Marrakech: Earthquake damages historic sites, but spares modern city

Abdelhaq Balhaghi/Reuters

A view shows the damage to the Old Mosque in the historic city of Marrakech following a powerful earthquake in Morocco on September 9, 2023.

Marrakesh, Morocco

A small mosque in the center Marrakech Medina In the city’s historic quarter, it was a treasured place of prayer for the hundreds of merchants who worked in the bustling market outside.

Now, it is unlimited.

Located at the corner of the famous Jemaa el-Fna square, the mosque had a beautiful minaret that was once decorated with a white triangular ornament, almost completely collapsed in the powerful earthquake that hit the area on Friday night.

The beautiful building is now barely recognizable. The ornate tower is almost completely gone – a bare brick sticking out of the ruins.

Outside the damaged mosque, local resident Ginette Hadimi recalled the horror of Friday night.

“People were praying inside and they started running out and nobody was inside,” the 53-year-old told CNN. Like many, she was too scared to go home.

seal, 53, slept With his entire family, including small children, in a central Marrakech park. She said they stayed together because it was cold at night.

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“Everybody was out. All the neighbors, everyone. We didn’t want to go in, everyone was scared, the tremors were very strong,” she said.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Marrakech’s medina was hit on Friday by a 6.8-magnitude earthquake, the first to hit the region in at least 120 years.

The Medina district dates back centuries and is surrounded by walls built of red sandstone. Once protecting the city from danger, large sections of these walls were damaged in the earthquake. Long sections show deep cracks and parts crumble.

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Many of the old buildings within the medina have been damaged and some have completely collapsed. On Sunday morning, large piles of debris piled up around the area, with street cats scavenging for food. Some parts of the city were surrounded by fences because the old building was in danger of collapsing.

Outside Marrakech, the impact of the quake is still being felt. Pictures show the badly damaged 12th-century Tinmal Mosque in the High Atlas Mountains.

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The images show the extent of the damage caused by the earthquake to the 12th-century Dinmal Mosque, a remarkable example of Almohad architecture.

The mosque is considered a prime example of Almohad architecture, which refers to the period when the Almohads ruled Morocco and parts of Algeria and Spain.

Other buildings in Marrakech seem to have escaped almost unscathed.

Marrakech’s crown jewel, the Qudubiyya Mosque, stood intact, despite videos showing the Qudubiyyah Mosque shaking violently in Sunday morning’s earthquake.

Away from the historic medina, in many of the modern parts of Marrakech, the influence was barely noticeable. Cafes and restaurants prepare to open on Sunday morning, catering to tourists who have decided to stay.

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