I did say that I would be there to help you avoid any embarrassment, and long moments of awkward silence as of course, if it’s not the Mrs who’s trying to whack you (to refresh your memory, reread the guide to Marrakech section…), it is of course the kid who wants to ask endless difficult questions…
“Well, my son, you see…
“The first stone of this monumental 19-km long wall was laid in the 11th century. The ramparts are between 8-10 metres high and are 1-2 metres thick, and enclose the whole of the old city of Marrakech over more than 600 hectares, which is like 600 football pitches.”
“But Dad, who made them?”
“Oh la la…%@$>>/&^*%….”
…Oops…now, now, no going off, must stay dignified….
“Well, Marrakech was built where we are at the moment, on the Haouz plain, on what was originally a military camp during the Almoravid dynasty (the Almoravids were from the Sahara). Abu Bakr Ibn Omar, the king of the Almoravid dynsasty, charged his cousin Youssef Ben Tachfine, who was also the commander in chief of the northern armies, to permanently station his troops and to build a fortified camp to defend against attacks from the Berbers. The first fortification was called Qsar El Hajar. In 1126 Ali Ben Youssef, Ben Tachfine’s son, continued the construction works and built the medina, which remains very similar to this day. The largest modification was in 1147 when the Amohads took power. They built the enormous quarter by the Kasbah and also the famous Koutoubia mosque, amongst other things…”
“Well, that’s the history of Marrakech’s medina, now finish your ice cream and then we’re going back to the Riad!”