Living in MarrakechIyna Bort Caruso
Marrakech, Morocco, has been called the Red City, the Ochre City and the Pink City owing to the color of the walls surrounding the old town. People may not agree on the precise rosy hue, but there’s general consensus on the city’s global appeal.
Marrakech is an Imperial City, one of four so designated because it served as the capital at one point in its history. Its attractions are ancient and modern. From bustling souks to high end boutiques, and from centuries-old gardens and squares to contemporary museums of art, photography and culture. Of the latter, one of the most visited is the Yves Saint Laurent Museum, dedicated to the late fashion designer. For those who enjoy more active pursuits, golf, horseback riding and skiing in the Atlas Mountains are all within reach.
Marrakech architecture spans centuries including, perhaps surprisingly, futuristic design outside the city center. Moorish style with its Islamic roots is a bold blend of geometric patterns, expressive colors, horseshoe arches, decorative plaster and ornate tilework. In some cases, contemporary buildings have incorporated traditional European influences into Islamic design.
In the old medina, a UNESCO World Heritage site that’s been called the soul of the city, classic Moroccan homes known as riads are popular with vacation-home buyers and investors for rental income. Riads are built around a central open-air courtyard or garden and offer considerable privacy. A real estate boom in recent years has seen the rise of new developments outside the medina and in desert suburbs. Some offer palatial estates in gated communities with amenities such as pools, hammams--or Turkish baths--and caretaker quarters.
Europeans, and particularly French citizens, make up the largest percentage of buyers from abroad. Direct flights between Marrakech and Paris are three hours. In Morocco, there are no restrictions on international property purchases.