Moroccan Facebook users are blaming the authorities for allowing random construction to see the light in one of Marrakech historical sites.
Rabat – Pictures of a house built in the middle of the ramparts surrounding the old medina of Marrakech has triggered a wave of anger among the people of the red city.
Taking to her Facebook account on August 14, Amel Mellakh, a researcher in tangible and intangible heritage, published photos showing a part of the rampart being destroyed to build a house. The rampart was built by Almoravide around the years 1126-1127.
Mellakh was frustrated that the historical sites, part of the city’s history and cultural legacy, were being demolished to make some more space for private houses.
“Built around the years 1126-1127 by the Almoravid dynasty, and especially under the orders of Ali Ben Youssef, the ramparts of Marrakech, in the form of a quadrilateral, formed a wall to protect the city from external attacks,” she explained.
In the pictures shared online, the house can be easily spotted as it is located on one of Marrakech’s main avenues.
According to Mellakh and other critics of the practice, who also vented their anger in social media posts, the randomly built house is considered as a disrespect to the city’s cultural heritage and wealth and harms the look of the ramparts.
“Allo … band of uneducated, ignorant, blind … the ramparts in danger, worse, a situation where we risk great insecurity and threatens the existence of our history, ramparts in distress, our heritage is no longer threatened, it is destroyed,” she commented.
Mellakh later acted on her frustration by bringing the matter to public attention. The researcher has called on officials to act against what she views as a sacrilegious trend. Sadly, however, the authorities have so far turned a blind eye on the concerning situation of the ramparts of Marrakech.
Reactions from internet users have been almost all pointed in the same direction. They all denounced the deliberate destruction of the city’s cultural and architectural heritage for the only purpose of building a house.
People also raised questions on the role of the local authorities whose mandate makes them responsible for monitoring the respect of the development plan of the district under the authority of the ministry of interior.
They also put the responsibility on the Urban Agency of Marrakech. The agency is charged with executing zoning and developments plans and also controlling housing projects and ensuring their conformity with a specific area’s development plan.
Marrakech is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985.