Marrakesh

Founded in 1070 as the imperial capital of the Almoravid Empire, Marrakesh is one of Morocco’s four imperial cities. The walls of the city, constructed in red sandstone around 1122-1123, give the city the nickname of “the Red city” or “Ochre city.” The city was surpassed by Fez in the 13th – 16th century, but became the capital of the kingdom and regained prominence in the 16th century, under the wealthy Saadian sultans who built many sumptous palaces and restored many other monuments. In the 17th century, the city became popular among Sufi pilgrims for its seven patron saints who are entombed here. The French established a protectorate in 1912, which remained until Morocco became a monarchy again in 1952.

Marrakesh is famous for its colorful souks, Moorish architecture, intimate gardens, boutique hotels and mouth-watering cuisine. The central medina quarter is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city also has several other architectural jewels including the Bandia Palace, the Ben Youssef Madrasa, the Saadian tombs, the Majorelle Garden in New Town, which was once owned by the famous French designer Yves Saint Laurent, and the Place Jamaa El Fna, an open air plaza that is typically buzzing with activity.


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