just your ticket.

Musee de Marrakech (Marrakech Museum)
Place Ben Youssef
Marrakesh, Morocco
212 24 44 18 93

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