Medina of Marrakesh

 Morocco
Province of Marrakesh
N31 37 53.004 W7 59 12.012
Date of Inscription: 1985
Criteria: (i)(ii)(iv)(v)
Property : 1,107 ha
Ref: 331
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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. 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.

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Museum of Moroccan Art, Marrakesh (C Messier/Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 4.0).

Founded in 1070-1072 by the Almoravids (1056-1147), capital of the Almohads (1147-1269), Marrakesh was, for a long time, a major political, economic and cultural centre of the western Muslim world, reigning in North Africa and Andalusia. Vast monuments dating back to that period: Koutoubia Mosque, with the matchless minaret of 77 metres, an essential monument of Muslim architecture, is one of the important landmarks of the urban landscape and the symbol of the City, the Kasbah, ramparts, monumental gates and gardens. Later, the town welcomed other marvels, such as the Badiâ Palace, the Ben Youssef merdersa, les Saâdians tombs,  Bahia Palace and large residences. Jamaâ El Fna Square, inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, is a true open-air theatre that always amazes visitors. Due to its still protected, original and well conserved conception, its construction materials and decoration in constant use, and its natural environment (notably the Gardens of Aguedal, Ménara and the Palm Grove (Palmeraie) the plantation of which is attributed to the Almoravids), the Medina of Marrakesh possesses all its initial components both cultural and natural that illustrate its Outstanding Universal Value.

Criterion (i): Marrakesh contains an impressive number of masterpieces of architecture and art (ramparts and monumental gates, Koutoubia Mosque, Saâdians tombs, ruins of the Badiâ Palace, Bahia Palace, Ménara water feature and pavilion) each one of which could justify, alone, a recognition of Outstanding Universal Value.

Criterion (ii): The capital of the Almoravids and the Almohads has played a decisive role in medieval urban development.  Capital of the Merinids, Fès Jedid (the New town), integral part of the Medina of Fez, inscribed in 1981 on the World Heritage List, is an adaptation of the earlier urban model of Marrakesh.

Criterion (iv): Marrakesh, which gave its name to the Moroccan empire, is a completed example of a major Islamic capital of the western Mediterranean.

Criterion (v): In the 700 hectares of the Medina, the ancient habitat, rendered vulnerable due to demographic change, represents an outstanding example of a living historic town with its tangle of lanes, its houses, souks, fondouks, artisanal activities and traditional trades.

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Marrakech, also spelt Marrakesh, is one of the imperial cities of Morocco. The name Marrakech originates from the Amazigh (Berber) words mur (n) wakush, which means “Land of God”. It is the third largest city in Morocco after Casablanca and Rabat, and lies near the foothills of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains and a few hours away from the foot of the Sahara Desert. Its location and contrasting landscape has made it an enviable destination in Morocco. The city is divided into two parts: the Medina, the historical city, and the new European modern district called Gueliz or Ville Nouvelle. The Medina is full of intertwining narrow passageways and local shops full of character; it also contains the large square Djemaa El-Fna, where many hotels are located and tourists, locals and vendors congregate. In contrast, Gueliz plays host to modern restaurants, fast food chains and big brand stores. Marrakech is the main tourist destination in Morocco and thus it is also a place where many Moroccans try to become rich fast by ripping off tourists [read more].

El Kelaa des Sraghna (sometimes spelled El Kelaa des Srarhna) is a town in central Morocco. The economy of the town is mostly based on agriculture, the growing of olive trees being predominant. According to some historical references, the Alaouite Sultan Moulay Ismail established the city, Kelaat Sraghnas in the 17th century. The Sultan had aimed to found citadels and Quasbas to control the movements of mountainous tribes. Other references state that the existence of the city refers to the period of the Almoravids. According to other sources, the city was known as the Arabs designations such as “Gaynou” Lagrare, and it was founded by the Almoravids like a project to monitor the road between Fes and Marrakesh, to populate the area and fight against Berghouata’s heresy. Nevertheless, some manuscripts cite evidence that Saadian Dynasty founded the city in the late of sixteenth century and it was known as designation “Kelaat Lagrare” [read more].

Agadir is a city in the southern part of Morocco. Agadir is of interest primarily because of its location, as it is surrounded by the Anti Atlas, the Sahara Desert, many natural parks, and secluded beaches which are all easily accessible from Agadir. The city of Agadir is primarily a tourist resort that is popular with European travelers and Moroccans alike. It has a beach with all the appropriate facilities for beach-tourism. The city is especially attractive, it is clean and orderly with very friendly locals. Agadir is primarily a resort and as such has a limited number of attractions The main attraction is the beach, which is very big and not very crowded. The beach is very windy, at least in February. Surfing. Imesouane, Devils rock (at the town of Tamragh and with the neighbouring towns of Aourir and Taghazout), Anchor point, Cro-Cro and many others. There are a lot of surf schools and surf camps and surf shop [read more].

2 comments

  • The heartbeat of Marrakech is the Jemaa el-Fnaa market with an array of entertainers to stop by and enjoy. For example, you can check out the snake charmers, storytellers, water sellers or the henna-tattoo artists, and at night, you can partake in the different stalls that offer traditional lamb treats, fresh orange juice and all kinds of other delectable delights. One of the best aspects of the market is that you can enjoy any time of the day or night, as the square is jumping all the time. Take home a few trinkets from the souvenir shops.

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  • Each evening, we wandered through the Place Jemaa el-Fna, sipping on glasses of freshly-squeezed-orange juice and stopping to watch the food vendors selling steamed snails, roasted nuts and fresh dates. Although it was popular to sit on benches and eat food which was grilled at open air cafes, we preferred to enjoy a meal at one of the many indoor restaurants found on the upper floors of buildings surrounding the square where we could look down at the frenzied activity taking place below.

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