Kasbah Marrakech: A Guide to Morocco’s Historic Fortified City



The Kasbah of Marrakesh, also known as the Royal Kasbah, is a historic district located in the southern part of Marrakech’s Medina. It was built by the Almohad Caliph Yaqub al-Mansur in the 12th century and served as the royal citadel housing palaces, mosques, and gardens.

Notable features of the Kasbah include the grand Bab Agnaou gateway and the Saadian Tombs, which date back to the time of the Saadian sultan Ahmad al-Mansur (1578-1603). The Kasbah Mosque, which is one of the largest in the Medina and includes a beautiful garden, is also found in this district. Today, the Kasbah maintains its allure with its historical significance and captivating architecture.

  • The Kasbah of Marrakesh is a historic district located in the southern part of the Medina.
  • Built in the 12th century, it features historic structures such as the Bab Agnaou gateway and Saadian Tombs.
  • Historically, this area housed individuals who served in the royal palace. The Kasbah’s importance dates back to the 12th century, during the Almohad Dynasty.
  • The Kasbah Mosque is one of the largest mosques in the Medina and includes a beautiful garden, it is a unesco world heritage site.
  • Staying in the Kasbah offers a less overwhelming experience than the larger medina. It’s a compact mini-Marrakech that’s easier to navigate.

History of Kasbah Marrakech

The Kasbah district of Marrakech has a rich history that dates back to the Almohad period. The district is located in the southern part of the city and is surrounded by the city walls. Over the centuries, the district has been home to many important buildings, including palaces, mosques, and administrative buildings.

Almohad Period

The Kasbah district was first established during the Almohad period in the 12th century. The Almohads were a Berber dynasty that ruled over much of North Africa and Spain from the 12th to the 13th century. They were known for their military prowess and their distinctive architectural style.

During the Almohad period, the Kasbah district was home to many important buildings, including the Kasbah Mosque and the palace of Ali ibn Yusuf. The district was also an important administrative center, with many government offices located there.

Moulay Ismail

In the 16th century, the Kasbah district underwent a major renovation under the reign of Moulay Ismail. Moulay Ismail was a powerful ruler who is known for his military conquests and his grand building projects. He ordered the construction of many new buildings in the Kasbah district, including the Bab Doukkala Mosque.

18th Century

In the 18th century, the Kasbah district underwent another major renovation under the reign of Sultan Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdallah. During this period, many of the buildings in the district were rebuilt or refurbished, including the Kasbah Mosque.

The district also played an important role in the city’s defense during this time. The city walls were extended to include the Kasbah district, and many new defensive structures were built.

Top Attractions in Kasbah Marrakech

Kasbah Marrakech is a historic district in Marrakech, Morocco, known for its rich cultural heritage and impressive architecture. The district is home to several top attractions that draw tourists from all over the world. Here are some of the best things to see and do in Kasbah Marrakech.

Bahia Palace

One of the most popular attractions in Kasbah Marrakech is Bahia Palace. This 19th-century palace was built for Si Moussa, a former slave who rose to become a wealthy nobleman. The palace is known for its intricate tile work, colorful gardens, and stunning architecture. Visitors can explore the palace’s many rooms and courtyards, which are filled with beautiful decorations and furnishings. The palace walls place a limit on the rooftops on the surrounding houses, because they cannot go higher than the walls.

The Agdal Gardens in Marrakech are vast historical gardens that are part of the Royal Palace complex, dating back to the 12th century. These gardens cover an area of about 400 hectares and include a variety of fruit trees such as orange, lemon, fig, apricot, and pomegranate, as well as olive trees. The gardens are divided into several quadrants, each irrigated by a sophisticated system of channels connected to a central water reservoir.

They also feature two large basins that were historically used for both irrigation and royal leisure activities. Although access to the gardens is often limited, they are usually open to the public on Fridays and Sundays, providing a tranquil green oasis in the midst of bustling Marrakech.

Saadian Tombs

Another must-see attraction in Kasbah Marrakech is the Saadian Tombs. This historic burial site dates back to the 16th century and contains the remains of members of the Saadian dynasty. The tombs were rediscovered in 1917 and have since become a popular tourist destination. Visitors can admire the intricate carvings and decorations that adorn the tombs.

Koutoubia Mosque

The Koutoubia Mosque is one of the most iconic landmarks in Marrakech and a must-visit attraction in Kasbah Marrakech. This 12th-century mosque is known for its impressive minaret, which stands at over 70 meters tall. Visitors can admire the mosque’s beautiful architecture and learn about its rich history.

El Badi Palace

El Badi Palace is another popular attraction in Kasbah Marrakech. This 16th-century palace was once one of the most impressive structures in Morocco, but today only ruins remain. Visitors can explore the palace’s many courtyards and gardens and admire the remnants of its former glory.

Exploring the Kasbah Marrakech

The Kasbah of Marrakech is a historic district in the southern part of the medina of Marrakech, Morocco. It is a walled citadel and royal palace complex that served as the residence of the ruling dynasty during the medieval period. The Kasbah is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in history, culture, and architecture.

