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Morocco is a country located in North Africa with a population of nearly 33 million, and an area covering over 700,000 square kilometers. Marrakech is one of the larger and more prominent cities in Morocco, along with Rabat (the capital) and Casablanca. Arabic is the official language of the country, although the Berber language, Darija, French, and Spanish are also widely spoken. In the month of January, Marrakech averages a daily high of 64°F (18°C).
Marrakech brings the most outlandish travelers' tales to life. The city is well known for the Jemaa Al Fna square, its snake charmers, magic potions, glorious cuisine and hidden palaces. But it now carries an international brand of magic resulting from the spectacular ryads, courtyard guesthouses renovated by international designers. Due to its geographical position in the middle of the desert but surrounded by snow cap mountains and with its cultural diversity, mixing African, Berber and Arabic, Marrakech remains a place of fascination for hedonists and idealists.
Marrakech welcomes major international events throughout the year including the Marrakech International Film Festival which greets all the glitterati from Hollywood to Bollywood each December. With established experience in handling such prestigious events, Marrakech is the perfect destination for EWRI delegates.
The Palais des Congres de Marrakech, has a world-class reputation and can accommodate up to 5,500 persons. It is located at the centre of all the main points of interest in Marrakesh, in the prestigious Hivernage residential district and just 10 minutes from the international airport, 5 minutes from the station, 15 minutes on foot from the Old City, and just 15 minutes by car from three eighteen-hole golf courses, making it ideal for conventions, conferences, incentive trips, seminars, product launches and indoor and outdoor exhibitions. It can offer all the atmosphere, efficiency and prestige of a truly world-class Conference Centre.
Jemaa el Fna Square
When visiting Marrakech the first place to go to after checking into your hotel is certainly jamaa el Fna square, nothing in Morocco compares to this lively open-air circus with snake charmers, storytellers, jugglers and street artists of every type. In the evening the square becomes the gathering point of musicians playing all type of instruments. The markets, which are called souks, are another focal point in Marrakech. Stretching out north of Djemaa el Fna, at first sight the souks may appear very confusing and impossible to visit without getting lost. There are guides available to take tourists around the markets, but the best way is certainly to find your way with the help of a map without rushing the experience by visiting a few markets a day instead of trying to take everything in on the first visit. The souks selling absolutely everything, food, spices, jewellery, rugs, the famous Moroccan sleepers, silks and tanned leather are concentrated around Rue Souk Smarine, a covered street that bifurcates at half way into Souk el Attarin and Souk el Kebir. In the area you can also admire the Ben Youssef Medersa, a great example of architecture belonging to the Marinides dating back to the XIV century. It is an ancient Koran school attached to the Ben Youssef Mosque featuring fantastic wooden ceilings and sculpted plasterwork, probably the best monument after the Koutoubia Minaret.
Situated in the heart of Marrakech the Koutoubia Minaret dominates the city and is visible from kilometers afar. Dating back to the XII century the almost 70-metre high Koutoubia Minaret is the most ancient of the three Almohad towers (the other two are the Hassan Tower in Rabat and the Giralda Tower in Seville) as well as the most complete.
Other interesting places in Marrakech are the Mellah, the old Jewish quarters with the best jewellery shops, the Bahia Palace, a beautiful XIX century palace open to visitors everyday from 9am to 5pm and the Saadian Tombs. Looking more like a peaceful garden surrounded by high walls than an actual cemetery, the Saadian Tombs, built by Moulay Ismail, are open everyday from 8.30 to 11.45 and from 14.30 to 17.45.For those people looking for green spots, the subtropical garden Jardin Majorelle is one of the most enchanting places in Marrakech, a small botanical garden created by French painter Jacques Majorelle. The Marrakech Oasis, a large palm grove north of Marrakech featuring over 20000 palm trees, is a fantastic change of scenery to the urban surrounding and a great place to escape the heat of the medina especially in summer.