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The Medina is an old part of Marrakesh that is walled, has narrow streets, and a collection of mosques, palaces, and fountains. In modern Arabic, “medina” translates to city or town. The Medina of marrakesh became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.
See the fact file below for more information on the Medina of Marrakesh or alternatively, you can download our 21-page World Heritage Sites: Medina of Marrakesh worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
Quick History of Marrakesh
- A medina refers to a distinct, small, walled city section found within a city. Many North African and Maltese cities have a medina.
- Features of a medina include walls, narrow maze-like streets, historical pieces such as mosques, fountains, and palaces.
- Typically, medinas are too narrow for cars to pass through (and in some cases, too narrow for even motorcycles and bike traffic), as streets can sometimes be less than 4 feet wide!
- The history of Marrakesh dates back nearly 1000 years.
- The city was founded in 1070 by the Almoravids, which was an imperial Berber Muslim dynasty that ruled predominantly in Morocco and parts of Northern Africa.
- After being captured numerous times by various groups, it began flourishing under the Saadians, an arab Moroccan dynasty which ruled Morocco from 1549 to 1659.
- Although Marrakesh experienced periods of bustling activity and grandiose, they also experienced periods of political struggle, famine, and plagues.
- It became part of the French protectorate of Morocco when French troops conquered it in 1912.
- In 1956, independence was achieved, and it remained a part of the Kingdom of Morocco thereafter.
- Throughout the duration of its history, Marrakesh has been in competition with Fez as the leading city in Morocco, as Fez is the capital of northern Morocco, and Marrakesh is the capital of southern Morocco. The appointment of Rabat as the capital of modern Morocco put an end to the rivalry between the two cities.
History of the Medina
- All Arab cities with a long history have a medina.
- The name medina derives from the Prophet Mohammed, who founded the first Islamic community in a city named Medina.
- As a result, “medina” became the prototype from which to model other Arabic towns from.
- The design of medinas reflected communal values in the community. Each quarter of the medina contributed to the benefit of the whole.
- The medina of Marrakesh is very popular with the French, and has the largest traditional market (souk) in Morocco.
- One of the most popular squares in all of Africa is the Jemaa el-Fnaa; it is the centre of the city’s trade and activity.
- Historically, the square was used for public executions by rulers in order to maintain their power.
- People from all over the Atlas mountains and surrounding desert would come to set up stalls and trade their goods with one another.
- You would often see tradesmen, Berber women, and a variety of animals including camels, donkeys, snakes, and other beasts.
- If you were to visit today you’d likely run into snake charmers, musicians, craftsmen, mystics, and many other culturally diverse people.
- Souks (marketplaces) make up the Berber market in Marrakesh, and it is one of the largest traditional ones in Morocco.
Historical Features of Marrakesh
- Koutoubia – Largest in Marrakesh; made of red stone and brick; four entrances.
- Ben Youssef – Oldest mosque in the city; built in the 12th century; very distinct carvings.
- Mouassine Mosque – Built in the 14th century; part of a complex that includes a library and hamman.
- Menara – Located at the gates of the Atlas mountains; qanats are used to irrigate the gardens.
- Majorelle – Once owned by Jacques Majorelle, then Yves Saint Laurent; floral and colorful designs.
- Agdal – Translates to “walled meadow”; just south of the medina; floral and includes a pool.
- Badi Palace – Built in 1578; lavish with Carrara marble; took 25+ years to build.
- Royal Palace – Located next to the Badi Palace; excellent craftsmanship; now privately owned.
- Bahia Palace – Built in the late 1800s; translates to “brilliance”; one of the finest in Morocco.
- The Mellah (old Jewish quarter) is located in the medina and was once used as a place where Jewish people lived and traded amongst themselves.
- It was usually surrounded by a wall and ensured that nobody could come in or out past a certain hour of the night until the next morning.
- The Mellah was similar in some ways to European ghettos, where ethnic minorities were segregated.
- There are many museums to explore in the medina, including the Marrakesh Museum, Dar Si Said Museum, the the Berber Museum, which displays a collection of Berber objects from past times.
World Heritage Sites: Medina of Marrakesh Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Medina of Marrakesh across 21 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use World Heritage Sites: Medina of Marrakesh worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Medina which is an old part of Marrakesh that is walled, has narrow streets, and a collection of mosques, palaces, and fountains. In modern Arabic, “medina” translates to city or town. The Medina of marrakesh became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Marrakesh Facts.
- Biography of Ali ibn Yusuf.
- Marketplace Math.
- How-to: Henna!
- Marrakesh Scavenger Hunt.
- Design a Maze.
- Dazzling Description.
- DIY Moroccan Lantern.
- Marrakesh Wordsearch.
- Postcard from Marrakesh.
- Marrakesh Crossword.
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Link will appear as Medina of Marrakesh Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, July 4, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.