The ramparts of Marrakesh and their history

Per: Camille CHATAIGNIER  

HERITAGE What separates the old medina from the modern growing city of Marrakesh would be its aging red walls. We will take you on a journey to uncover the history behind the ramparts of the Medina.

History of the ramparts

The city walls have been standing tall ever since their construction in the 12th century. Built by the Almoravids as means to protect the city from any invaders. The ramparts are stretched along the Medina for over 19 meters, and depending on which side you are facing, the walls go as high as 9 meters tall. To provide a prominent protection, they are also 2 meters thick. The walls were built using sand stone and red clay, this has given the walls its famous ochre look. The reflection of the sun, makes the walls both beautiful and threatening.

As the wall was made of clay, it was easy to construct, inexpensive and often rebuilt. The reason behind the famous holes in the wall were for this exact reason. They were used to attach scaffolding in order to restore the wall.

The city gates

The ramparts had more than 200 towers and 20 gates. Ranging in size and structure, and even decoration. A couple of the oldest gates were Bab Agnaou, gaining its name from the Berber culture, which was once known as Bab El Kohl as well as Bab El Qasr translating to the door of the palace. There is also Bab Er Robb located in the southern exit of the city. There are other well-known and beautiful gates from Bab Berrima, Bab Aghmat to Bab El Khemis. These gates were serving as the entrance of the city, keeping the population under control. They also provided complete isolation and security when needed.

Tip: The best way to explore the ramparts of the medina is to take the horse carriage. A relaxing tempo, leaving you time to soak in the walls.

Picture: RR