Historic imperial city in Morocco in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, about 210 km/130 mi south of Casablanca; population (2001 est) 736,500. It is a tourist centre, and has textile, leather, and food processing industries. Founded in 1062, it has a medieval palace and mosques, and was formerly the capital of Morocco. The tourist industry, favoured by the many historic remains and the ancient souk (market), is important, while other industries include textiles, leather, and food processing.
In the 11th century Marrakesh was capital of the Almoravids, and in the 12th century the capital of the Almohads. The town was an important centre for trans-Saharan trade. During the Middle Ages Marrakesh was one of the leading Islamic cities; in 1912 it came under French rule, which lasted until Moroccan independence in 1956. Among the places of interest are the 12th-century Koutouloia Tower, the Saadian tombs, and numerous palaces and gardens.