History and geography of souksL'anarchie apparent that reigns in the Souks of Marrakech hides an advanced social and geographical organization. According to their profession, the activities of craftsmen and traders is governed by old rules and specific geographical location determined. The sustainability of many aspects of the traditional organization helps make the inevitable marrakchis souks.
Old eight centuries, they were at first place of activity for the weavers and tanners. Gradually, different activities settled there, exercising with the rural world as well as the city.

Over time, each trade was structured, was established in a defined area in order to form corporations. They establish strict rules and a professional hierarchy. On the ascending scale, the apprentice is the basis for a number of years, the time to learn the craft. He completed his apprenticeship by performing a piece of his own creation as a judge maalems commission (masters). It can then set up his account and become a craftsman. The maalems hold all the secrets of the profession and are the guarantors and teachers. Above them a last character, the amine (confidence man), is elected by all and responsible for resolving disputes between craftsmen and masters' apprentices conflicts. Today, the souks of Marrakech still has more than 2,600 craftsmen to twenty corporations.
A precise geography

The geographical distribution of souks is not random but depends on several criteria: the commercial value of the goods, the space needed for its manufacture and possible nuisances that may disturb the neighborhood. So are banished from the souk tanneries (Debbaghine district) where one always uses traditional methods to color the leather. Outside too bulky potters workshops. They were found tagine dishes, candle holders, vases and ashtrays to the souk of the potters (souk Ferkharines) that is now found everywhere. El Khemis Souk (souk Thursday) was also relegated outside the medina walls as it hosted the noisy market camel, now we find there a daily flea market.

On the outskirts stood up souks related to food, inexpensive food: on the southern belt were the souk of dates (Ableuh souk, olives market today), the eggs souk (Souk Behadine), the souk meat (Djemma El Fna souk, adjacent to the site), and the ever fragrant souk poultry. The latter organizes sales pigeons on Friday and Sunday. On the northern belt, vermicelli souk (Souk Chaia) saw women thresh wheat semolina and turn dough.

Similarly, the souks in connection with the rural world were relayed around the edges. This was the case for example of ropes souk (Souk Cheratines now privileged area of ​​leather goods) or Serrajines souk (Souk saddles, some copies still adorn the scene). The vast and draped Smarine souk (Souk Marshals Ferrands) now sells at Djellaba shirt whereas before there were shod horses.

Just above is Nejjarines souk (Souk carpenters) whose wide open workshops encroaching as much on the street. This is always the case, but they are far less numerous and relocated to different edges.
At the heart of the great souk, people flocked. It first bought luxury products including the souk Harrarine Kdima that sold the silk fabric Tagbutgine the souk (gold jewelery market), which is now equipped with protective windows.

There were also at the center everything concerning body care; Henna market (souk Hanna), for hair and decorative art of the hands, the souk Ghazoul. The Ghazoul clay is used today for washing hair. Formerly, the name designated a natural soap derived from a plant and the Berbers used to wash clothes and skin.
Finally, the spice market, expensive goods because sometimes from afar, are always lived in the middle of the neighborhood (El Attarine souk). Now grocers and traditional apothecaries are set up RHBA Kdima where you can find plants for all remedies, and even all uses. As for the El Attarine souk, he became the universe reflecting very coppersmiths, buried behind copper plates, teapots, sugar boxes and candlesticks.
Two main handicrafts

Two main raw materials are the sources of many souks always: wool and skin (sheep or goat). They require several transformations before obtaining a finished product.

The wool market begins Lghzal souk, where in the middle of the square formidable balls hanging, hanging on the water gates. Before or after, wool undergone primary processing in dyers (souk Sebbaghine). They are less than a dozen to further pursue the occupation against over 100 thirty years ago. The dyer spends his day over a basin of water bubbling to dive pigmented wool will soak up the desired color: wild almond for green, saffron for yellow, murex seashell for purple, stone edenzigo for blue, poppies for red, etc. The colors are different every day which pare the souk of dyers new colors continuously during drying of balls. Then, the weavers can make blankets, hendiras or carpet. The Feutrier (souk Labhaddines) manufactures the Lebda, small carpet reserved for prayer. They are only two. The carpet souks (souk Zhrbia) welcomes every day to 16heures30 the "Berber auction". The dalla (auction) is conducted by an dllal. It runs a carpet, a fixed price and auction can ride. It is a time rich in utterances, where everyone seems to play a role in making the picturesque trading. The carpets have rbati style mansions of the rich. Those nomads of the High Atlas are degraded the horizon and mountains. From Marrakech to Ouarzazate, the so-called Glaoua carpets have a black background.

