For the X Factor 2009 judge’s house, Cheryl chose Marrakech in Morocco as the place to have the final auditions of the boys to select the three that will go through to the live shows. She is following in the foot steps of legends, because both the Stones and the Beatles spent time there in years gone by.
Marrakech also known as the “Red City”, is the capital of the mid-southwestern economic region of Marrakech-Tensift-Al Haouz, near the foothills of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains. The City is hidden behind a 12 kilometre-long, two metre-thick XIIth century red wall. Like many North African cities, the city of Marrakech comprises both an old fortified city and an adjacent modern city for a total population of 1,070,838. It is served by Ménara International Airport and a rail link to Casablanca and the north.
Marrakech has the largest traditional market (souk) in Morocco and also has one of the busiest squares in Africa and the world, Djemaa el Fna. The square bustles with acrobats, story-tellers, water sellers, dancers, and musicians. By night food stalls open in the square turning it into a huge busy open-air restaurant. It is here that Cheryl Cole’s boys were treated to traditional Moroccan cuisine that some of them were a little apprehensive about.
As well as sampling the local cuisine many vistors venture from Marrakech to visit the valley of the Ourika River in the Atlas Mountains or the valley of the Draa River in the south, near the Sahara desert. They also tour the Middle Atlas Mountains, where the Waterfalls of Beni Mellal are found, and to Essaouira on the Atlantic ocean. Some people also venture to Casablanca that can easily be reached by rail or the toll motorway.