A city with a thousand years of history behind it
Marrakech has seen five dynasties come and go, each one leaving their indelible mark on its destiny. It was founded in 1062 by the Almoravids, whose greatest legacy was to bring water to the city, harnessing spring waters through an ingenious system of wells and piping networks. We owe them the city’s Palmeraie, its gardens and orchards, and the many other amenities that led to its development and influence. Under their rule, Marrakech became the capital of Morocco.
The Almohads took over the reins in the 12th century, improving irrigation systems, enlarging the city walls, creating the town’s first hospital – presided over by the great scholar and scientist Averroes – and, among other monuments, leaving us with the magnificent Koutoubia.
Following this great period in the city’s history, the Merinids conquered the Moroccan south in 1269, turning their backs on Marrakech and making Fez their capital.
When the Saadians from the Souss region came to power in 1554, the city regained its former status as capital of Morocco. A new era began, reaching its peak during the reign of Ahmed El Mansour; Known as El Dahbi, « the golden » because of the fabulous wealth he amassed in Sudanese gold. He had the vast and luxurious El Badi Palace built, a replica of the Alhambra, adorned the city with mosques, fountains, and medersas (Koranic universities), and commissioned a magnificent necropolis in which the leading members of his dynasty were to be buried – the Saadian Tombs.