users online
 
Contact me

MARRAKECH, MOROCCO

Marrakech or Marrakesh , city, W central Morocco. The city, renowned for leather goods, is one of the principal commercial centers of Morocco and a major tourist center. It was founded (1062) by the Almoravid leader Yusuf ibn Tashfin and was the capital of Morocco from then until 1147 and again from 1550 to 1660. It was captured by the French in 1912. Marrakech known as the "Red City" or "Al Hamra," is a city with a population of 1,036,500 in southwestern Morocco.

Beautifully situated near the Atlas Mts., Marrakech has extensive gardens, ruins of a 16th-century palace, a former palace of the sultan that is now a museum of Moroccan art, and a royal necropolis (16th-18th cent.). The 253-ft (77-m) minaret (completed 1195) of the Koutoubia mosque dominates the city. The Université Ben Youssef, a center of Islamic studies, and a public university are in Marrakech.

Marrakesh is the third largest city in Morocco after Casablanca and Rabat. It was known to early travellers as "Morocco City." Prior to the advent of the Almoravids in the 11th century, the area was ruled from the city of Aghmat. The Almoravid leader, Abu-Bakr Ibn-Umar decided Aghmat was becoming overcrowded and chose to build a new capital. Being a nomad from the Sahara Desert, he decided to build it in the plains, away from the mountains and rivers. He chose the site of Marrakech, because it was in neutral territory between two tribes who were vying for the honor of hosting the new capital. Work started in May 1070, but Abu-Bakr was recalled to the Sahara to put down a rebellion in January 1071 and the city was completed by his deputy and eventual successor Yusuf ibn Tashfin. The city experienced its greatest period under the leadership of Yacoub el Mansour, the third Almohad sultan. A number of poets and scholars entered the city during his reign and he began the construction of the Koutoubia Mosque and a new kasbah.

Prior to the reign of Moulay Ismail, Marrakech was the capital of Morocco. After his reign, his grandson moved the capital back to Marrakech from Meknès.

For centuries Marrakesh has been known for its 'seven saints.' When sufism was at the height of its popularity, during the reign of Moulay Ismail, the festival of the 'seven saints' was founded by Abu Ali al-Hassan al-Yusi at the request of the sultan. The tombs of several renowned figures were moved to Marrakesh to attract pilgrims in the same way Essaouira did at that time with its Regrega festivals. The 'seven saints' (sebaatou rizjel) is now a firmly established institution, attracting visitors from everywhere. The seven saints include Sidi Bel Abbas (the patron saint of the city), Sidi Muhammad al-Jazuli, Sidi Abu al-Qasim Al-Suhayli, Cadi Ayyad ben Moussa, and Abdallah al-Ghazwani.

Marrakech was dominated in the first half of the 20th century by T'hami El Glaoui, Lord of the Atlas and Pasha of Marrakech. The poet of the city was Mohammed Ben Brahim, his favorite place was café Al-Masraf. The poems and songs of Ben Brahim are still known by heart by many Marrakshi.


July 2004

No comments:


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ MUCH MORE ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Packing List

Subway Maps

Currency Exchange

View Guestbook Sign Guestbook Weather Transportation Accomodation Maps