You are here: Home About Marrakech The City
About Marrakech
Marrakech is just a camel's spit from southern Spain, and only three- and-a-half hours from London. Its location makes the 'red city' ( Merrakesh-el-Hamra) the perfect destination for a short break.

 With its snake charmers, story tellers, labyrinthine Medina, hooded men and veiled women, it has long been the winter retreat to satisfy European cravings for the exotic. This is sensory seduction in the extreme. An olfactory nirvana, the city bathes in the scents of orange blossom, mint, Kif (hashish) and, of course, the ancient spice souks.

Founded in the 10th Century by the Almoravides rulers, at the foot of the Atlas Hills, after their conquest of Southern Spain, Marrakech was invested with the exquisite cosmopolitan culture of Andalucia. This cross-fertilization is rare indeed for a remote desert enclave.

Under the Almoravides, Marrakech became a great commercial centre and wealth flowed into the city, further transforming its architecture. Lavish buildings were constructed and splendid gardens were designed. The ancient ramparts and gates of the city are monuments to the city's medieval pre-eminence.

Crossroads of various civilizations coming from the North as well as from the South, the "red city" saw in its rich history several dynasties who contributed to its cultural, artistic and architectural tradition.

The modern city was constructed in 1913 during the French occupation of the country and reflects the European influence. But the essence of the city, the old part called Medina, remains the same.  The newer districts are called the “Ville Nouvelles”.

The origins of its name have been argued over for centuries but are still unproved. One of the possible interpretations is for the name to derive from the Tamazight words mur (n) akuch which in Berber language means 'Land of God'.

Marrakech has much to offer the visitor - the historic and labyrinthine Medina, the majesty of the Palaces, the tranquility of its many gardens and the sophistication of its more modern boulevards and cafes. Today, Marrakech has become a thriving city with chic night spots, top restaurants and a very modern atmosphere in its new quarters, all of which emphasises the characteristic and unique atmosphere of the well preserved Medina and its focal point, the Djemma el Fna.

The city has been added to the list of World heritage by UNESCO.


An inland city, Marrakech is located in the centre of the western part of Morocco, 180 km from the Atlantic Ocean. It stretches towards the Great Atlas Mountain ranges with the valley of Ourika in the South-east.

Positioned at N 31º 37 W 7º 36, 490m above sea level. It is 220 km from Casablanca, 598 km from Tánger, 467 km from Meknés, 483 km from Fez, 176 km from Essaouira and 321 km from Rabat.