Written in Arabic as مراكش foreigners use the French ‘Marrakech’ and English ‘Marrakesh’ interchangeably.
Marrakech sits at a strategic location on the trade route between sub Saharan Africa and the sea route to Europe. The early name was Marra Kouch, land of the Kouchmen a tribe that originated in Mauritania. The City came to prominence as the capital of the Almoravids an 11th century Berber dynasty. Importantly the Almoravids built an underground irrigation system bring water from the High Atlas to the City and surrounding farm land.
Marrakesh was again the Moroccan capital under the Saadians in the 17th century before falling into relative decline. The city was revived until the French protectorate when the new town district of Guiliez was constructed. During the period of French rule control of Marrakech was effectively delegated to the Pasha El Glaoui.
After Morocco’s independence in 1956, and particularly in the last quarter of the twentieth century, Marrakech gradually came to prominence as the most important international tourist destination in North Africa.