Founded during the 11th century, the Medina of Marrakech stretches on more than 600 hectares. The Medina is the historical town centre of Marrakech, and is one of the most typicalfeatures of the Red City. Its originality comes directly from the fact that it was built on a site completely devoid of human settlements. The architects of the city could therefore rely on all the necessary space needed to build houses and infrastructure of exceptional size. A building philosophy that lasted centuries and that mainly explains the fact that the Medina of Marrakech now stretches on more than 600 hectares (1 482,63 acres), making it the biggest in Morocco.
A City built on a strategic site
In the middle of the century, the Almoravides dynasty was a rising regional power. These warriors from the South (Sahara region close to Mauritania) felt the need to establish a Capital in order to manage and defend their ever increasing empire. Located close to the Atlas Mountains, and its communication roads towards the South, the Haouz plain looked like the perfect spot the erect at first a defensive camp and later a flourishing city.
Originally, the Medina was just a military camp and a market. The founders of the City quickly felt the need to establish symbols of law and order. After erecting some earth walls, they had a vast mosque built with all the necessary services surrounding it. Some of the original architectural features can still be seen around the Ben Youssef mosque and it's Mederssa in the middle of the Medina, and specifically in the Qoubba almohavides. During the 12th century, the city was extended South East with the construction of the military and administrative quarter of the Kasbah. During this period, the City walls were extended and fortified in order to defend Marrakech against the attacks of Berber mountain tribes.
Situation Géographique : à 3 km du centre ville
Code OACI : GMMX Code IATA : RAQ
Orientation : 10/28
Longueur : 3 100m
Largeur : 45m
Reçoit le : B747
Equipements : Catégorie II Radio Aids : DME - VOR - NDB
Parking avions :
Superficie : 125 000m²
Capacité : 14 B737 + 4 B747
Installations terminales : Aérogares ( 1 et 2 ) :
Superficie : 22 000m²
Capacité : 2 500 000 passagers/an
A forteresses of 19 km
After centuries of extension, the Medina found its current layout during the 19th century. It is defended by a 19 km long wall whose height varies from 8 to 10 meters and that comprises more than 200 defensive towers. Entirely built with red earth, these walls gave Marrakech its surname: “the red city”.
While doing a tour of the walls, one can only be attracted towards the remarkable features of some of the city gates, that for some date back to the 12th century. The gates of Babe r Robb and Bab Agnaou, both built by the Almohads, are a splendid legacy of the defensive architecture of that period.
A striving city
Nowadays, the Medina remains an important residential and commercial area of Marrakech. It has the highest population density of the city and is still an important production centre for handicrafts where more than 40 000 craftsmen work and sell there goods in the world famous suuqs.
Although this quarter has not yet lost it soul, it is currently experiencing an important sociological mutation of its inhabitants. The rich Moroccans have left the popular quarters decades ago, in favour of the suburb that are considered more comfortable, and the current craze for the riads – the traditional Moroccan houses – is driving the less wealthy to sell their home to foreigners seeking a taste of oriental “art de vivre”.