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.
City (pop., 2004: 823,154), west-central Morocco. One of the four imperial cities, it lies in the centre of the Haouz plain. It was founded in the mid-11th century by Yūsuf ibn Tāshufīn as the capital of the Almoravid dynasty. It fell to the Almohad dynasty in 1147, passed to the Marīnid dynasty in 1269, and was the capital under the Saayndid dynasty in the 16th century. In the premodern era, it was one of Islam's great cities. In 1912 it was captured by the French, who dominated the city until 1956. Now a popular tourist destination, it has many historical buildings and a well-known souk within its ancient city centre (designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985).
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Marrakesh or Marrakech (Amazigh: Murakush, Arabic مراكش Murrakush), known as the "Red City", is a city / wilaya with a population of 1,036,500 (as of 2006), the capital of the mid-southwestern Moroccan economic region of Marrakech-Tensift-Al Haouz (#11), near the foothills of the Atlas Mountains.
This city is the capital of the Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz region.
Until a few decades ago, Morocco was known as Kingdom of Marrakesh by Arabs, Persians and Europeans. European names of Morocco, Marruecos, Maroc, Marokko..etc are directly derived from the Berber word Murakush.
Marrakesh city has the largest traditional market (souk) in Morocco and also has one of the busiest squares in Africa and the world, Djemaa el Fna. The square bustles with acrobats, story-tellers, water sellers, dancers, and musicians, as well as drug lords by day; By night, the square turns into food stalls, becoming a huge open-air restaurant with busy life that include the infamous Ladies of the Night (prostitutes).
Like many North African and Middle Eastern cities, Marrakech comprises both an old fortified city (the médina) and an adjacent modern city (called Gueliz). It is served by Ménara International Airport (RAK is the code for the airport) and a rail link to Casablanca and the north.
The city is spelled "Marrakech" in French, "Marrakesh" in English, "Marrakesch" in German and "Marakeş" in Turkish.
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.
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, Abdelaziz al-Tebaa 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.
The official number of residents is one million. Also, there is a very large international community consisting mainly of Europeans: especially French, estimated at 10,700 people, mostly retired. Additionally there are Germans, Italians, English, and Swiss.
CTM coaches (intercity buses) and various private lines run services to most notable Moroccan towns as well as a number of European cities, from the Gare Routière on Rue Bab Doukkala in downtown Marrakech.
Marrakesh is the southern terminus of the ONCF, the Moroccan railway network, and Marrakesh is well served by trains heading to Tangier, Rabat, Casablanca, and Fez. The train station is located on Avenue Hassan II.
The ONCF owned "Supratours" bus company serves towns not served by the train. The bus timetable coordinates with the train timetable and the bus terminal is right beside the station.
Marrakech Is the New Costa del Sol: For a Host of Western Celebrities, Marrakech in Morocco Has Become the Place to Be Seen at and Increasingly, to Live in. Where Celebrities Go, the Lesser Folk Are Bound to Follow. the Result Is That Morocco's Economy and Its Culture Is Changing-But for the Better or for the Worse?
Mar 01, 2005; A profound change is taking place in Morocco. The streets of its ancient cities are now increasingly echoing to the sounds of...