Coordinates: 31°38′N 8°0′W / 31.633°N 8°W / 31.633; -8


مراكش Murrākuš
The City of Marrakech

Coat of arms
Marrakech is located in Morocco
Location in Morocco
Coordinates: 31°37′48″N 8°0′32″W / 31.63°N 8.00889°W / 31.63; -8.00889
Country Flag of Morocco.svg Morocco
Region Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz
Province Marrakech Province
Founded in 1062 C.E.
Founder Yusef ibn Tashfin
 - Mayor Fatima Zahra Mansouri
Population (2010)
 - Total 1,070,000

Marrakech or Marrakesh (Berber: ⵎⵕⵕⴰⴽⵛ Mərrakəš or Murakuc, Arabic: مراكشMurrākuš, local pronunciation: Mərrakəš), known as the "Ochre city", is the most important former imperial city in Morocco's history. The city of Marrakesh is the capital of the mid-southwestern economic region of Marrakech-Tensift-Al Haouz, near the foothills of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains, being also the 2nd largest city in Morocco.

Like many North African cities, the city of Marrakech comprises both an old fortified city (the médina) and an adjacent modern city (called Gueliz) for a total population of 1,070,000.[1] It is served by Ménara International Airport (IATE code: RAK) and a rail link to Casablanca and the north.[1]

Marrakech has the largest traditional market (souk) in Morocco and also has one of the busiest squares in Africa and the world, Djemaa el Fna.[2] The square bustles with acrobats, story-tellers, water sellers, dancers and musicians. By night food stalls open in the square turning it into a huge busy open-air restaurant.



View of Marrakesh and El Badi Palace, by Adriaen Matham, 1640.

The city is spelled Marrakech in French, Marraquech in Spanish, Marrakesch in German and Marakeş in Turkish. In English, both the spelling Marrakech and Marrakesh are used. The probable origin of its name is from the Berber (Amazigh) words mur (n) akush (ⵎⵓⵔ ⵏ ⴰⴽⵓⵛ), which means "Land of God". (The word mur is used now in Berber mostly in the feminine form tamurt.) The same word "mur" appears in Mauretania, the North African kingdom of the Maghreb during antiquity, although the link remains controversial as this name might also originate from μαύρος mavros, the ancient Greek word for black.

Until a few decades ago, Morocco was widely known as "Kingdom of Marrakech" to Arabs, Persians and Europeans. The European names of Morocco (Marruecos, Marrocos, Maroc, Marokko, etc.) are directly derived from the Berber word Murakush, and in many South Asian languages the country is in fact still known as Marrakesh. Conversely, the city itself was in earlier times simply called Marocco (City) (or similar) by travellers from abroad. The name of the city and the country diverged after the Treaty of Fez placed Morocco under French influence, but the old interchangeable usage lasted widely until about the interregnum of Mohammed Ben Aarafa. The latter episode set in motion the country's return to independence, when Morocco officially became al-Mamlaka al-Maġribiyya (المملكة المغربية) ("The Western Kingdom"), its name not referring to the city of Marrakesh any more.


The Koutoubia Mosque, built in the 12th century

Prior to the advent of the Almoravids in the 11th century, the area was ruled from the city of Aghmat. The Almoravid leader, Abu-Bakr Ibn-Umar decided Aghmat was becoming overcrowded and chose to build a new capital. He decided to build it in the plains near the Tensift River. He chose the site of Marrakech, because it was in neutral territory between two tribes who were vying for the honor of hosting the new capital.[citation needed] Work started in May 1070, but Abu-Bakr was recalled to the Sahara to put down a rebellion in January 1071 and the city was completed by his deputy and eventual successor Yusuf ibn Tashfin.[3] The city experienced its greatest period under the leadership of Yaqub al-Mansur, the third Almohad sultan. A number of poets and scholars entered the city during his reign and he began the construction of the Koutoubia Mosque and a new kasbah.

Prior to the reign of Moulay Ismail, Marrakech was the capital of Morocco. After his reign, his grandson moved the capital back to Marrakech from Meknès.

The ancient city walls known as Medina of Marrakech

For centuries Marrakech has been known for its "seven saints". When sufism was at the height of its popularity, during the reign of Moulay Ismail, the festival of the seven saints was founded by Abu Ali al-Hassan al-Yusi at the request of the sultan. The tombs of several renowned figures were moved to Marrakech to attract pilgrims in the same way Essaouira did at that time with its Regrega festivals. The seven saints (sebaatou rizjel) is now a firmly established institution, attracting visitors from everywhere. The seven saints include Sidi Bel Abbas (the patron saint of the city), Sidi Muhammad al-Jazuli, Sidi Abu al-Qasim Al-Suhayli, Cadi Ayyad ben Moussa, Abdelaziz al-Tebaa and Abdallah al-Ghazwani.

