The RED CITY OF MARRAKECH is unlike any other African city in that it is ablaze with colour. WHERE EAST MEETS WEST, AND WHERE THE ORIENT AND THE INCIDENT CAN BE FOUND SIDE BY SIDE, THIS IS CERTAINLY THE LOCATION WHERE EAST AND WEST COME TOGETHER. Marrakech, which was founded in 1062 by the Berber Almoravids, is regarded as Morocco's fourth most beautiful city and is ranked fourth in the world. His world-renowned Medina, or Old City, reverberates with the rhythm of North Africa, while also preserving the history and culture of Berbers and nomadic desert nomads who lived there centuries ago. In the city, it is extremely hot, nearly painfully so. Before the Muezzin's first call to prayer, traders, businesspeople, housewives, and market women all head to the Old-City marketplace to get their work done before the city seems to fall into a state of slumber after the call to prayer has been issued.
It is the people who seek refuge in the tiny streets of the souk, in the artisan and business areas of the city, and in the safety of their own homes. Just as twilight begins to fall, the Old City's streets and squares come to life with a new, effervescent energy that can only be found in the cool of the evenings. Beginning in the heart of the Old City, in the Djemaa el-Fna, also known as the "place of the executed," where heads were still being chopped off and dis- performed on spikes as recently as the early twentieth century, the colourful performance that is everyday life in Marrakech begins. Arts and crafts vendors hawk their wares as a variety of entertainers such as illusionists, acrobats, dancers, snake charmers, storytellers, and musicians transform the huge open space into an arena dedicated to their own art forms and performances. Tourists take a stroll across the Djemaa el-Fna and stop to eat at one of the many restaurants that line the square. The herb, vegetable, and fruit dealers' stalls entice both clients and bystanders, who are drawn in by the opulent, colourful, and exotic displays, as well as the clamour of shouted talks and bartering between merchants.
|The 77-3 high minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque|
|The Djema el-Fna, or "Place of the Executed"|
The minaret of this Marrakech landmark, which stands 77 metres tall, was constructed during the reign of the Almohad caliphs in the year 1157. A total of over 90 metres in length and 60 metres in width, the prayer hall of the seventeen-aisled mosque. For Friday prayers, up to 25,000 worshippers pack the mosque's prayer rooms, according to estimates. The minaret, which was completed in 1198 and can be seen from a long distance, rises like a rock out of the sea of dwellings that make up the historic centre. The Ben-Youssouf Mosque and its school, the Medersa, are connected by a series of narrow, twisting alleyways that lead to the tower, which is considered to be the finest of all the famous Almohad minarets that can be seen throughout North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula. The mosque was erected by the Almoravid founders of the city in the eleventh century, but its current form and appearance date back to the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, respectively. Only believers are permitted to enter the mosque, however non-Muslims are permitted to attend the Koran school. A school of Islam known as the Medersa was established in the fourteenth century and swiftly rose to become the most significant Koran school in all of North Africa. While it was at its peak of prominence, up to 900 students studied Islamic law and theology at this location.