Marrakesh, the highly popular major city of Morocco, has been the first ever African Capital of Culture for 2020.
The nomination was awarded to Marrakesh because of its “architectural, artistic and cultural legacy” according to Lonely Planet.
Like a lot of the historical Moroccan cities, Marrakesh is made up of an old fortified city filled to the brim with street stalls and, of course, two major UNESCO World Heritage Sites bordered by modern neighbourhoods. The famous square of ‘Djemaa El Fna’ and the walled old city are the aforementioned World Heritage Sites and major points of interest.
Tourism is strongly advocated by the reigning Moroccan monarch and, as a result, Marrakesh is one of the busiest cities in Africa and serves as a major economic centre. It may not be a surprise that the city has set a goal of doubling the number of tourists visiting the city to 20 million by 2020 – a date which coincides with their Capital of Culture status.
And, if you’re looking for more even more culture in the city, the famous Yves Saint Laurent Museum of Marrakesh takes pride of place next door to the Majorelle Garden.
The building, designed by Paris-based Studio KO, is one of two museums built by the Pierre Bergé Foundation in a bid to celebrate the work of Yves Saint Laurent. Bergé, Saint Laurent’s business partner and former lover, made the $17 million terracotta museum his own major project. Sadly, Bergé passed away on September 8th, just a month before the opening: “It feels perfectly natural, 50 years later, to build a museum dedicated to his oeuvre, which was so inspired by this country,” he said prior to his death.
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