Marrakesh is the forth largest city located in the Southern section of Morocco. The city had a population that was estimated to be around 1 million and 800,000 people in the statistics carried out in 2004 and they are divided among the several districts of the city. Marrakesh was one of the richest imperial cities in the history of Morocco. The city welcomes a large number of tourists coming to spend their vacations in Morocco
Marrakesh is widely known as the "red Marrakesh". This is due to the fact that most of its buildings and structures are coated with the red color. The monuments and ancient structures of the red city amaze tourists who go on Morocco private tours and different packages to Morocco.
The same as many other cities in Morocco, like Rabat or Casablanca, Marrakesh has an ancient town where the history can be viewed in the several mosques and different monuments explored by hundreds of travelers going on Morocco tours and a modern city where most of the population is living in the 21st century
Marrakesh, one of the old capitals of Morocco, is the one of the largest cities in the kingdom after Rabat and Casablanca. The city is located in the middle of Morocco in the region of the tropical plains to the South of Casablanca at the end of the railway rout coming from Rabat and passing through many other regions of the country.
The history of Marrakesh starts with the establishment of Almoravids dynasty between 1056 and 1060 AD. The wide lands to the South of Um Al Rabie' Valley had no administrational organization or urban centers except for some ancient oasis and this region overall at the time was called the Sous.
When Abu Bakr Ibn Omar, who ruled over the Almoravids dynasty starting from the year, 1056 walked through the Tensift Valley and settled there, he found out that his properties are not protect and that most of his lands are not fortified in this region.
The Almoravids leader decided that he needed to establish a military base to protect his kingdom against the attacks of the Berbers coming from the North and from the East. This was how the idea of establishing Marrakesh begun and now the city because of its ancient history and many monuments is being visit by many guests who enjoy their holidays in Morocco
This is besides the fact that one of the Zenata tribe was in control of Fes and the Sebo River.
Almoravids were able to end the rule of the Zenata tribes in Sijilmasa, a medieval trade transit point city at the northern edge of the Desert in Morocco. Almoravids were even able to go further towards other towns in Morocco and the battle between the two parties was definitely taking place soon and Almoravids with Abu Bakr Ibn Omar as the king had to have a military center in the region. These are the reasons why the king thought he should found Marrakesh, a city that became a major attraction for tourists who travel to Morocco every year
The name Marrakesh means the stone walls, the stones city, or the fortified base. Ibn Omar chose the location of his new city or base to be at the South of the Northern slopes of the Atlas Mountains in a plain where the Tensift River runs.
This location at the time contained the houses of two tribes; Oricka and Helena. Both tribes had a fortified building that was used as a resort for the inhabitants of the tribe, residence for the women and children, and storage for sheep and weapons.
The two tribes struggled among each other as both of them wanted the new city to be established on their lands. At the end, the new city was founded on a piece of land that was near their lands.
Abu Bakr Ibn Omar has started building Marrakesh in 1060 AD and the establishment and construction work of the city was finished by his inheritor Yusuf Ibn Tashfin.
Since Marrakesh was located in a desert depression, Yusuf Ibn Tashfin has dug many water wells in the city and provided the people with fresh water. There was only one small mountain situated near Marrakesh and Yusuf Ibn Tashfin used its rocks to build the city that was mainly made out of mud bricks.
Just after the foundation of Marrakesh, the city turned into an urban civilization center in southern Morocco. The city had a great political and social impact on the inhabitants living in the Tensift Valley.
The city of Marrakesh has witnessed great developments during the reign of the Almoravids dynasty in Morocco. The kings and rulers of the Almoravids have built many mosque and several markets to serve the increasing population of the city.
Marrakesh, during the period of Almoravids, used to get fresh water through underground pipes that were dug by Arabs coming from Andalusia and this was considered to be a great achievement at the time. In fact, Marrakesh has depended on these water pipes for several centuries afterwards.
Marrakesh remained as important city and a military base for the Almoravids rulers until the city was besieged by Almohad armies, under the leadership of Abdel Moe'men Ibn Ali in 1147 AD. The Almohad leader settled in the "Icklize" mountain where he erected a mosque with a towering minaret to supervise the whole city from high above.
Since Abdel Moe'men was a clever military leader, he organized ambushes consisting of many of his soldiers in the location he settled near the "Icklize" mountains, and in the same time sent some of his military forces to attack Marrakesh. When Almoravids army went out of the city to fight Almohad forces, the later pretended that they were easily defeated. Then suddenly, the ambushes of Almohad, containing many soldiers and heavy weapons, attacked the Almoravids army achieving a great victory and forcing them to retreat back to Marrakesh which nowadays witnesses the visits of a large number of people from all over the world who come to spend marvelous trips in Morocco.
Almohad armies immediately went and implemented a total blockade over Marrakesh and finally the officers, kings, and soldiers of Almoravids surrendered and they were taken to the "Icklize" where they were executed. This event was a turning point in the history of Marrakesh and a new dynasty was now in control of the city and the rulers of this dynasty have erected many monuments that are now visited by the guests of the city as part of their trip to Morocco
Marrakesh has remained as the capital of the Almohad dynasty until the times of Al Watheq Bellah Idris and he had a pact with the Marinids to be the new Caliph in return, he would give them the chance to take control over the city of Marrakesh.
Al Watheq, however, was rapacious so he took advantage of the condition that the walls and fortifications of Marrakesh had no soldiers and he attacked the city causing Omar Al Mortada, the 12th king of the Almohad dynasty who ruled over Marrakesh for more than twenty years to escape to Azamor, a city situated 75 kilometers to the South west of Casablanca, where he was killed in 1267 and Al Watheq took control of Marrakesh breaking his pact with the Marinids.
This made Abu Yusuf Al Yaqub, the founder of the Marinids dynasty attack Marrakesh in 1270 and he was able to murder Al Watheq and take over the city.
Since the Marinids chose Fes as their seat of government, the importance of Marrakesh started decreasing in the region and its impact over the people starting being less as well.
Most of the tours to Morocco would include a two days visit to Marrakesh to enable the tourists to admire its marvelous monuments. Morocco travel tours have become very popular among Europeans and Americans during the past few years and the number of tourists spending their vacation in Morocco has greatly increased.