The history behind the Fountains of Marrakesh

Camille Chataignier
Editor Made in Marrakech
28 février 2017

Knowing how hot the weather can be in the red city, investing in refreshing fountains was a great idea. As of now there are around 90 fountains in Marrakesh, and we are about to embark on the story of a few of them.

The Marrakesh we know today is a mixture between modern and traditional, with greenery, modern and old buildings, palm trees and its wonderful view on the Atlas Mountains. However the city wasn’t always like this. In fact, it was mostly desert, but it was the Almoravids that took interest in it. After making it their imperial capital and investing in its embellishment, they needed not only to create ceilings to shade from the hot sun but also different sources of refreshment. An oasis here and there, but the fountains started being constructed all around the city, as the city grew, its sources of water did as well.

Meeting point

The fountains were used for practically everything. Whether you wanted to get a refreshing gulp of water, use it to clean yourself, or even to cook with it. This meant, the fountain became a functional and a social place where people would meet and share different sides of life. The fountains did vary in size and beauty. Through the different dynasties, the Saadians are the ones who aided Marrakesh to have its present beauty. All the engraved plaster and wood, and material used to beautify these fountains is still proof of their remaining heritage.

1. Mouassine fountain

Considered the most beautiful fountain in the city. Still a source of water, as it was years ago, for both the residents of the city and their livestock. The fountain was built in 1570 and had underground channels as its source. As for its design, there is the gorgeous arches, the green tiles and the carved cedar, a true unique art piece.

Location: at the entrance of Souk Debbaghin

2. Almoravids Qoubba

The sculpting work on the dome is a true fingerprint of the Almoravids era. Conserving their architectural legacy, this fountain was amongst their creations.

Location: In front of the Ben Youssef Medersa

3. Shroub ou Shouf fountain

This beautiful fountain has been recognized as a world heritage by the UNIESCO in 1985. Built under the reign of Ahmed El Mansour, its craftsmanship is a delight to see.

Location: North of the souk, near Bab Taghzout Street.

4. Sidi Bel Abbes

Sidi Bel Abbes fountain is unique in its design with the stucco, its long beams and decorative tiles as well as the sculpted plaster. All of this in the heart of its Zaouia.

Location: North of the medina.

5. Bab Doukkala

The fountain has known its days, but at the present day it is no longer operational. The beauty of the space is still used to display art pieces, as we can’t ignore the architectural backdrop of the 16th century.

Location: Near the Bab Doukkala mosque.

The list of fountains is numerous, so we do invite you to visit also Bab Ailen, Zouia Sidi Abdelaziz, Baraka of Mahomet and of course Riad ez Jdid.

Picture: RR

Camille Chataignier
Editor Made in Marrakech
28 février 2017

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