Marrakesh is the fourth largest city in the Kingdom of Morocco and capital of Marrakesh-Safi. Chieftain and cousin of Almoravid King Yusuf ibn Tashfin, Abu Bakr ibn Umar, founded it in 1062 even though the region was inhabited since Neolithic times by Berber farmers. It was one of the major religious, cultural and trading centre.
In present time Marrakesh is one of the busiest cities in Africa and one of the important destinations for tourists. It is a major economic centre too.
The city is served by the Marrakesh railway station connecting all the major cities including Casablanca, Fez, Tangiers, Rabat and Meknes. High-speed rail system and a tramway is in planning period.
The city is also connected to other areas with good road network. Casablanca is 210 km away from Marrakesh via road and Settat is just 146 km. It is connected with Agadir with a road of 233 km length and Tangiers by 558 km.
Menara International Airport serves with daily flights to other major cities of Morocco and frequent planes to European destinations. It is at an elevation of 471 metres with two formal passenger terminals. It has a capacity of 4.5 million passengers a year.
Sights to see in Marrakesh
Djemaa el-Fna is the main square in Marrakesh and the best thing to watch here is the non-stop street theatre called halqa.
At around 1050 AD the site was for public executions and hence the name means ‘assembly of the dead.’
In 2001 UNESCO declared the square as ‘Masterpiece of World Heritage’.
Jardin Majorelle is an electric-blue villa and is open for public. It was a gift by Yves Saint Laurent to Marrakesh. It has some 600 artefacts on display to showcase the rich panorama of the country’s indigenous inhabitants. The collection includes leather, wood, metalwork, musical instruments, textiles and religious trappings.
Saadian Tombs is near to the Kasbah Mosque. It is a mausoleum comprising sixty members of the Saadi Dynasty. It has three rooms and one of those have twelve columns. It is made of Italian Carrara marble.
Bahia Palace is a 2-acre garden with rooms opening onto courtyards. It was built in late 19th century by Si Moussa, grand vizier of the sultan, and was the greatest palace then.
It is well said in Morocco that Rabat is the political capital while the economic capital and intellectual capital is Casablanca and Fez respectively, but Marrakesh is the cultural and tourist capital of the country