Morocco – Marrakech, accessibility and attractions of a magical city

Three full days in Marrakech , a city in Morocco considered the most important cultural tourist center in all of North Africa . What to do? Marrakech brings with it a thousand years of history that have left their mark and today this wonderful city presents itself to its visitors full of atmosphere, colors, scents and flavors. It is characterized by the Medina , very large and busy, and by a new growing part surrounded by elegant accommodation complexes. Click here to discover all our travel proposals for the disabled and accessible !! Morocco travel for the disabled My travel story begins from the Medina, the geographical and spiritual heart of the red city. I decided to stay overnight in one of the many riads scattered in its intrinsic streets. The Medina is a real open-air museum that extends for 700 hectares and which has become part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site . It is not easy to find your way around: the streets all look the same, they are not marked and there are very few signs indicating the attractions of the area. Its pavement is cobbled, sometimes broken or with sandy soil, but it is not impossible to travel it in a wheelchair even if it would be better to be equipped with an electric wheel. Inside the Medina there are no ramps to go up and down the sidewalks and almost all the shops and bars present have a step to overcome at the entrance. Despite this it is wonderful to get lost in the colorful souks, full of spices, Argan oils, fabrics, carpets, earrings and traditional clothes. Purchases are a must but remember to bargain… ALWAYS! The symbol of the Medina is undoubtedly the Koutoubia Mosque (four steps at the entrance), the main religious building in the city, with its decorated minaret that reaches 69 meters in height. The gardens and exterior of the mosque have no architectural barriers. Another must-see is the famous Jemaa el Fna square , considered the vital center of Marrakech. It hosts numerous stalls where you can taste street-food , jugglers and snake charmers attract the many tourists with their shows, henna tattoo artists propose drawings to be imprinted on the skin and street vendors try to earn the day by attracting as many people as possible. Snakes and monkeys, for those interested, are located in the area of the square that leads to the avenue of the Koutoubia Mosque. The square is at its best at sunset, when the sun lights it up orange! To best admire this spectacle of nature you have to go up to one of the many terraces of the bars that frame the square. Unfortunately, no place has a lift so you have to find someone who is available to carry you on weight. Near Jemaa el Fna is the fortified kashbah symbolized by the imposing Bab Agnaou horseshoe gate. Behind the Moulay El-Yazid Mosque are the marvelous Sa'diane tombs, royal tombs kept in rooms with refined stuccoes and mosaics. Entrance for the disabled is free. To access it there is a rather narrow corridor but usable with the wheelchair. To visit the tombs of the royals you have to overcome a step, while to admire the tombstones of the servants there are no barriers. Near this complex there are the famous El Badi and El Bahia palaces but unfortunately I could not ascertain their accessibility as I arrived at the ticket office near the closing (5pm). The Medina of Marrakech is incomparable… It is chaotic, dirty, dusty, noisy, but very, very fascinating! You can't help but get lost in its streets and you can't stop visiting it… If you are in a wheelchair you have to pay close attention to the carts and bicycles that whiz by at full speed at all hours of the day! You must always travel on the right side of the road otherwise you risk colliding with someone! What does the Parisian designer Yves Saint Laurent have to do with Marrakech? During a trip back in 1966, YSL and his partner discovered a complex of botanical gardens designed by the artist Jacques Majorelle in 1931. They fell in love with it and decided to buy them together with the villa inside. Today “Le Jardin de Majorelle” attracts more than 600,000 visitors a year. The ashes of YSL were scattered in the rose garden of the villa and on 3 December 2011 the Berber museum was inaugurated. The entrance for the disabled is next to the ticket office. The disabled person and their companion do not pay (it is better to have a photocopy of the certificate of disability). The interior is accessible. Although there are a few steps scattered here and there, the long and smooth streets allow wheelchair users to get everywhere. The blue de Majorelle mixed with the plants that decorate the gardens form a riot of elegance and refinement! Morocco travel for the disabled About 200 meters ahead of the gardens is the YSL Museum , inaugurated in September 2017. The ticket can be purchased at the ticket office of “Le Jardin de Majorelle”. If you are a fashion lover, I recommend a stop here too, where you can retrace the life and career of the notorious designer. The museum is fully accessible by wheelchair with lift and bathroom for the disabled. This area is newer, has ramps to get on and off sidewalks, and the streets are less broken. I have not found either here or anywhere else rooms with disabled toilets. Where and what to eat in Marrakech? When I'm abroad I like to experiment, so I taste everything that is offered to me. A MUST in Morocco is definitely the couscous , served with vegetables and / or with meat. Another dish I loved is the chicken tagine , a traditional dish that takes its name from the terracotta dish in which it is cooked. In the Riad Dar Mamouni , where I stayed, I tasted the pastille , a substantial flan of meat and vegetables usually served as an appetizer. I highly recommend the royal dinner at the Al Kadar riad , run by the Italian Michele. After a series of vegetable appetizers, sfa is served, a single dish consisting of fine spaghetti, raisins and chicken! Impossible not to eat their delicious bread, the Batbout , served hot with sauces and / or jams.

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