The leather industry started in turn in two appendices plots instead RHBA Kdima; the market sheepskins (Souk El Btana) was converted last year into a bazaar and goatskins market (souk El Maazi) is a motorized bicycle parking. Today is the souk Nahl and Jeld souk (market skin, leather) as skins pile pile and waiting to be tanned. Tanners, who made their hard work, followed unload entire leather wheelbarrows including Cherratines souk (old market of strings). Here, many workshops give form to the material and sell belts and other finished products. Slippers Smata fill the souk (old belt market). Between Berber slippers with round toe, those Arab Pointed and creativity and daring artisans necessarily shoe found at its foot. Since all times the bags are bought in the souk Chkaïria (souk bags manufacturers). Ottomans, wallets and handbags are sold in leather goods shops, located in various souks.
Both chains are easily spotted homemade particularly interesting to discover. Above all, they perpetuate an original and vital mode of production for the spirit of the souk which is based on a combination of several trades. Each step is the extension of expertise and reveals one of the first functions of the souk: complementarity between men, each offering his expertise to another.

Finally, impossible not to mention the world of Haddadines souk (market those working iron). Amid sparks and smoke, ironworkers and blacksmiths give life to the wrought iron. It invaded all the space, sidewalk to the roadway before come alive under the skillful hands of artisans, lanterns, lamps, fences, locks, etc.

Emilien Gauthier | Marrakech

The gates of Marrakech

Before becoming an important tourist destination, Marrakech was an important fortress serving as a refuge for Saharan caravans and houses the executive power many Moroccan dynasties. The urban development of the city led over the centuries to an extension of the city's defensive walls and the construction of many gateways to the sometimes splendid architecture.
The tour of the Marrakech ramparts associated with a stop at the foot of the most impressive city gates to better understand the architectural styles of different dynasties but also to have a quick overview of the rich history of the city of Marrakech.
The gates of the city of MarrakechBab Aghmat: Door to the original plan that opens in a defensive bastions of the city. It is thought that the architectural curiosity that door is due to the strengthening of the Almoravid era primitive door.
Bab Agnaou: Main entrance to the Kasbah, Bab Agnaou is one of the most spectacular gates of Marrakech. It was built of stone and consists of Gueliz huge all different arcs. It originated, that door also had two towers which have now disappeared. It is this historical peculiarity that Bab Agnaou is named, the "hornless ram the door."
Bab Ahmar
Bab Aylen: Built in Almohavides time that door is characterized by a curved appearance. It bears the name of a Berber people.
Bab Berrima
Bab Doukkala: This original door almoravide owes its name to a homonymous territory inhabited by the Almohad populations. It is composed of two projecting bastions of both sides and a door giving passage to a corridor.
Sharia Bab Ech
Bab Ed Debbagh: Built under the Almoravid dynasty, Bab Ed Debbagh is distinguished by its five successive bends which give access to the tanneries.
Bab El Jdid: This brand door access between the wintering area and the Medina past the Manounia, the famous palace. His main interest lies in the perfect preservation of crenellated ramparts that surround it.
Bab El Khemis: The "Thursday of the door" named after its crossing point vocation to the main souk of the city who was only Thursday.
Bab El Makhzen
Bab El Raha
Bab Er Rharaza
Bab Er Robb: This ocher-colored door is a beautiful example of Moroccan architecture défenseive the 12th century. Beautifully ornamented, its historical vocation was to serve as a checkpoint at the entrance of alcoholic beverages in the Medina.
Bab Fteuh
Bab Ighli
Bab Ksiba
Bab Nkob: Without architectural interest, it is the main gateway between the modern area of ​​Gueliz and the Medina.
Bab Taghzout
Source: PM Coupry | Marrakech City Guide

The walls of Marrakech MarrakechLes 19km of walls are now cut by 22 gates. These doors are the witness of the evolution over the centuries of the area of ​​the city. Older Bab er Robb or Bad Agnaou are a testimony of architectural art Almohad while others were built more recently.
The architectural and historic interest of these different doors varies. Bab Agnaou and served as a gateway to the Kasbah and was a real defensive utility as evidenced by its passage Bab el S. Robb, formerly named Bab Neffis apricot jam which was produced nearby, seems -t for his part he always had a more decorative than defensive vocation.
The etymology of the name illustrates the rich culture of Morocco but is also often a testament to the importance of certain craft and administrative activities or certain regions. Bab Fez and opened to the Imperial City, but was renamed El Khemis Bab, the name of the market held nearby. Bab Doukkala, Bab Aylen, Yintan Bab Bab Bab Ahmar or Massufa tribes are names.

Coupry PM | Marrakech City Guide