Marrakech deserves its nickname of “red city”. The facades of the city all wear this warm color by referring to the land of southern Morocco. This land was used and still used for the construction of all the buildings of the imperial city, including its ramparts, surrounding the Medina. These impressive walls made of earth, lime and mounted on a wooden frame, contributed to the reputation of Marrakech as an impenetrable walled city.
The ramparts over the years
The ramparts are 19 km long and generally 6 to 8 m high. The ramparts have 200 towers and 22 gates giving access to the interior of the medina. The doors have names that correspond to the different tribes of the region. To facilitate the trade and the communication of the doors were reserved to them. This is the case of Bab Doukkala or Bab Aylen, named after the respective tribes. Currently, the ramparts have lost their military function, the large gates that controlled the passages no longer exist.
Once upon a time, the ramparts
The first ramparts were built in the twelfth century by Sultan Ali Ben Youssef son of the founder of Marrakech, Yusuf ibn Tachfin. This Almoravid ruler ruled Morocco and Andalusia. The fortification of the capital was carried out to repel the danger of the Almohad rebels. The ramparts will finish a few decades later by giving way to the advance of the Almohad troops. The Almoravids, then the Almohads used a mixture of clay and limestone called the “tabia”. It was a reddish local clay coming from the hills of Gueliz.
Doors and stories
Each door of the ramparts tells a story. Towards the south of the medina, the Bab Aghmat gate, welcomed the Almohad soldiers who managed to seize the city after a long siege. Bab Ahmar door or “red door” gives access to the splendid imperial garden of Agdal. Finally, the bab er-Roob door bears witness to a sad episode. In 1308, the Sultan Marinides, Abu Thabit had the heads of 600 opponents.