A thousand year old city, Marrakech has lived through a line of
five dynasties that have strongly influenced its destiny. In the year 602, the Almoravids founded
the city of Marrakech. Their biggest gift was to have brought water to the city, thanks to a
genial system of spring catchment wells and piping networks. We can also thank them for the
palm groves, gardens, vegetable gardens and the development and splendour of Marrakech which
was later to become the capital of Morocco.
In the 12th century, the Almohads took control of the city. They contributed to improving the
irrigation systems, widened the city’s walls and created the first hospital in the city, which
housed the scholar Avveroè. They also gave us the beautiful Koutoubia mosque among various monuments.
After this great period, the Marinids conquered the South of Morocco and took possession of Marrakech
(1269) which lost its role as capital to the city of Fez.
In 1554 with the arrival of the Saadians from Souss, Marrakech once again became capital of Morocco.
A new era began, culminating with the reign of El Mansour, known as El Dehbi, “the Golden one”,
thanks to his amazing riches gained from the gold of Sudan. He went on to build the grand and luxurious
El Badi Palace, a replica of the Alhambra, he embellished the city, building mosques, fountains,
Madrasah (Muslim Universities) and he created a magnificent necropolis where the most important members
of his dynasty are buried: the Saadian Tombs.
In the 19th century, under the Alaouite dynasty, Moulay Slimane rebuilt the Ben Youssef Mosque and
created the Menara Gardens. Moulay Hassan and his son Moulay Abdelaziz built magnificent palaces:
Daar Si Saâd and the Bahia Palace.
After the construction of the new city, Gueliz in 1924 and Mamounia in 1923, Marrakech began to fascinate
artists, authors and members of the world’s aristocracy. In 1931, the painter Jacques Majorelle created
his famous garden in Marrakech. In 1935, Winston Churchill regularly stayed in Marrakech to paint and
talks of his “beloved Marrakech” in his memoirs. Many celebrities bewitched by Marrakech have contributed
to the city’s international fame.