Marrakech
© LOC

History

The origins of the name Marrakech remain a mystery, disputed for centuries. Regardless, Marrakech gave its name to the whole country of Morocco in all its many versions: Morocco, Maroc, Morokko and Marruecos. All these names came from the Latin word ’Marroch’, which derives from the medieval name for Marrakech.

In 1064, the Almoravides made Marrakech the capital of an empire that covered most of the Maghreb (north-west Africa) and extended well into Europe. With the Almoravides, Marrakech became a bastian of Islamic civilisation and an intellectual centre where the most famous scholars and philosophers of the age converged. The power of the Almoravides also made Marrakech into a great commercial centre.

Wealth flowed into the city, further transforming its architecture. Almohade armies stormed the gates of Marrakech on 23 March 1147, conquering the Almoravide capital. The Almohades under Abdal Mou’min, continued their conquest of north Africa, extending their empire through Algeria and Tunisia and moving across the Mediterranean to capture Seville, Cordoba and Granada.

When the Merinids captured the city in 1269 and re-established Fez as the capital, Marrakech went into a period of decline. The fortunes of Marrakech revived under the Saadian dynasty.

When the Saadians gained control of Morocco, their leader, Mohammed Al Mahdi, made Marrakech his capital in 1551. He began to restore the city and built the Al Badii Palace, considered one of the most spectacular architectural achievements of the city.  Marrakech also became known as a magnet for some of the greatest figures of the country’s history, many of whom are buried within the city.

Today, thanks to its wonderfully preserved Medina (old town), its unique climate resulting from the convergence of desert, mountain and Atlantic influences, its numerous beautiful gardens, its famous luxurious hotels and resorts, and its magic nightlife, Marrakech is one of the most extraordinary tourist destinations in the world.

Since Winston Churchill discovered the city in the 1930s and called it, in one of his letters, ‘’the most beautiful spot in the world”, Marrakech has never stopped attracting the famous and popular personalities.

This trend has strongly increased in the last five years, as many of them bought or have built beautiful houses and villas in the Medina or in the surrounding ‘palmeraie’ (palm forests). Thanks to all these assets and the continuous development of new hotels and resorts, Marrakech is one of the fastest growing tourist destinations in the world.

The Pearl of the South
The moment a tourist sets foot in Marrakech, they will be awestruck by the contrast in colours – the ochre of its adobe city walls, and its bougainvillea-covered exteriors, from behind which great bouquets of palm trees and lush greenery burst forth. A magnificent array of architecture set against the snow-capped peaks of the High Atlas Mountains, beneath a brilliant blue sky that reveals the city’s true nature – a luxuriant, sun-soaked oasis, heady with the scent of the jasmine and orange blossom that adorn its gardens.

Within its adobe walls, in the sun-streaked shade, the medina’s teeming streets are alive with activity. A hubbub of voices calling back and forth, vibrant colours, the air filled with the fragrance of cedar wood and countless spices. Sounds, colours and smells unite gloriously to compose an astonishing sensorial symphony.

Marrakech, a city of legend, a cultural capital, an inspirer of artists, fashions and events; Marrakech with its art galleries, festivals, and exhibitions; Marrakech with its famous names, its luxurious palaces and its glittering nightlife.

Marrakech, a tourist seducer for over a hundred years, cunningly blends the treasures of its age-old heritage with the vibrant energy of living cultures. Yes, Marrakech is an unforgettable experience. New discoveries await you every time you return – and many have returned never to leave.

Football highlights
Kawkab Athletics Club of Marrakech (KACM) has always been one of the leading Moroccan clubs. KACM won two national championships (1958 and 1992) and six Throne Cups, including an unmatched series of three successive victories in the tournament (1963, 1964 and 1965). At continental level, KACM won the CAF CUP in 1996.