Among the palaces, Al Badi is the most atmospheric, once a ‘jewel of Saadian Renaissance’, now the stage for the annual Folk Arts Festival held in the orange groves, among a scattering of ochre-coloured ruins. Ceramics still gleam in a forlorn pavilion, a carved wooden pulpit hides in another while the inner pool marble has lost its shine but at the time of construction, it was paid for by its weight in sugar. Tucked in the southern corner of the city, it’s a nostalgic escape with superb views from the terrace and all around, on the crumbling battlements, storks rattling their beaks, sending shivers down your spine. Every year, they say, they leave their gigantic nests on July 17thand fly off to distant lands. A short walk away, in a fragrant garden twittering with birds, the Saadian tombs have retained their splendour, all marble columns, carved cedarwood, majolica tiles and delicate stuccowork. Rediscovered in the early 20thcentury, the mausoleums are considered a masterpiece of Hispano- Moresque art.
Marrakech’as legendary bazaar is home to 10 000 artisans, organised in 40 corporations, each one dedicated to a specific craft, babouche find.