El Badi Palace in Marrakech

The El Badi Palace('the incomparable palace') consists of the remnants of a glorious palace built by the Saadian King Ahmad al-Mansur, in 1578. The original building is thought to have had about 360 rooms, a courtyard and a pool, and was decorated with Italian marble and large amounts of Sudanese gold. It also had a small, underground jail where the king kept his prisoners. 

Unfortunately, the original palace was torn apart by the Alaouite Sultan Mawlay Ismail. The design of the palace was influenced by Granada's Alhambra. Today, the once luxurious palace is a ruin consisting of some intact rooms and numerous walls, terraces, gardens and foundations.

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The underground jail can still be explored and there are a number of beautiful mosaics surviving, but visitors have to use some imagination to conjure up the onetime grandeur of the place. The ruins are somewhat romantic but very little effort has gone into maintaining or preserving the site. 

Despite the ramshackle nature of the attraction anybody with an interest in history and archaeological sites should enjoy exploring the site. There is little or no shade so travellers should go prepared for the sun and should avoid the hottest part of the day. There is a small admission fee.

Agadir City

The holiday destination of Agadir, south of Marrakech, is totally new and modern, and is fast developing into Morocco's major resort town chiefly because of its magnificent sandy beaches. The city was rebuilt after an earthquake in 1961 that killed 15,000 people and wiped out most of its historic heritage as an important seaport and centre for caravans traversing the Sahara. 

The rebuilt city has been modelled to be a tourist destination and fishing port, favoured by package tours particularly as a starting point for excursions into the desert to the south. The city boasts about 300 days of sunshine a year, and claims to have 20,000 hotel beds (a quarter of the total in Morocco). Agadir has a lovely promenade along the coast and a vibrant restaurant and cafe culture tailored towards tourists. The nightlife is also fast developing and the shopping scene shouldn't disappoint.

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Agadir is the city in Morocco most tolerant of foreign habits and customs and therefore often the destination where tourists feel most comfortable. The town is conveniently located near popular attractions such as the walled city of Taroudannt and the Massa Lagoon, and contains a number of luxury hotels and excellent golf courses. While Agadir is always bustling with tourists, those looking for a good representation of Moroccan culture may be disappointed.