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Marrakech Red City

Marrakesh is one of the main cities in Morocco, and it is the fourth largest city in the country, after Casablanca, Rabat, and Fez. It is the capital of the central-southwest Marrakesh-Safi region. Marrakesh is located north of the plains of the Atlas Mountains, 580 km southwest of Tangier, 327 km southwest of the Moroccan capital Rabat, 239 south of Casablanca, and 246 northeast of Agadir.

marrakech morocco

Marrakesh may be the fourth most important of the former imperial cities in Morocco (the cities that were built during the era of the Moroccan Berber empires). Since the Neolithic period, the region has been inhabited by Berber farmers, but the city was actually founded in 1062 by Abu Bakr ibn Umar, the leader of a tribe and cousin of the Almoravid king Youssef ibn Tashfin. In the 12th century, the Almoravids built many madrasas (kitatib) and mosques in Marrakesh, which carried the Andalusian style. The red city walls, which were built by Ali ibn Yusuf in 1122-11123, and the various buildings built of red sand bricks in that period, gave the city the name “The Red City”.

Marrakesh quickly grew into a cultural, religious, and commercial center in Morocco and sub-Saharan Africa.

The city includes Menara International Airport and the Marrakesh railway station, which connects the city with Casablanca and northern Morocco. Marrakesh also includes many universities and schools, including the University of Sidi Ayyad. A number of football clubs are located in the city, including Najm Marrakech, Marrakech Football Club, Kawkab KCM Marrakech, and Olympique Marrakech.

The Name origins of Marrakesh

marrakech red city in arabic

There is no confirmed text about the origin of the name Marrakesh by this name, but there are only some conflicting popular accounts, some attribute it to (Mr + Kesh) meaning he passed and left quickly, and some attribute it to (Aksh) and say that it is the name of an ancient god (there is no evidence of the existence of a god or a temple In the name of Akash in the region) and some say that its origin is (Marraks), which may mean pranks or doom because it is from the action of Arks as it came in the Holy Qur’an {And God has repaid them for what they earned} in addition to many other narrations, but there is no confirmed narration from them

Marrakesh was described as the red city, spacious all over, united between heat, shade, snow, and palms, the capital of the Almoravid, Almohad, and Saadian states. The square is rectangular in area, many mosques, great scenes, combining the sweetness of the water, the mildness of the air, the goodness of the soil, the good fruits, the vastness of the plowing, and the greatness of its blessings.

Marrakech History

Historical sources identified the construction of the first nucleus of Marrakesh in 1070 AD by the Almoravids, where it was founded by the Almoravid Sultan Youssef bin Tashfin, who developed it and made it the capital of his kingdom to become the political and cultural center of the Islamic West.
After the matter was established for the Almohads after they entered the city in the year 1147 AD, they took it as the capital of their rule. They completed several historical landmarks that still constitute the pride of their era, such as the Koutoubia hermitage with its two mosques, walls, doors, and gardens, in addition to an arch on the Tensift Valley that was used until recently. Thus, under the rule of the Almohads, Marrakesh experienced a great influence that made it a cultural, economic, and political center unparalleled in the Islamic West.

Marrakesh and the El Badi Palace, 1640.
In the face of the weakness of the Almohads, the Marinids coming from the east in 1269 AD took over the city, but they took Fez as their capital due to the latter’s proximity to their original homeland, which led to the decline of the city of Marrakesh and its transformation into a secondary center. In the year 1551 AD, the city regained its position as the capital of the Saadians (1589 AD – 1659 AD). During their reign, new buildings and facilities were built, the most important of which are the Badi Palace, the Mouassine Complex, the Ibn Yusuf School, the Saadian tombs, and a number of water facilities.

Under the rule of the Alawites, Moulay Rachid restored the Bensalah al-Marini Mosque, but his successor, Moulay Ismail, gave all his attention to his new capital, Meknes. Sultan Sidi Mohamed worked to restore Marrakesh to its status by creating new neighborhoods and landmarks. It can be said that Marrakesh took its final form starting from the period of the rule of this sultan, as the next stages were limited to the restoration of everything that had been accomplished since the Middle Ages.


Marrakesh is located 327 km southwest of Rabat, 580 km southwest of Tangier, 239 km southwest of Casablanca, 196 km southwest of Beni Mellal, 177 km east of Essaouira, and 153 km northeast of Agadir.

Menara Gardens Marrakech Morkosh Tous
Menara Gardens with the snow-capped Atlas Mountains

The Ourika River is located 30 km south of Marrakesh, and the snow-capped Jabal Yagour can be seen south of the city.

The American adventurer David Prescott Barrows had described Marrakesh as “the strangest city” when he was explaining its nature. He said the city is located about 15 or 20 miles away from the edge of the Atlas Mountains, which appears from here at its greatest height and where the mountain scenery is wonderful. Through the clear desert air, the eye can feel the rugged features of the range from the north and east, where the winter snow covers it with white and the turquoise sky frames gray rocks and shining peaks of unparalleled beauty

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