Marrakech is not only a fantastic city, it is also a symbol of the Morocco that once was, and which still survives here. The streets of the old and pink city have been too narrow to allow the introduction of cars, and tourists searching for the "real"Morocco have turned the medieval structures of Marrakech into good business.
The famous town square of Marrakech, Jemaa l-Fna, owes little of its fame to its own beauty, but to the continuous day and night life. During most of the days, performers of every kind put up their shows, continuing until the food stalls start to move in.
Set slightly out of town, the Menara gardens offers not only a pleasant escape from roaming Marrakech, it also has one of the most photographed settings of Morocco.
MUSEUMSDarSi Said Museum
In one of Morocco's most beautiful cities stands sumptuous palace housing the very quintessence of Moroccan art.On the ground floor you can find clothes, objects in beaten copper, arms and Berber jeweler. Splendors from the past, Not at all, for many of the objects on display are still used and worn in mountain areas. The first floor salon impresses with its Hispano Moorish decoration and elegant furniture in cedar wood.
Majorelle Garden and Museum of Islamic Art
In the 1920s the French artist Jacques Majorelle had it made complete withpools, banana trees, coconut palms, and houses in a fantastic dark blue colour. The gardens have later been taken well care of the French couturier Yves Saint-Luarent, who has added a private museum of North African artifacts and a collection of Islamic art.
The gardens serve as a museum, and are open to the public for a normal entrance fee.
Bert Flint Museum
Displayed in the municipal theatre, this collection of costumes, jewelry, arms, musical instruments, carpets and furniture was assembled by Bert Flint, a Dutch art historian.
It is a charming little museum of art and popular traditions from the Souss valley and the Saharan region. It should be noted that another section of the museum is situated in Agadir.
From the "Square of the Dead"DJemaa El-Fna Square, one can already see the city's landmark, the minaret of the venerable Koutoubia Mosque. It was named after the souk el koutoubiyyin, the bazaar of the book-traders, which is nearby. It might well be noted that this market originated in the 12th century, a long period during which a Christian European would have been hard-pressed to write the word book. The hall-type mosque has 17 aisles and 112 columns covering a total floor area of 5400 sq.m (58,000 sq. ft) and is thus among the largest of its kind - 25,000 faithful can say their prayers within it. At the end of the prayer hall is an ornately carved minbar (pulpit), which is supposed to be a remnant of theAlmoravid mosque
destroyed by the Almohad builders of the present edifice. The pulpit is said to have come fromCordoba; its donor is believed to have been the Almoravid sultan Ali ben Youssef (1107-1143).
The square minaret, which wasn't completed until the reign of Yacoub el Mansour (1184-1199), was the direct model for the Giralda in Sevilla and the Hassan Tower in Rabat. It is considered the ultimate structure of its kind. The tower is 69 m (221 ft) in height, its lateral length 12, 8 m (41 ft). Six rooms one above the other, constitute the interior; leading around them is a ramp, by way of which the muezzin could ride up to the balcony. The tower is adorned with four copper globes. According to legend, they were originally made of pure gold, and there were once supposed to have been only three. The fourth was donated by the wife of Yacoub el Mansour as compensation for her failure to keep the fast for one day during the month of Ramadan. She had her golden jewelry melted down, to fashion the fourth globe.
Marrakesh was founded by the Berber leader, Youssef BEN TACHFINE who came from the desert with his tribe, Sanhaja. "Al moravides", Tachfin's fellows' main aim was to introduce Islam to the region. According to the historian and author of Roudh Al Qirats, Youssef BEN TACHAFIN was one of the greatest and most vertuous kings that had ever ruled the country at that time.
BEN TACHAFIN didn't have any idea about how theMaghreb
or Andalousia may look like; he gaveMarrakesh a Saharian aspect which was inspired from the region he was born in. His first edifices were a glorious mosque, his mother's residence and Dar El Hajar Casbah. But he continued to lead a nomade like life.
The city grew quickly with the coming of Youssef BEN TACHAFIN'S son who added more to the city and developed its architecture. Youssef BEN TACHFIN'S mosque and some other historical monument's ruins tell a lot about the wild beauty of Almoravides architecture.
Marrakesh, capital city of a huge empire that went from la Castille toSudan, was deeply influenced by Andalousian culture and art. El Mouatamid, Poet and king of Seville, wrote his most beautiful poems inMarrakesh when he was exiled in it. When the famous poet Hafsa Ben EL HAJ left Spain and came to Marrakesh with King Yacoub EL MANSOUR, she met many brilliant poets and artists.
Marrakesh was lucky enough to serve as a capital city for numerous Moroccan dynasties, namely Almoravides, Almohades and Saadians whose contributions to the city can still be seen in the medina, the old part of the city.Taken from: