Where once executions took place, today the Djemaa El Fna is full of life. At night the place transforms into an open air stage, with many actors and even more seductive aromas, that waft from the food stalls across.
The magnificent Bab Agnaou was built in the 12th century, during the reign of the Almoravids. Through the gate you enter the Kasbah, with the Moulay Al Yazid Mosque and the tombs of the Saadians.
The palace was built in 1578 by Sultan Ahmad al-Mansur, the ruler of the Saadians. The Saadians could conquer Marrakech in 1525 and made it the capital of their empire. In 1668 the palace was sacked by the Alawites.
The Saadites ruled from 1525 until 1668 in Marrakech. The magnificent tomb complex was created by Sultan al-Mansur. The oriental motifs of the three burial chambers were made of cedar wood, Carrara marble and stucco. The Saadian Tombs are among the top attractions of Marrakech.
As you walk through the Bab Agnaou, you will see the tower of the al-Mansur Mosque, also known as Moulay El-Yazid and Kasbah Mosque. It was built between 1184 and 1199 by Jacoub al-Mansur. The mosque is the only preserved structure of the Almohads in Marrakech. The architectural style of the Almohads was copied from later dynasties. Most minarets throughout Morocco were built in this style.
The palace of Grand Vizier Si Moussa and his son Ba Ahmed was built at the end of the 19th century. From a central courtyard with orange trees and fountains, one passes through the rooms of the residence, to other courtyards of the fantastically beautiful complex called Palais Bahia.
The Royal Palace is a huge complex located south of the Palais el Badi. The palace was created by the Almohads and further expanded by the following rulers. The Royal Palace is still used by the Royal Family of Marocco and hence not open to the public.
The mosque was built in honor of Marrakech's patron saint Sidi Bel-Abbes. Sidi Bel-Abbes was also known as Abu al-Abbas as-Sabti, he came to Marrakech and lived in the surrounding hills as a sufi anchorite. Later he became famous as teacher and preacher. The Zaouia Sidi Bel-Abbes was built in the 16th century and enlarged and expanded in the following centuries.
The madrasa could accommodate 900 students and was the largest madrasah in Morocco. Built by Abu al-Hassan in the 14th century. In 1565 the building was renovated by Sultan Abdallah al-Ghalib. In the middle of the courtyard, there is a water basin, the flooring is made of white marble. The walls are covered with colorful Zellige tiles at the base, the cornice is made of skillful elaborated cedarwood.
The Koubba of the Almoravids is the only remaining building of the first rulers of Marrakech and was built at the beginning of the 12th century. The Koubba was the washroom of a mosque, that did not survive the centuries. The Ali Ben Youssef Mosque is close-by.
The 70-meter high minaret is the tallest building in the city and dominates the Place Jemaa El Fna. Soon after the Almohads conquered Marrakech in 1147, they began building the Koutoubia Mosque. The minaret became stylistic for many minaret towers of Moroccan architecture.