Apart from the enormous Djemaa El Fna marketplace with its stalls, snake charmers and other kinds of entertainment, Marrakech has Dar Menebhi palace, now the city museum. Our first morning in the city encompassed both.
The marketplace has many stalls for flowers and plants as well as fresh food in the open air, making it easier to negotiate if less interesting than the medina. That was reserved for afternoon, following a rooftop lunch. The highlight of the morning was the museum, though.
An unprepossessing street, apart from the military and police guards, brought us to the palace entrance. As with many smaller buildings there is no indication of what lies inside.
Tiles in many different patterns began the adventure. In corridors there were sculptures, offering the first glimpse of the figurative multicultural displays in contrast to Islamic belief.
Most of these are found in small rooms entered from beautiful courtyards. Again the tiles are varied in pattern and colour. The displays are from sub-Saharan Africa and – a surprise – Jewish culture. Our guide explained that the Jewish population has equality in Morocco.
The hammam or bath house, derived from Roman models, is another gem. A domed roof is pierced with star-shaped light wells and the hypocaust beneath toughened glass allows visitors to see how the water was heated in the warm and hot rooms.
The visit was all too brief but the tour of the medina allowed us to buy at the pharmacy and leather workshop and to see where the Secret Garden was to be found. We planned a private visit that at th end of the week.