Riad Al-Bushra S.A.R.L.

Government Classification Number 206/2012

© 2018 Riad Al-Bushra

Mouassine, Marrakech

January 8, 2013


We are still trying to piece together our understanding of the history of Mouassine.  Being  Berber in origin the history is mainly passed down through an oral record through the generations.


It is clear that the district is a very old quarter probably dating back to the origin of the city around 1060-1070.  At this time the city was Berber and served as the capital of the Almoravid empire which reached into Spain, Mali and Algeria.  At around 1106 a major building campaign started and this was when the Andalusian style was used within the city.


Mouassine was the old Jewish quarter until the Jews were relocated to the Mellah district, probably as part of one of the subsequent relandscaping and resettlement campaigns for the area (the Jews have had various periods of turmoil and tolerance within the history of Marrakech).  However, the famous Mouassine Mosque was constructed between 1562 and 1573 during the reign of Saadi Sultan Moulay Abdallah.  The Mosque is elaborate and is part of a complex of buildings that contains a library, hammam, Medersa and the largest fountain in the city.  However, oral history gives the mosque an interesting background.  During the construction a 14th century Jewish plague cemetery was discovered on the site and rumor spread of a curse from the disturbed rabbi.  Today the mosque and the complex buildings still remain and serve the local community.


Mouassine, and neighboring Ksour, is the area of the city that has the largest quantity of historical palaces and consequently has received the biggest investment and many of the buildings are now restored.  Dar Cherrifa (open to the public as a cafe) claims to be one of the oldest buildings and is a 2 minute walk from the Riad.  There are many other fine examples of the rich architectural history of the Mouassine area.


Mouassine also acts as a gateway to the Souks and the main Souk to the Jemaa El-Fnaa square starts in Mouassine.  There are also a number of other souks that start in Mouassine and lead to other areas of the Medina and to the Marrakech museum.


Also local is the palace Dar El Bacha, also named Dar El Glaoui.  This can be seen from the roof terrace of the Riad and was built in the beginning of the 20th century for Thami El Glaoui. The Pasha died in 1956 and the Palace temporarily fell out of favour.  Today, the palace is used by the current Royal family.  Consequently the Mouassine/Ksour areas have some of the best security in the city.


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