Marrakesh, Morocco

General Information

Regional secretariat


Administrative status

Chief city of the province and prefecture.

Medina of Marrakesh

Registration Year


Historical function

Imperial capital.

Location and site

Located in southern Morocco, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea and at the foot of the Great Atlas mountains, Marrakesh is situated on an affluent of the Tensift in the midst of the Haouz plain.

Urban morphology

At the interior of the walled enclosure of 10 km. length, the irregular medieval plan of the medina of Marrakesh formed the basis of a series of meeting places, including mosques and madrassas, as well as a large square (Djemaa El-Fna). Close to the palaces, the plan takes the form of an orthogonal grid. Green spaces occupy the area beyond the walls.

In the midst of this architectural landscape of reddish pisé, a series of noteworthy monuments evoke, above and beyond the high points and low points of the history of the medina of Marrakesh, each of the various periods since its foundation: the Almoravid pisé fortifications of the 11th century, the Almohad mosque and minaret of Koutoubia of the 12th century, the Marinid mosque and minaret of Ben Salih of the 14th century, the Saadi El-Badi Palace and tombs of the 16th century, and the Alouite Palace of the Bahia of the 19th century.

Registration criteria

“Marrakesh possesses an impressive number of architectural and artistic masterpieces […].” (I) “The capital of the Almoravides and the Almohades played a decisive role in the development of medieval urban planning. […]” (II) “Marrakesh […] is the textbook example of a large Islamic capital in the Western World.” (IV) “[…] this ancient habitat, which has become vulnerable due to population growth, constitutes an eminent example of a vibrant historic city.” (V)

Historical reference

  • The medina of Marrakesh was founded in 1071-1072 by an Almoravid (Sunnite) tribe which was known for its conquests and had by this time already taken control over the caravan routes of the western Sahara. Members of this tribe constructed a casbah, built a fortification around their new settlement, and planted a palm grove.
  • In 1147, the city was taken over from the Almoravids by the Almohads (Shi’ites), who followed the traditions of the Berbers. After destroying the medina of Marrakesh through religious intransigence, they transformed it into a prestigious capital city. They enlarged the enclosure and confirmed their occupation of the territory with new plantings. This period marked the heyday in the history of Marrakesh.
  • In 1269, the Marinids, a Berber tribe from the high plateaus, conquered the city of Marrakesh after having made Fez their capital. Although new construction was undertaken in Marrakesh after this time, the medina fell into a period of decline.
  • Under the Saadi rule of 1510-1659, Marrakesh became the capital city again and experienced prosperity before being conquered by the Alouites, who also left their mark on the urban fabric of the medina.


M. Mohamed Larbi Belcaïd

Commune de Marrakech

Hôtel de ville Boulevard Mohamed V
Marrakech, Maroc


Mme Deya Benjelloun

Chef de la division de la coopération décentralisée
Commune de Marrakech

Hôtel de ville Boulevard Mohamed V
Marrakech, Maroc


M. Adil Cherrate

Chef de la division de l’urbanisme
Commune de Marrakech

Hôtel de ville Boulevard Mohamed V
Marrakech, Maroc