Fez - Marrakech is one of the four so-called “imperial cities” (the others are Fez, Meknes and Rabat).
Fez – Marrakech is one of the four so-called “imperial cities” (the others are Fez, Meknes and Rabat).
This imperial city was founded in 1070 by the Almouravid Sultan, Abu Bakr Ibn Omar, who noticed that Aghmat –his capital- had become overcrowded. For that reason he decided to build a new capital for his dynasty in a plain away from the mountains and away from two tribes which were vying to have the honor of hosting the new capital.
The name Marrakech may be derived from Berber words: Mur (n) akuch, which means Land of God. There is another reading to this nomination; this reading said it is derived from two words one is Arabic and the other French: Mur+Gauche: (Mur) is an Arabic word which means (To Pass) + (gauche) a French word which means (left). This latter reading based its credibility on the fact that Abu Bakr Ibn Omar, when he decided to found his new capital, sought the help of a French person to locate the ideal setting. When they came to the Atlas Mountains, he told the Sultan that they should (mur) = (pass) on the (gauche) = (left) of the Mountains.
Marrakech experienced its greatest period under the leadership of Youssef Ibn Tachafin and Yakoub El-Mansour, the second and the third sultans of the Almouhad dynasty. It became the most important major trade center of North Africa and sub-saharan regions; as a result of this, Morocco as a whole was called Marrakech.
Modern Marrakech, known as the red city or Pearl of the South, is a city of great fascination. It bewitches visitors from all over the world with its contrasting colors as well as its remarkable monuments and immense gardens- Ochre sand stone of its red-buildings, the green of its countless palm trees and other flourishing plants and the white of the snow-copped Atlas Mountains. Also, fascination for Marrakech comes from the existence of Berbers, Arabs and Jews within the same millieu. All of them mingle here, nomads and mountain folk and a wealth of products and handicrafts is an enticement here for everyone to come to this imperial city.
Indeed, Marrakech is a pearl of the South; it needs to be discovered. A flux of foreigners come either to live indefinitely in Marrakech (according to the Ministry of Tourism more than 15,000 foreigners of different nationalities have settled in Marrakech) or to visit it .
Those who want to discover Marrakech can benefit from tourist traps that are congregated inside a rather small zone. You can start your trip from the world famous square of Jmaa l-Fna with its crowds of musicians, acrobats and story- tellers, and with its open-air restaurants, where you can taste different and inexpensive Moroccan dishes.
After savoring your meal, you can visit unusual and picturesque Souks of Marrakech. There, ordinary objects become extraordinary. When you are in souks, you will fall in love with a kettle with a strange handle or a curved knife or a traditional babouche or a musical instrument. Surely, you will not be able to resist the temptation.
When you are within the old medina folds do not forget to visit historical mosques that exist like Mansour mosque, Ben Youseff mosque and medrassa…and especially the Koutoubia mosque, a mosque that was built during the 11th century under the Almouravid dynasty. It’s a minaret (70m), which is visible from particularly anywhere in Marrakech, design by a Muslim architect from Spain. It is an example of Arab-Andalusian architecture. What is strange with this historical mosque is that it was built by stones and musks, which one can smell until nowadays.
Further, if you feel tired, the minaret garden is where to take relax and enjoy yourself by cool, typical and extremely pleasant scenes rarely to be found somewhere else. Ramparets, gates, all, riads, tombs…and medrassas are in abundance in the city; they are the chandeliers of Marrakech. Once you come, you come to visit this pearl. Do not hesitate to pay a visit to them bringing with you your camera to commemorate the occasion when you turn back to your home land.
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