Medina of Marrakech (1985)
Morocco

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Founded in 1070–72 by the Almoravids, Marrakesh remained a political, economic and cultural centre for a long period. Its influence was felt throughout the western Muslim world, from North Africa to Andalusia. 

Morocco 1960. Scenic view of Marrakech with a date palm oase in the foreground, the minaret of the Koutoubia in the center, and the peaks of the High Atlas Mountain range with eternal snow in the background. 900th anniversary of the foundation of Marrakech.

It has several impressive monuments dating from that period: the Koutoubiya Mosque, the Kasbah, the battlements, monumental doors, gardens, etc. Later architectural jewels include the Bandiâ Palace, the Ben Youssef Madrasa, the Saadian Tombs, several great residences and Place Jamaâ El Fna, a veritable open-air theatre. 

  • Morocco 1960. Scenic view of Marrakech with a date palm oase in the foreground, the minaret of the Koutoubia in the center, and the peaks of the High Atlas Mountain range with eternal snow in the background. 900th anniversary of the foundation of Marrakech. 

Marrakech is the capital of Marrakech Province in western Morocco, on the fertile Haouz Plain, at the foot of the High Atlas Mountains. The traditional southern capital of the sultans and a major trade center, Marrakech is a rail terminus and a road and caravan center, connected with the Atlantic port of Safi. The area is studded with date-palm oases. Of interest in the city are the ruined walls, twisting streets, and markets; the casino; the sultan's palace and gardens; the 12th-century Koutoubia mosque; the royal tombs; and Aguedal Park. 

French Morocco 1917. The minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque. Morocco 2004. Bab Agnaou. French Morocco 1918. Tomb of the Saadiens.

Founded in 1060, Marrakech was capital of the Almoravides and, in the 12th century, capital of the Almohades. The city prospered under the later Saadis and was an important Saharan trade center. After the French occupation, the modern part of the city was built in 1913. 

On la Place Jamaa El Fna near the entrance to the medina of Marrakech the tourists can enjoy snake charmers, dance groups, local water carriers, a small camel market, flea markets and much more. Young children will invariably "attack" you, asking money for a guided tour through the medina. It is wise to accept their offer in order not to get completely lost in the narrow streets and crooked paths. 

The cacophonic sounds of humans and animals, mixed with loud Arabic music from loud speakers accompanying various artistic groups' activities, is overwhelming. 

  • The restored dome of the Almoravides in front of the Minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque, photographed by the webmaster in 1968. 

The restored dome of the Almoravides in front of the Minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque, photographed by the webmaster in 1968.

The picturesque surroundings at the foot of the High Atlas Mountains with its alpine winter sports resorts have attracted a large number of celebrities, among them also Sir Winston Churchill who, because of the colour of the buildings, perceived Marrakech as the Rose City and often retired to the area for relaxation and pleasure painting. 

Sources and links: 

Other World Heritage Sites in Morocco (on this web site). Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, Morocco section, for further information about the individual properties. 

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Revised 20 jul 2006  
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