A bit of history
Before we start it’s important to know a tiny bit of the city’s history. Our opinion: traveling without being informed, even though it’s just the basics, is a waist of time and energy. So don’t roll your eyes and continue reading… you got that set of brains of yours for a reason.
Berber farmers have been living in Marrakech since Neolithic times. However, the actual city was founded in the 11th century by Abu Bakr ibn Umar, the cousin of king Yusuf ibn Tashfin and part of the Almoravid dynasty. Under their reign a part of Marrakech’ signature architectural style was set. An Andalusian influence mixed with designs from the Sahara and West Africa. A good example is the Ben Youssef Mosque, named after king Yusuf ibn Tashfin’s son. A millenium later it’s still the most important mosque in the city.
In the 12th century Ali ibn Yusuf built red walls around the city and several buildings were also constructed in red sandstone. This is where Marrakech has gotten its nickname the “Red City” or “Ochre city” from.
If you ever wondered why a big part of the population speaks French (besides Arabic and Berber) in Marrakech, we’ll have to go back to the early 20th century. To the moment when a lot of European countries decided they needed to expend their borders. In 1912, the French protectorate was established in Morocco till 1956.
At the moment, Marrakech is the 4th largest city in Morocco after Casablanca, Fez and Tangier.