Marrakech was dominated in the first half of the 20th century by T'hami El Glaoui, "Lord of the Atlas", and Pasha of Marrakech. The poet of the city was Mohammed Ben Brahim and his favorite place was café Al-Masraf. The poems and songs of Ben Brahim are still known by heart by many Marrakshi.


Marrakech had an official population of 1,070,838 people in 2010.[1] There is a very large international community, consisting mainly of retired Europeans, estimated at 10,700 people.[citation needed]


Atlas Blue, a budget airline, until its absorption into Royal Air Maroc had its head office on the grounds of Marrakech-Menara Airport.[4] Other budget airlines that fly to and from Marrakech-Menara Airport include EasyJet and RyanAir. From 2010 British Airways announced that it has planned to run new services into Marrakech, providing an alternative to the low-cost airlines.

One of the food stalls that opens at night in the Djemaa el Fna square

Main sights

Sights nearby Marrakech include the valley of the Ourika River in the Atlas Mountains, the valley of the Draa River in the south, near the Sahara desert, the Waterfalls of Beni Mellal, and Essaouira on the Atlantic ocean, see "marrakech loisirs".

Panoramic picture of the Djemaa el Fna[5] square at sunset. Koutoubia Mosque appears on the extreme left. The souks are in the alleys behind the square


Marrakech is situated at the foot of the High Atlas, the highest mountainous barrier in North Africa. The desert borders it to the south, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Stretching over 700 km, the High Atlas chain features a series of peaks of which a dozen attain 4,000 metres. Snow can be found on hilltops all year long at altitudes as low as 600 metres above sea level.

To the south arise the stretches of steppes terrain that forewarn of the burning winds and the rigor of the Sahara. Beyond the 130,000 hectares of greenery and the 180,000 palm trees of its Palmeraie. Marrakech is an oasis of great and rich plant variety. Throughout the seasons, orange, fig, pomegranate and olive trees spew out their fragrances and display their marvelous colors and luscious fruits. The precious gardens of the city conceal numerous native plants or other species that have been imported in the course of the centuries: Giant bamboos, yuccas, papyrus, palm trees, banana trees, cypress, philodendrons, rosebushes, bougainvilleas, pines and various kinds of cactus plants. To this date, Marrakech is seen as a gateway from the West into the East, only 2–3 hours from mainland Europe.


Marrakech features a semi-arid climate, with mild wet winters and hot dry summers. Average temperatures range from 12 degrees Celsius in the winter to 23 degrees Celsius in the summer. The wet winter/dry summer precipitation pattern of Marrakech mirrors precipitation pattern found in Mediterranean climates. However the city receives less rain than is typically found in a Mediterranean Climate, hence the semiarid climate classification.

Climate data for Marrakech, Morocco (1961-1990)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 18.4
Average low °C (°F) 5.9
Precipitation mm (inches) 32.2
Source: Hong Kong Observatory[6]


Mechanic at work, Marrakech, 2009
  • Menara International Airport serves as the main airport for the city and receives flights from Europe and neighboring Arab countries.
  • A toll-paying motorway connects Marrakech with Casablanca and Agadir.
  • CTM coaches (intercity buses) and private lines run services to most notable Moroccan towns as well as a number of European cities, from the Gare Routière on Rue Bab Doukkala in downtown Marrakech.
  • Marrakech is the southern terminus of the ONCF, the Moroccan railway network, and Marrakech is well served by trains heading to Tangier, Rabat, Casablanca, and Fes. The Marrakech railway station is on Avenue Hassan II.
  • The ONCF-owned Supratours bus company serves towns not served by the train. The bus timetable coordinates with the train timetable and the bus terminal is right beside the station.

