Marrakech Celebrates 30 Years as UNESCO World Heritage Site

Rabat – The city of Marrakech celebrates its 30th anniversary of becoming an UNESCO World Heritage Site.The Moroccan ‘Red City’ commemorates on December 18-20 30 years since UNESCO declared the old town area of Marrakech as World Heritage Site in 1985.Over the past three decades, Marrakech, Morocco’s fourth largest cities, has been maintained and rehabilitated structurally, including its world-famous medina, its gardens and various historical sites, considered a world patrimony. The celebration this weekend takes place at Ben Youssef Madrasa, the historic center of the medina, Telquel news reported.Several Moroccan personalities have been invited to the unique celebration including politicians, culture experts and those responsible for “preserving the heritage” of Marrakech.Among personalities attending the city’s 30th anniversary were Amine Sbihi, Minister of Culture, and Belkaid Larbi, Chairman of the Board of the City of Marrakech, the report noted.Maintaining its classification as World Heritage Site has been both a rewarding and challenging task for the ‘Red City’ UNESCO officials highlighted during the ceremony.“The city faced a difficult challenge: ensuring sustainable and economic development and meeting the challenges of the tourism sector, while ensuring to preserve this environment and unique cultural heritage” Michael Millward, spokesman of UNESCO said.“All the inhabitants of Marrakech and Moroccans in general must take ownership of this place, to be proud of and work to preserve it,” he added.A World Heritage Site is a physical location, man-made or found in nature, that is listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as being of special cultural or physical significance.According to UNESCO’s website, Morocco has 9 cultural locations that have been declared World Heritage Sites since 1981, namely the Medina of Fez (1981), the Medina of Marrakech (1985), the Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou (1987), the Historic City of Meknes (1996), the Archaeological Site of Volubilis (1997), the Medina of Tétouan (1997), the Medina of Essaouira (2001), the Portuguese City of Mazagan (El Jadida) (2004), and Rabat.

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