From souqs to super-mall

The new Almazar shopping centre is opening in Marrakesh today, covering 33,000 square metres on five levels, with parking for 1,200 cars, a 800-seat food court and familiar names like Carrefour and Virgin Megastore.

It's progress, I suppose, and I've nothing against Moroccans having decent shopping facilities. But I always thought that what attracts tourists to Marrakesh is its distinctive character, its ramshackle souqs and ancient monuments, not to mention the illicit supplies of hashish. Does the Red City really need an air-conditioned "super-mall" to pull in the crowds? 

Posted by Brian Whitaker, 3 April 2010.