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Beauty Spots and Monuments


Pre-Roman and Roman era

The history of Morocco grew rich by the influences of several civilizations and cultures.
The plurality of these civilizations resulted in a significant archaeological diversification which was translated throughout the Moroccan territory into monuments, buildings and vestiges.
This history began with the establishment of foreign centers in the littoral zones. In the 7th century BC, Phoenicians founded trading posts on the Mediterranean Coast of North Africa, Tangier… as well as on the Atlantic coast, Mogador (Essaouira), Sala, Lixus …

Phoenicians, then Carthaginians created marginal centers along the Moroccan coast and their civilization was attached to the Mediterranean world from which it was born.


Thanks to excavations, we managed to find the remains of walls, some ceramics and burials but no building is identifiable.
At the III century BC and after the defeat of Carthage, the Roman Empire entirely controlled the African Northern region and settled in already existing cities at the pre-roman era like Lixus or Volubilis, the capital of the Moor Empire under the reign of Juba I, Juba II and Ptolemee.

With the advent of the Islamic civilization, the reigning dynasties succeeded one another. In this way the number of historic buildings multiplied to recall the remaining Moroccan history until our days.

The history of Morocco through its historic monuments

The history of Morocco grew rich by the influences of several civilizations and cultures.

The plurality of these civilizations resulted in a significant archaeological diversification which was translated throughout the Moroccan territory into monuments, buildings and vestiges.
This history began with the establishment of foreign centers in the littoral zones. In the 7th century BC, Phoenicians founded trading posts on the Mediterranean Coast of North Africa, Tangier… as well as on the Atlantic coast, Mogador (Essaouira), Sala, Lixus …

Phoenicians, then Carthaginians created marginal centers along the Moroccan coast and their civilization was attached to the Mediterranean world from which it was born.

Thanks to excavations, we managed to find the remains of walls, some ceramics and burials but no building is identifiable.

At the III century BC and after the defeat of Carthage, the Roman Empire entirely controlled the African Northern region and settled in already existing cities at the pre-roman era like Lixus or Volubilis, the capital of the Moor Empire under the reign of Juba I, Juba II and Ptolemee.

With the advent of the Islamic civilization, the reigning dynasties succeeded one another. In this way the number of historic buildings multiplied to recall the remaining Moroccan history until nowadays.

Muslim Dynasties

The Idrissids

They are the Founders of the first Muslim state between 808 - 192 AH (Anno Hegirae). Idriss II founded the city of Fez, known as a city of culture. It was declared by UNESCO as a “world heritage city,". In 857 - Fatima Fehrya founded the Al Karaouiyne mosque.

The Almoravids "Al-Murâbitûn" 1070

They founded the city of Marrakesh. Their leader Abou Bakr, built a Kasbah nicknamed “the stone castle” not faraway from  Koutoubia.

The Almohads "Al-Muwahhidûn" 1147 :

They maintained Marrakesh as capital.

Abdelmoumen started building the Koutoubia Mosque there. his son, Ya`cub Al-Mansûr’ finished it by adding

a magnificent minaret that can still be seen today.

The Merinids 1269:

Having preserved the throne, they made Fez their capital and built Fez El-Jedid.

The Saadians:

This dynasty (fifteenth century) helped revive Marrakesh glory. Ahmed Al-Mansûr Eddahbi built the El-Badi Palace.

The Alaouites:

Their reign began in the eighteenth century.

Around the year 857, under the reign of Moulay Yahya, two mosques were built in the city of Fez: Al Karaouine Mosque founded by Fatima Fahriya and Al-Andalus Mosque

The Almoravids succeeded The Idrissids. Being of nomadic origins, they were famous for their warlike qualities. They played a major part in defending Islam.

Yûsûf Ibn Tâchfine built Marrakesh and made it capital of his empire. As the founder of the founder of the Almoravid empire, he collected a powerful army and had a new coin struck in his name.

The religious and warlike aspects of the dynasty were translated into the importance given to the building of mosques and fortresses. 

In 1147, the Almoravids sumptuous palaces and their sanctuaries were destroyed. This "purification" measure was considered essential because of the loosening of moral standards of "Al-Murâbitûn"princes, before making the city of Marrakesh as the capital of Almohads.

The reign of Almohads witnessed periods of stability and power: Salah Eddine Al Ayoubi employed the powerful army and naval force East against the crusaders in the East.

