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The Colours of Marrakech, Part 1: Rose City

Colour, smell, thunder, stares, snakes, spices, the sound of birdsong, the call to prayer. Morocco is a country of extremes and its dazzling city of Marrakech all the more so. Those extremes began as soon as we entered its airspace, as desert planes and mighty big African clouds overhead gave way to one of the most sparkling fancy airports I have ever set foot in. A further transformation manifested as we took a taxi into town. On the left, a modern city, its roads neatly paved and lined with illuminated orange trees. On the right an old city crumbling, smelly, loud, maze like. Children begged around our legs, women enveloped in veils eyed us suspiciously and the use of donkeys in the place of vehicles marked a return to centuries past. Marrakech is different from any place I have ever visited before, and the next few weeks on The Daily Norm will bear testament to our time there; a trip which tantalised each of the senses and engendered the thrill of the different and astonishment at everything we saw.

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A focus on the visual is what will shape my tale of Marrakech, as I take inspiration from the colours which were visible in such extremes across the city. Known as Rose City, by far its most prominent colour is the peachy shade of soft terracotta which characterises its ancient Medina. Stemming from the red tint of local stone and mud, the colour is a naturally occurring bi-product of the city’s quasi-desert location. In fact the rosy hue became so synonymous with the city that when in modern times concrete started to replace traditional mud construction methods, the former French rulers decreed that all such buildings must be painted in the same colour of pink.

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The result is a city almost universally sculpted from rose, a place where nature itself provides the rose-tinted glasses through whose sheen Marrakech can be seen to glow a warm shade at all times of the day. But as we will see from later posts, the city’s characteristic hue changes as it reflects the light, and when an intense sunset reigns in the skies, the resulting reflected pink is like nothing I have ever seen before.

But for today, and by way of introducing to this incredible Moroccan city, I give you photos of Marrakech in its most iconic warm terracotta glow, ranging from sunrise in the morning to full sun as the baking semi-desert conditions almost cooked the city streets below. This is Marrakech, Rose City, Daughter of the Desert, and it’s going to be a wonderful Daily Norm ride…

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© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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10 Comments Post a comment
  1. Beautiful. The colors are amazing. – David

    May 19, 2017
  2. I agree, Marrakech is a beautiful city! If Marrakech is characterized by its peachy rose color, well then I suggest you to visit the north of Morocco where blue is everywhere like in Chefchaoun. You’ll be amazed by how magical and breathtaking that city is. By the way, I’m Moroccan 🙂 and you’re very welcome at Morocco!

    July 9, 2017
    • Thanks so much Salmahdd and sorry for my delayed response! We felt so welcome in Morocco and were completely mesmerised by the place. We will definitely be back!

      September 7, 2017

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. My Marrakech: Rose City Rooftops | The Daily Norm
  2. The Colours of Marrakech, Part 2: Garden Green | The Daily Norm
  3. The Colours of Marrakech, Part 3: Palaces of Gold | The Daily Norm
  4. The Colours of Marrakech, Part 6: Sunset Fuchsia | The Daily Norm
  5. The Sicily Series|Part I – Catania, Black City | The Daily Norm
  6. Memories of Marrakech, in Abstract | The Daily Norm

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