Marrakech has seven patron saints who were Sufi mystics and Islamic scholars who are said to look after the city and each has a zaouia which is a mausoleum where pilgrims and those wishing for the help of the Saint or Sidi can pray at his tomb. The larger zaouias in Marrakech have mosques and they are charitable religious foundations who care for the sick, blind and crippled as well as orphans or the old and infirm. The spirit of charity is an important part of the role of the saints who were Sufi mystics and pilgrims give donations to the Zaouia. The concept of the Marrakech seven saints in Morocco predates Christianity and Islam and Cueta (or Sebta meaning seven),Jebel Hadid and Fez all have seven saints.
Tag: Moulay Ismail
Morocco ‘s 4th Imperial City of Meknes is often left off tourist itineraries. Meknes is a UNESCO World heritage site and has massive imposing ramparts, 25 kms long, built by Sultan Moulay Ismail, of the Alaouite dynasty, who ruled Morocco from 1672-1727. He chose Meknes as his capital because of the resistance and intrigue he encountered in Fes and Marrakech. He successfully defeated warring tribes and religious brotherhoods in the south uniting the country and repelling European invaders in the north, liberating Tangiers from British rule. The Sultan Moulay Ismaeil also withstood the Ottoman invaders who took Tunisia and Algeria.
A previously hidden discovery of great historic and cultural importance is emerging from behind layers of white plaster in a private residence next door to the great 16th century Mouassine mosque built when the Saadian dynasty made Marrakech their imperial capital. Marrakech became one of the great cities in the Islami c world with a population of perhaps 50,000. The major projects of the dynasty including the mosques at Mouassine, Bab Doukkala, Ben- Youssef and Sidi Bel -Abbes gave the city a new dynamic.The Saadians initiated a grand building program and moved the Jewish population to the Mellah and distributed land to Chorfa families so they could occupy the area.