Of all the old Arabic towns or medinas in Morocco, the one in Marrakech is the largest. Designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, it is surrounded by 19 kilometres of ancient ramparts. Its narrow streets are lined with ochre buildings and monuments. In its heart, visible from every point in the city, rises the minaret of the famous Koutoubia Mosque.
Medina’s traditional marketplaces are ever bustling. Tourists flock to its souks, which sell a wealth of native crafts and other goods. The quarter of Bab Doukkala, home to a leper colony, is now home to some of the best restaurants in town and a large number of shops, plus the district bus station. Bordering Bab Doukkala is Dar El Bacha, which gets its name from a palace owned by a hated early 20th century Pasha. Next to this is the vibrant Riad El Arous, one of the primary car- accessible parts of Medina.
In the south is the Kasbah Quarter, once a seat of power, as evidenced by its royal palace. Near the palace are the splendidly laid-out orange, fig, lemon, apricot and pomegranate groves of the Agdal Gardens. Mellah, the historical Jewish quarter, lies northeast of Kasbah. It has many small shops and markets. Attractive shops can be found on Riad Zitoun El-Jedid Street. There are a few museums near here, plus the Palais de la Bahia. And there is the Riad Zitoun Quarter, one of the most Europeanized and least touristy parts of Medina.