The dynasty’s reign saw economical prosperity and the realization of great architectural achievements which marked the apogee of the Andalusian-Moorish art.

Among the newly-built cities we find: Ribat Al Fath built from a core similar to the current district of Oudayas, Bâb Rouah. Hassan Tower, built at the same time as Koutoubia, are two mosques erected by sultan Abdelmoumen. His son,Ya`cub Al-Mansûr’, added a sumptuous minaret to the Koutoubia.

Despite the large size of mosques and the slim form of minarets, they were modestly decorated. They reflected the purity, simplicity and also austerity which characterized the doctrine of Al Mahdi, the leader of Almohads thought.

The Merinids managed to seize the throne in 1269 when they took control of Marrakesh. In 1271, they made Fez their capital and built Fez El-Jedid in which they erected a palace.

The Beni Merin built numerous mosques, especially in Fez and Taza as well as, hospitals in Fez, Rabat and Sale and strengthened enclosures containing doors inspired of the Almohade model but which are modestly decorated. Chellah was used as necropolis.

For politico-religious obligations, Medersas, place of worship, teaching and the spreading of an ideology which tried to be as a counterweight to the increasing power of Zawiyas, were considered as the architectural realizations of The Merinids.

This period saw the building of the following Medersas: Al Attarine, Es-Sbaiyne, Es-Sahridj and Abou-Inanya which was equipped with a solar clock.

Generally speaking, the decoration of the Merinide buildings reflected the profusion and the reproduction of the Grenadian model; i.e. richness and grandeur of floral patterns.

The number and size of the Merinide monuments show the dynasty’s seeking of grandeur and its constant concern of legitimacy.

Spanish and Portuguese aggressions on the Moroccan coast marked the decline of the Merinides. Between 1559 and 1603, The Saadians reunified the country by driving out foreign powers (Spanish and Portuguese) and by thwarting the Turkish threats. In 1554, the Turcs entered the city of Fez with the help of the Wattasids. However, they were obliged to withdraw the next year following attacks by the Saadians

During the reign of the saadian sultan Al-Mansûr Eddahbi, Morocco enjoyed an era of prosperity and power. Consequently, Marrakesh regained its previous glory and in 1591 Moulay Al-Mansûr built his palace El-Badi.

The death of Al-Mansûr Eddahbi in 1603 meant the end of a period of political stability and relative prosperity. Stirred up by external constraints, fierce fighting for the throne between candidates triggered the decline of the reign.

Following this period, Morocco slipped into anarchy, conflict and disorder.

Originally from Yanboo Al Nakhil, in Saudi Arabia, they settled in Tafilalet in the seventeenth century. Being looked on as defenders of an Islam in danger and as reunifiers, they were of suitable position to assume the throne.

In 1666, Moulay Rachid became the ruler of the country and chose Fez as capital where he also built the Kasbah of Cherada for the Cheraga tribes northwest of the city.

 Moulay Ismael acceded to the throne in 1672. He devoted twenty four years of his reign to pacifying the Maghreb. He settled the City of Meknes in which he founded his palace, Al-Mansûr, built in a Kasbah with 20 fortified doors surmounted by bastions carrying cannons and mortars.

When Sidi Mohammed acceded to the throne in 1760, Morocco saw the building of several ports including that of Anfa (Casablanca) as well as the founding in 1705 of Essaouira which became Toumbouctou port and restored the primary role of Morocco, i.e. a meeting point between the East and the West.

Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah, known as the great builder, contributed a great deal to the development of the city of Rabat. There, he built the royal palace, then the ramparts of the Sala coast as well as Al Sunna and Al Fath mosques.

For his part, Moulay Ibn Hicham built Mechouar know also as Touarga.

The Alaouites invested enormously in the city of Rabat which became the royal capital.

In this same city, the late Hassan II built Mausoleum of Mohammed V where he is buried beside the tomb of his father late Mohammed V. He also founded Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca.

For further details:

http://www.azureva.com/maroc/magazine/essaouira.php3
http://www.azureva.com/maroc/magazine/volubilis.php3
http://www.azureva.com/maroc/magazine/marrakech.php3
http://visiondumaroc.com/fr/home.htm
http://www.sitedevolubilis.com
http://www.e-receptif.com/pays/maroc.htm
http://www.g26.ch/maroc_unesco_00.html
http://filoumektoub.free.fr/maghreb/maroc/larache.htm
http://tangier.free.fr
http://www.lexilogos.com/maroc_carte.htm


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