Notable residents

In popular culture

  • "Marrakech" is a song by ATB on the album No Silence.
  • "Marrakesh Express" is a song by Crosby, Stills and Nash on their first album.
  • Marrakech Express is a 1989 Italian film directed by Gabriele Salvatores.
  • Alfred Hitchcock filmed the opening scenes of The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) on location in Marrakech with Doris Day and James Stewart.
  • The book Hideous Kinky, as well as its movie adaptation, are for a large part situated in Marrakech in the early 1970s.
  • "Marrakech" is a title of a chapter, as well as the chapter's main setting, in James Michener's The Drifters.
  • "Going to Marrakech" is a song written by The Extra Glenns''s album Martial Arts Weekend.
  • "Marrakech" is a track from Hybrid's 2003 album Morning Sci-Fi.
  • "Marrakesh Night Market" is a song from the album The Mask and Mirror by Loreena McKennitt.
  • German hip hop band Ancient Astronauts released a song titled "Lost in Marrakesh" as part of their 2009 album We Are To Answer.[7]
  • The Venture Bros. episode "Mid-Life Chrysalis" begins with the team waylaid on their trip to Marrakesh where they are to fight an army of giant mutated lizards.
  • The Absolutely Fabulous episode "Morocco" takes place in Marrakech.
  • "Marrakesh" is a track from DJ Greyboy's 2001 album Mastered the Art.
  • Derren Brown transported a subject to Marrakesh without his knowledge or prior warning for episode 1 of the first series of his television show, Trick or Treat, which was broadcast in April 2007.
  • A map featuring Marrakech exists for the video game Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory.
  • "Marrakech" is a short essay written by George Orwell.
  • A scene from the movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was set in Marrakech.
  • In the William Gibson short story "New Rose Hotel" the narrator and Fox purchase "an old heroin lab that had been converted to the extraction of pheromones" for the purpose of providing a lab for Hiroshi in the old city of Marrakech, the Medina.
  • In a segment of The Simpsons episode "Treehouse Of Horror 2", Marrakech is where Homer buys a monkey's paw which grants wishes, based on The Monkey's Paw by W. W. Jacobs.
  • "Marrakesh" is a track by New Model Army from their 1990 album Impurity
  • "Die Stimmen von Marrakesch" ("The voices from Marrakech") is a novel by Elias Canetti in which he describes his experiences in Marrakesh. It won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1981.
  • It's the national destination of America's Next Top Model, Cycle 16.

Sister cities



  1. ^ a b c "Recensement Général De La Population Et De L'Habitat De 2010". Retrieved 2010-01-06. 
  2. ^ Ready for the masses? - Daily Telegraph
  3. ^ Ibn Idhari, Al-bayan al-mughrib Part III, annotated Spanish translation by A. Huici Miranda, Valencia, 1963
  4. ^ "Contact." Atlas Blue. 15 February 2008. Retrieved on 26 June 2010.
  5. ^ Image credit
  6. ^ "Climatological Information for Marrakech, Morocco", Hong Kong Observatory, 2003, web: HKO-Marrakech.
  7. ^ Review of "We Are To Answer" at Music Aloud

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • MARRAKECH — Lorsque, après avoir traversé les steppes qui s’étendent au nord de Marrakech, on arrive en vue de la ville, celle ci se présente comme une longue palmeraie d’où pointent des minarets et où l’on devine une masse confuse de maisons basses: c’est… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Marrakech — or Marrakesh [mə rä′kesh, mar΄ə kesh′] city in WC Morocco: pop. 602,000 * * * or Marrakesh City (pop., 1994: 621,914), southern Morocco. One of the four imperial cities, it lies in the centre of the Haouz plain. It was founded in 1062 by Yūsuf… …   Universalium

  • Marrakech — Esta es la grafía más acorde con la transcripción al español del nombre de esta ciudad de Marruecos, pues la letra árabe kaf se transcribe como k: «No iba más lejos de Génova y Marsella o, como mucho, Marrakech» (Torres Hombres [Esp. 2004]);… …   Diccionario panhispánico de dudas

  • Marrakech — (Marrâkech) ► C. del SO de Marruecos, cap. de la prov. homónima (14 755 km2 y 1 425 000 h), al pie del Alto Atlas; 1 517 000 h. Fundada por los almorávides en 1062, fue su cap. hasta 1147. En manos francesas de 1912 a 1956. El conjunto de la… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Marrakech — or Marrakesh [mə rä′kesh, mar΄ə kesh′] city in WC Morocco: pop. 602,000 …   English World dictionary

  • Marrakech — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Marrakech (homonymie). Marrakech ⵎⵕⵕⴰⴽⵛ (ber) مراكش (ar) Murrākush …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Marrakech — مراكش / Marrākush Marrakech Escudo …   Wikipedia Español

  • Marrakech — Satellitenbild von Marrakesch Bab Agnaou, Stadttor, 1185/1190 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Marrakech — Admin ASC 2 Code Orig. name Marrakech Country and Admin Code MA.47.351 MA …   World countries Adminstrative division ASC I-II

  • Marrakech — or Marrakesh or formerly Morocco geographical name city central Morocco in foothills of the Grand Atlas population 439,728 …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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