Dar Si Said Museum

One of the most popular attractions in the Kasbah is the Dar Si Said Museum. The museum is housed in a beautiful 19th-century palace that was once the residence of the brother of the Grand Vizier Bou Ahmed. It showcases a stunning collection of traditional Moroccan arts and crafts, including textiles, ceramics, jewelry, and woodwork. Visitors can admire intricate carvings and colorful mosaics while learning about the rich cultural heritage of Morocco.

La Médina

The Kasbah is also home to the La Médina neighborhood, which is characterized by narrow alleys, bustling souks, and traditional riads. La Médina is a great place to explore on foot, as it offers a glimpse into the daily life of the locals. Visitors can shop for souvenirs, sample local delicacies, and admire the beautiful architecture of the riads.

El Fna Square

El Fna Square is the beating heart of Marrakech and one of the most vibrant places in the Kasbah. The square is a bustling hub of activity, with street performers, snake charmers, and food vendors vying for attention. Visitors can enjoy a cup of mint tea while watching the world go by or sample some of the delicious street food on offer.

The Kasbah of Marrakech is an ideal location for anyone looking to immerse themselves in the rich history and culture of Morocco. With its stunning architecture, vibrant markets, and friendly locals, it is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Marrakech.

Best Accommodations in Kasbah Marrakech

Kasbah Marrakech is a popular destination for travelers seeking a unique and authentic Moroccan experience. The Kasbah district is located in the southern part of the medina and is known for its historic buildings, bustling souks, and vibrant street life. For those looking for a place to stay in Kasbah Marrakech, there are several excellent accommodations to choose from, including:

Riad Palais Calipau

Riad Palais Calipau is a luxurious palace complex ideally located in the heart of Kasbah Marrakech. The property features 12 spacious suites, each with its own private bathroom and air conditioning. Guests can enjoy the heated outdoor pool, traditional hammam, and rooftop terrace with panoramic views of the city. The riad also has a restaurant that serves traditional Moroccan cuisine. Free wifi is available.

Riad Kasbah

Riad Kasbah is a charming riad located in a quiet street in the heart of Kasbah Marrakech. The property features 7 beautifully decorated rooms, each with its own private bathroom and air conditioning. Guests can relax in the courtyard or on the rooftop terrace, which offers stunning views of the Atlas Mountains. The riad also has a restaurant that serves delicious Moroccan dishes and has a hot tub!

La Sultanas

La Sultanas is a luxurious boutique hotel located in the heart of Kasbah Marrakech. The property features 28 beautifully decorated rooms and suites, each with its own private bathroom and air conditioning. Guests can enjoy the heated swimming pool, traditional hammam, and spa. The hotel also has a restaurant that serves gourmet Moroccan cuisine.

Hotel/Riad NameKey Features
La Sultana MarrakechBoutique hotel with 28 rooms, dining options, hammam, and spa. Direct taxi access.
La Villa des Orangers MarrakechHas three heated swimming pools and 27 rooms. Offers breakfast, lunch, dinner, and room service.
Ksar Kasbah and SpaSimple riad with 11 rooms, a plunge pool, and a spa. Ideal for disconnecting.
Riad Palais CalipauLarge ceilings, spacious rooms, and a central pool feature. Good for couples or families.
Riad BelkoA homey, more affordable option with a hostel vibe.
Almaha Marrakech and SpaArt-filled space with twelve spacious, individually decorated rooms. Features oversized beds, artwork, soaking tubs, and fireplaces.
Riad L’ArganierA small riad with 5 bedrooms and a homey feel. Affordable rates.
Riad InakaMoroccan design with modern touches. Seven rooms with heating, air conditioning, and private bathrooms.
Riad HikayaEight rooms with an eclectic mix of amenities and décor. Features a large swimming pool and a hot tub.

FAQs on Marrakech Kasbah

What is the difference between a Kasbah and a medina?

A Kasbah and a medina both represent significant elements of Moroccan architecture and history, but they serve different purposes. A Kasbah, such as the one in Marrakech, is a fortified area, typically housing a palace or fortress from the Almohad period, featuring thick walls and a central courtyard. They were often built by the ruling sultan for protection. On the other hand, a medina is the old city or historic quarter of a town, characterised by narrow, maze-like streets. The medina of Marrakech, for instance, is bustling with local life, shops, and monuments.

What is the meaning of Kazbah?

‘Kasbah’ or ‘Kazbah’ is a term in North African Arabic that refers to a central part of a town or city, typically enclosed by walls for defence. In Morocco, it often denotes a fortress or the old part of a city, where historically significant buildings such as palaces, mosques, and tombs are located. In Marrakech, the Kasbah is home to the Badi Palace and the Tombs of the Almohad dynasty.

Where is the Kasbah in Marrakech?

The Kasbah in Marrakech is located south of the city’s Medina. It was built in the 12th century during the reign of the Almohad dynasty. The Kasbah is home to historical monuments like the Bahia Palace, the Moulay Al Yazid Mosque with its distinct minaret, and the Saadian Tombs. It’s close to the main square, Djemaa El Fna, and is a site of significant historical and architectural interest for visitors.