To immerse yourself in the culture of Marrakech, take a dip into the city’s legacy of innovation when it comes to supplying itself with water.
Marrakech, located in the desert by the Atlas Mountains, was built on “love and water” by the Berber Chief Abu Bakr to honour his wife, Princess Zaynab.
“Zaynab was actually a woman of great beauty and passion. The great founder made this city in her honour. It is love which founded Marrakech”, recounts historian Jafaar Kansoussi.
Remarkably, medieval engineers were behind the ingenious way the bon- dry environment was transformed into a thriving metropolis.
The Almoravids built khetteras in the 11th Century which supplied their new capital with water. These canals irrigated the olive groves which remain today at the Menara Gardens and Pavilion, a beautiful reservoir and park built in the 12th Century by the Almohads, just three kilometres from the Medina. The park is mainly used by locals and is features a spectacular view of the Atlas Mountains.
Should you wish to venture further in your own ‘tough truck’, head to the former Moroccan capital Aghmat, itself a site of continuing archaeological discoveries, and over the Atlas Mountains, where khetteras can still be found at the edge of the Sahara on the R702 near El Jorf.
The most modern museum in Africa has been built in the suburbs of Marrakech to document the importance of water in Moroccan history. Just outside the city on the Circuit de Palmerie, the Mohammed VI Museum of Water Civilization tells tales of the history and heritage of water in Marrakech through interactive displays and hi-tech screenings running all day.
Interested in all things Morocco? Join presenter Laura Guiauchain as she travels in a variety of trucks to the four Imperial Cities, seeking the origins of Morocco in our off-the-beaten track episode Tough Trucks: Morocco.