Bicycles in the Medina

15 Jan

bicycle medina merchant

In the narrow streets of Marrakech’s Medina, merchants hang rugs from slanted walls, pharmacists display pyramid heaps of hibiscus, poppy seeds and mint leaves, and fruit stalls offer fresh orange juice for four dirham (0,40 Euro).

bicycles in marrakech

To tourists, the Medina is a scenic shopping roller coaster. But the Medina’s traders face great challenges to get their goods through the serpentine streets.

Houses angle towards the streets, bearing down on people below. Merchants sit smoking in front of stalls, their stools encroaching on the little space left. Finally, the throng of Marrakchi making their way to work, of tourists stalling to take pictures, and of uniformed children walking hand in hand to school, definitively rule out the possibility of motorised lorries delivering goods to the Medina traders.

bicycles in marrakech medina

Luckily, there’s the bicycle.

Throughout the Medina, bicycle bells accompany the sound of prayers issued from the mosque minarets. Bicycles shoot through the streets and cyclists seem to be absorbed – eaten up, almost – by the crowds.

bicycles in medina - kid on back seat

In the Medina, bicycles ensure goods get there on time; in a way a car couldn’t. And so, the bicycle has won the hearts of nearly all merchants in Marrakech.

bicycles in the medina

Only a few merchants have not adopted the bicycle; not because they do get deliveries by car, but because they prefer mules.

bicycles in morocco

 

One Response to “Bicycles in the Medina”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Cycling in Modern Morocco « Dutch in Dublin - January 20, 2011

    […] traditional culture is strongest in the Medina (see last week’s post). Well preserved within its city walls, the medieval Medina looks the same today as it did when […]

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