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Marrakesh a Little History

Nov 24, 2007
The name 'Marrakesh' itself is the source of debate with a number of different theories being proffered. The most common conjecture is that the name derives from the Berber for 'sons of kutch' or 'land of kutch'; an argument that finds support in the bible with it's denotation of a land of 'Kutch', one of the sons of Shem son of Noah, who in Judeo-Christian tradition inhabited the area of northern Africa. Others claim that rather than coming from Berber, Marrakesh comes from Masmooda and has a meaning of 'don't linger', a throw back to the time before the city when a highway ran through the area on which travelers were often subject to attack by marauders.

Where ever the name itself came from, we know that it determined the name given to the whole area: It is from Marrakesh that the name Morocco was derived; a name already established 800 years ago as illustrated by a letter sent by Pope Innocent III to Rex Marochetanus 'king of Maroch'. The beginning of the second millennia was a time of birth and growth for Marrakesh. Under Almoravid reign in the 11th century Marrakesh, the 'Red City', became the capital of the area and one of the most developed and advanced cities in the world. It was the Almoravid dynasty that established Islam as the religion of the city, and fortified the city against the infidel many of these fortifications can still be seen today, for example the gateways of Bab Doukkala and Bab Ailen.

Marrakesh's golden age did not disappear with the Almoravids but rather continued and grew under their usurpers, the Almohads, under whom Marrakesh became not only a developed city in terms of hygiene and architecture but also in terms of education, science and religion, with great schools being established which would attract the greatest minds from across the civilized world, Spain to Babylon. The Minaret of the Mosque of the Bookshops, or Koutaoubia, still stands today as testimony to this great time of prosperity and growth, standing at 226 ft it towered over the Almohad city as it does the modern city, untouched by the devastation that occurred between the two periods.

When the Merinids finally captured Marrakesh in 1269, the city for the first time in over 200 years fell out of favor as the star of the civilized world's eye. The Merinids already had a capital, and so Marrakesh became neglected and eventually abandoned by anyone with power or money. This remained the state more or less until the 16th century when Marrakesh had new life breathed into it when Saadians conquered Morocco and in its last stages Marrakesh. Under Ahmed El Mansour a building project the type of which Marrakesh hadn't seen in centuries was undertaken, and the palace of El Bedi was built amongst other monumental structures, once again returning Marakesh to it's previous position of international fame and interest. The palace has remained as impressive today as it was then, and is the modern venue for the National Festival of Folklore.

The 17th century bought Alaouite rule over Morocco whom with the growth of the Turkish empire were able to retain its independence, that was until 1913 when it fell under French control who retained it until 1956 when it once again gained it's independence. Today it is a vibrant city with hotel accommodation and hostels for all budgets, attractions for all interests, and cuisine for all tastes.

Marrakesh's history is incredibly rich, an oasis in the sands, a site to see.
About the Author
Gaizka Pujana is the owner and manager of Get Ready Rentals. The short term holiday accommodation specialists worldwide.appartementen marrakesh
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