The 9 classified wonders of the kingdom
Medina of Fez Date of listing: 1981:
Founded in the 9th century and home to the oldest university in the world, Fez was at its peak when it supplanted Marrakech as the capital of the Kingdom. The urban fabric and the essential monuments of the medina date back to this period: madrassas, fondouks, palaces and mansions, mosques, fountains, etc. Despite the transfer of the capital to Rabat in 1912, it retains its status as the cultural and spiritual capital of the country. The medina of Fez is considered to be one of the largest and best-preserved historical cities in the Arab-Muslim world. The boundaries of the property inscribed on the World Heritage List include the entire urban fabric and walls. The outskirts of the medina are an indispensable element for the quality of the visual aspect of its surroundings and are maintained as areas that cannot be built upon.
Medina of Marrakesh Date of listing: 1985:
Marrakesh once gave its name to the Moroccan Empire. Founded in 1070-72 by the Almoravids, Marrakesh is home to an impressive number of masterpieces (monumental ramparts and gates, the Koutoubia Mosque, Saadian tombs, the ruins of the Badia Palace, the Bahia Palace, the Menara Lake and Pavilion). The Djemaa El Fna square, a real open-air theatre, always amazes its visitors. In the 700 hectares of the Medina, this ancient habitat, which has become vulnerable due to demographic change, represents, with its maze of alleyways, houses, souks, fondouks, traditional crafts and commercial activities, an eminent example of a living historic city.
Ksar Aït Ben Haddou Date of listing: 1987:
A group of earthen buildings surrounded by walls, the Ksar is a type of traditional pre-Saharan habitat. The houses are grouped within its defensive walls reinforced by corner towers. Aït Ben Haddou, located in the province of Ouarzazate, is a striking example of southern Moroccan architecture. The materials used for construction remain earth and wood. For its restoration, only a few reinforced concrete lintels and reinforcements were hidden under earthen plaster. Particular attention was also paid to the doors and windows overlooking the alleyways, to ensure that metal did not replace wood.
Historic City of Meknes Date of listing: 1996:
The Historic City of Meknes has had a considerable influence on the development of civil and military architecture (the Kasbah) and engineering structures. Founded in 1061 by the Almoravids as a military settlement, it takes its name from the great Berber tribe Meknassa, which dominated eastern Morocco until the rise of Tafilalet. It contains the remains of the medina, which bear witness to the ancient socio-economic fabric and the imperial city created by Sultan Moulay Ismail (1672-1727). Sheltered by high defensive walls, pierced by nine monumental gates, are key monuments, including twenty-five mosques, ten hammams, palaces, vast granaries, the remains of fondouks (hotels for merchants) and private dwellings, testimony to the Almoravid, Merinid and Alawite periods. Meknes is distinguished by the gigantic and imposing appearance of its ramparts, which reach a height of 15m.
Medina of Tetouan Date of listing: 1997:
The strategic position of the Medina of Tetouan facing the Strait of Gibraltar has played an important role as a junction and transition point between two civilizations (Spanish and Arab) and two continents (Europe and North Africa). The city was rebuilt by Andalusian refugees who came to this region after being driven out by the Spanish. Therefore, the style of architecture and art were strongly influenced by Andalusia. It is one of the smallest Moroccan medinas, but without a doubt the most complete. The wall that surrounds the medina is 5km long. Access is through seven interconnected gates giving access to monuments of collective interest such as the fondouks, mosques, zaouias and quarters for crafts and trade, but also to secondary roads leading to dead ends and residential blocks constituting semi-private spaces.
Archaeological Site of Volubilis Date of listing: 1997:
The archaeological site of Volubilis is a typical example of a city that bears witness to an exchange of influences from antiquity to the arrival of Islam. All the phases of a ten-century occupation are represented: Mediterranean, Libyan and Moorish, Punic, Roman and Arab-Islamic, as well as African and Christian culture. The site extends over 42 hectares between Zerhoun and the Gharb plain. It is marked by a Roman rampart built in 168-169 AD. Because of its isolation and the fact that it has not been occupied for nearly a thousand years, it has a high level of authenticity. The site has yielded considerable artistic material including mosaics, marble statues and hundreds of inscriptions.
Medina of Essaouira Date of listing: 2001:
The Medina of Essaouira, formerly known as Mogador (a name derived from the Phoenician word Migdol meaning 'little fortress'), is an outstanding and well-preserved example of a mid-18th-century fortified port city with a strong European inspiration, transposed to a North African context. The medina of Essaouira was designed by a French architect deeply influenced by the work of the military engineer Vauban in Saint-Malo. It still retains today the appearance of a European city inseparable from the medina. The Mogador Archipelago includes a large number of cultural sites and natural sites of outstanding universal value.
Portuguese City of Mazagan Date of listing: 2004:
The Portuguese fortifications of Mazagan, now part of the city of El Jadida, 100km southwest of Casablanca, were built as a fortified colony on the Atlantic coast in the early 16th century and taken over by the Moroccans in 1769. The fortifications, with their bastions and ramparts, are an early example of Renaissance military architecture. The Portuguese buildings still visible are the cistern and the Church of the Assumption, built in the Manueline style (late Gothic). The Portuguese fortifications of Mazagan, built in two phases (1510-14 and 1541-48) are imposing. They have retained their original structure and architectural homogeneity to the present day. The emblematic monuments (ramparts, bastions, cistern, churches) are well preserved.
RABAT Date of listing: 2012:
The capital of the Kingdom joined the 8 Moroccan sites listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2012. The World Heritage Committee, meeting in St. Petersburg, decided unanimously to list the site "Rabat, modern and historic capital: a shared heritage" on the World Heritage List. Rabat's candidacy did not require a vote, as the 21 members of the committee acclaimed the decision to list it while "congratulating Morocco for having presented an exemplary site". In the statement of "outstanding universal value" concerning the Moroccan site, the World Committee noted that Rabat, a modern city, "embodies a pioneering urban planning approach, concerned with the conservation of historic monuments and traditional habitat. The site of Rabat comprises six components spread over three districts: " Les Jardins d’Essais ", "The Medina", "The Kasbah of the Oudayas", "the Almohades Ramparts and Gates" and the "Archaeological Site of Chellah".
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