What was Marrakech’s ancient name?
What was Marrakech’s ancient name? Marrakech, Morocco is a popular city in North Africa, known for its rich cultural and architectural heritage. But did you know that Marrakech wasn’t always called that?
What was Marrakech’s former name?
The ancient name of Marrakech is “Medina.” This was the city’s former name when it was the capital of the Almoravid Berber Kingdom in the 11th century. It then took the name “Marrakech” in the 12th century, when the Almohads made it the capital of their empire.
What is Marrakech?
Marrakech is Morocco’s fourth-largest city and second-largest conurbation. Situated at the foot of the Atlas Mountains, Marrakech is known for its cultural and historical ambience.
Known for its colorful markets, lush gardens and panoramic views, Marrakech is a popular destination for tourists. Attractions such as Jemaa el Fna Square, the Majorelle Gardens and the El Badi Kasbah are among the city’s most visited sites.
Marrakech’s inhabitants are mainly Berbers, the majority of whom speak the Berber dialect Tamazight. The city is also known for its varied and inventive gastronomy, which features both traditional and modern dishes.
The history of Marrakech:
The city was founded in 1062 by the Almoravid ruler Youssef Ibn Tachfine and was the seat of the Almoravid empire until its fall in 1147. After that, the city was incorporated into the Almohad empire and renamed “Marrakech”, from the Amazigh word “Mur Akush” meaning “land of the gods”.
The city remained under Almohad rule until 1269, when it was retaken by the Marinids. Since then, it has been known as Marrakech and has become one of the most important cities in the Maghreb.
What is the nickname of the city of Marrakech?
Marrakech is known as the “Red City”, because many of the city’s monuments are built of red clay, giving the city a unique appearance. The nickname also comes from the fact that the walls of the medina are largely built of red clay, giving the city a distinct color and atmosphere.
When was Marrakech founded?
Marrakech was founded in 1071 by the Almoravid sultan Yusuf ibn Tashfin. He called it Al-Mansour, which means “he who triumphs” in Arabic. The city was later renamed Marrakech by the Almohad sultan Abu Yusuf Yaqub in 1147. The name is derived from the Berber word mur n akouch, meaning “land of God”. Over the centuries, Marrakech developed into a flourishing and prosperous city.
The Creation of Marrakech (1062 – 1147)
Marrakech was founded in 1062 by Youssef Ben Tachfin. Originally a flimsy encampment made of branches, new solid buildings were erected near a kasbah and a mosque. Little by little, the town grew with the help of Ben Tachfin, who created a good foundation of wells, underground conduits and water supplies, enabling the town to live. His determination to develop the city earned him the nickname of the Father of Morocco. Coming from the Almoravid dynasty, this leader took over Fez, reaching as far as Lisbon and extending his empire.
Marrakech then became the southern capital of the Maghreb, gaining increasing importance in the region. The leader’s son succeeded him in 1130. He further developed the city in terms of water supply, cultivation and construction, strengthening the capital. However, it was in 1147 that the Almohad dynasty attacked Marrakech. Led first by Ibn Toumert and then by his son Abd al-Moumin ben Ali, these religious fanatics killed a large part of the city’s population and then took total control of it.
The Almohad takeover of the Vill:
Ben Ali, also known as “the builder” and representing the new emir of the Almohad dynasty, developed Marrakech by building various places of worship, such as the Koutoubia in 1157 and the Menara garden. His son, Abou Yacoub Youssef, took over from him, developing the city even further: creation of the Kasbah mosque, new palaces and religious buildings, as well as city walls to protect the city and public gardens to make it more attractive. In addition, he placed great emphasis on developing commerce, making the city more captivating for newcomers, but also more dynamic for existing residents.
A Period Declipse:
Abu Yacoub Youssef died in 1199. His son, Mohammed en-Nacir, took over the town. Being a Christian, he decided to settle in Fés and set aside Marrakech, much to his dismay. The city was thus put on hold for many decades, putting Marrakech into a deep sleep for over 250 years.
A short recovery during the Saadian reign:
After 250 years of slumber, the Saadian Ahmed Aredj took over Marrakech and renamed it the capital of Morocco. It was a brief renaissance for the “red city”, which began the conquest of trade with total control of the Niger River and Morocco. It was thanks to the Sudanese gold trade that he became wealthy. However, it was after his death that Marrakech was once again neglected.
Resurrection through Tourism:
In the 20th century, under French colonial rule, Marrakech lost its capital status completely in 1912, giving it to the city of Rabat. However, Marrakech retained its settlements and heritage. The appearance of the old capital strongly inspired the construction of the new town of Gueliz, demonstrating the importance and influence of Marrakech despite its loss of status. The city is home to more over a million people now. Marrakech is considered Morocco’s 4th-largest city, and tourism is booming. Indeed, the city’s main source of income is the tourism sector, which generates enormous economic benefits for the country. Tourists generally come to visit the palaces, famous gardens and magnificent villas, atypical riads and exotic tours.