A tapestry of culture and hospitality
After suffering a devastating earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale last month, the spirit of the Moroccan city remains indomitable. While the disaster left over 2,900 dead across the country, Marrakech was spared from major damage, with the epicenter closer to the Atlas Mountains. In the weeks since, residents have rolled up their sleeves to restore their home to its former vibrant self.
Walking the well-maintained sidewalks today, one sees signs of steady progress. Fresh coats of paint brighten once drab stretches. Newly levelled pavers ease foot traffic. Most remarkable is the energy of the people, cleaning the streets with vigor as the city readies to host a major IMF-World Bank annual meeting in the first half of October 2023. When The Reporter visited the city just weeks after the disaster, residents seemed spirited and determined to move on despite the catastrophic natural event.
Through it all, the delicious diversity of Marrakech cuisine continues giving life its flavor. Visitors are warmly welcomed by Moroccan hosts eager to share their sweet and flavorful cuisine, while the nightlife takes a more moderate tone here than in other tourist havens.
While alcohol plays less of a starring role on menus than in other tourist hubs, this takes nothing away from the convivial atmosphere.
For those desiring stronger beverages, options can still be found. Small taverns and restaurants keep more spirited varieties on hand. Beer and other drinks can also be purchased at large stores in Marrakech until their typical 8pm closing time.
Visitors arriving in Marrakech will find the city has much to offer culturally. Within its bustling streets lie hidden areas full of character. As visitors arrive under the warm North African sun, the city promises pleasant surprises behind each unfamiliar façade.
Beyond superficial impressions, Marrakech invites deeper discovery of its roots. While Morocco shares the Arabic language and Islamic faith with its Eastern neighbors, it seems to transcend stereotypical views of Middle Eastern Islamic societies.
Historical texts trace lineages to two ethnic groups – Arab and Berber. Arabs, according to literature, migrated to Morocco beginning in the seventh century and established control over coastal regions.
As guests step foot in Marrakech, they enter a world where traditional means of transportation intertwine with modern conveniences. Horse-drawn carriages gracefully carry people and goods through the city, while taxis, buses, bicycles, motorbikes, and cars navigate the bustling streets. Marrakech offers a seamless blend of tradition and progress.
Immersing oneself in the vibrant tapestry of Marrakech means embracing its unique cultural nuances. While men often embrace European attire, women proudly don the djellaba and hijab, especially noticeable in the enchanting Medina. This harmonious coexistence of fashion choices showcases the city’s contemporary leanings, rooted in a rich historical backdrop.
Hospitality is in Marrakech’s DNA. A receptionist at the Grand Mogador MENARA Hotel in Marrakech told The Reporter that hospitality is deeply ingrained in Moroccan culture. Passed down through generations, Moroccans are renowned for their warm and welcoming nature. This sense of hospitality has become an integral part of Moroccan history, the receptionist added.
The buildings of Marrakech are renowned for their vivid colors and intricate designs. Attractive interiors and gardens enhanced by eco-friendly local materials like pottery and natural fibers lend the city much of its charm – one reason tourists flock there from around the world. The design aesthetics found inside Marrakech beautifully showcase original ideas and help bring more visitors.
As Ethiopian travelers embark on a quest to explore the wonders of Marrakech, they discover more than just a captivating city. They find valuable insights into well-established tourism infrastructure that simplifies navigation and offers a diverse range of attractions. Ethiopia, with its own wealth of natural and cultural wonders, can take inspiration from Marrakech to enhance its tourism infrastructure and make it more accessible to visitors.
Marrakech stands as a testament to the successful blend of ancient heritage and modern development, creating a destination that caters to a wide spectrum of travelers. One notable aspect is the absence of glass-insulated buildings, which contributes to the city’s vibrant and enticing charm. Ethiopia could draw inspiration from this to establish its own sustainable and inclusive tourism industry.
Rather than erasing the existing charm of Ethiopia’s capital, with generic glass architecture, a more enticing approach would involve enhancing and renovating the current structures. This preservation of the city’s unique character would not only make it visually appealing to tourists but also ensure a distinctive and unforgettable experience.
Known as the Red City of Morocco due to its distinctive red/rose-colored city walls and sandstone buildings, Marrakech recently welcomed the second African Health Harm Reduction Conference. Over 80 national representatives from around the world gathered in this historic city from September 27-23, 2023, to explore the latest advancements, trends, and challenges in diverse health disciplines.
Under the patronage of King Mohammed VI of Morocco, the annual global health event aimed to foster solidarity and promote collaboration among nations. The organizers emphasized the importance of successful South-South cooperation, particularly in the field of health.
As the stage was set for the prestigious IMF-World Bank annual meeting, Morocco took center stage by hosting a significant global health event. Organized by African Global Health (AGH) in partnership with the Moroccan government, the conference attracted a diverse array of academic, health, and risk-related experts, professionals, decision-makers, policy experts, researchers, and medical enthusiasts from around the world.
Themed “Health in Africa: Water, Environment, and Food Security,” the conference delved into numerous pressing issues, including health, environment, harm reduction, air quality, global warming, respiratory diseases, food security, nutrition, and health education. The discussions primarily focused on effective preventive measures to mitigate the far-reaching impacts of human, social, political, and economic crises.
With the support of the African Union and the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), AGH hosted the event with the aim of positioning Africa at the forefront of pioneering South-South collaborations. This cooperative effort seeks to achieve health sovereignty in Africa and beyond, emphasizing the importance of shared knowledge and joint initiatives.
Startling revelations emerged during the recent global health event in Marrakech, shedding light on the significant impact of poor water quality on African populations. Disturbingly, it was disclosed that 80 percent of illnesses in Africa can be attributed to inadequate water quality, resulting in a tragic daily toll of 650 lives lost, predominantly among children under the age of five.
AGH president Imane Kendili emphasized the historic nature of the conference, which brought together policymakers, experts, and researchers to engage in crucial discussions on key issues affecting the societies and governments of Africa, the world’s youngest continent
Despite the challenges posed by a recent earthquake, Morocco remains resilient and fully prepared to host the upcoming IMF-World Bank annual meetings, scheduled to commence on October 9.