Stretching for 16km around the medina, the extensive ramparts of Marrakech are impossible to miss; they may even be the your first sight of the red city. You may notice that the walls themselves are marked with numerous holes. Although many local Marrakchis will tell you conflicting stories as how the holes were formed, we are here to reveal the truth behind this mystery.

One of the most popular stories concerning the holes in the medina walls is that they were formed by canon blasts. Once upon a time, the gates to the medina were locked every night and the walls themselves acted as a form of protection. With that in mind this particular story would make sense, yet you will notice that the holes are evenly placed and are of an equal size and shape. Therefore, the holes in the Marrakech medina walls cannot possible be made from canon blasts. So we move on…

Another story suggests that, as the pisé-cement walls gradually crumble, small holes are formed; the holes are then enlarged by birds looking for somewhere to nest. Although it is true that birds often set up home within the walls of the Marrakech medina, this version of the story again does not explain how the holes are so evenly spaced and uniformly sized.

The truth is that the holes in the Marrakech ramparts are a cause of the crumbling ancient walls, although as an indirect consequence of this disrepair. The holes are actually used to place scaffolding for restoration. Of course the ramparts have been extensively restored since their conception; indeed the reconstruction is a continual process as the pisé-cement walls, made of the red earth of the Haouz plains, gradually crumble.

Our luxury riads are the perfect base for your stay in Marrakech. Located within the Ramparts, in the heart of the Marrakech medina, all of our riads are ideally located within a short walking distance from all of Marrakech’s top attractions.