Marrakech(redirected from Marrakesh, Morocco)
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Marrakesh(both: märä`kĕsh, mə–), city (1994 pop. 672,478), W central Morocco. The city, renowned for leather goods, is one of the principal commercial centers of Morocco and a major tourist center. It was founded (1062) by the Almoravid leader Yusuf ibn Tashfin and was the capital of Morocco from then until 1147 and again from 1550 to 1660. It was captured by the French in 1912.
Beautifully situated near the Atlas Mts., Marrakech has extensive gardens, ruins of a 16th-century palace, a former palace of the sultan that is now a museum of Moroccan art, and a royal necropolis (16th–18th cent.). The 253-ft (77-m) minaret (completed 1195) of the Koutoubia mosque dominates the city. The Université Ben Youssef, a center of Islamic studies, and a public university are in Marrakech.
(also Marrakesh), a city in southwestern Morocco at the foot of the Grand Atlas; administrative center of the province of Marrakech. Population, 332,700 (1971). The principal economic center of southern Morocco, Marrakech has a railroad station and is a highway junction. It has food (fruit and vegetable canning, meat packaging, flour milling, vegetable oil extraction), chemical (plastics factory), textile, garment, and wood-products industries. Cottage industries include leather dressing and the manufacture of rugs and Morocco leather.
Marrakech was founded by the Almoravides circa 1070 (according to other sources, 1060 or 1062). In European literature the name “Marrakech” (Marrakush, Morocco) was later used to designate the entire country. In the middle of the 12th century, Marrakech was an important trading center. Under the Almoravides, Almohads, and the Saadian sherifs (1554-1659), Marrakech was the capital of Morocco. During the feudalistic civil war, it was the residence of the country’s southern rulers. With the establishment of the French protectorate over Morocco in 1912, Marrakech’s political importance declined somewhat. After the proclamation of Morocco’s independence in 1956, the city became the administrative center of Marrakech Province.
The old city, the medina, has an irregular layout, with a labyrinth of winding streets and numerous architectural monuments. The domed, brick Koubba al-Baroudiyin Pavilion (11th-12th centuries) is decorated with carved stucco and has six arches. The 17-aisled Kutubiyyah Mosque (concrete, stone, and brick; 1153) has domes with stalactite squinches and paneled ceilings, as well as a minaret (stone, 1184-99). Other structures in the medina are 16th-century religious complexes, the Ben Yusuf-madrasah with eight courtyards (1565), and the Bahia Palace (1894-1900). To the south of the medina is the Casbah with the Bab-Aquenau gateway (12th century, carved stone decoration), a mosque (1197, with 14th-, 15th-, and 16th-century additions), a cemetery (late 16th-century tombs), a 16th-century palace, and a 19th-century palace.
The modern city, which was founded in 1913, is located west of the medina and has a regular layout. To the east of the old city there is a district of hotels, villas, and a casino with palm groves and ponds. The Museum of Moroccan Art is in the Dar si Said Palace (late 19th century). There is a museum of gems and ceramics and a faculty of the University of Qarawin in Marrakech.