Morocco through the dynasties

Idrissid Dynasty

The Idrissid dynasty, whose founder was Idriss I who made Volubilis (Walili) its capital, was the first to conquer Morocco for more than a century. From 789 to 978, the Idrissid dynasty dominated much of the Maghreb, including North Africa in present-day Morocco. Founder of the first royal dynasty in Morocco, the Idrissids have been able over time to build new cities including that of Fez, which became the capital after Volubilis during the reign of the successor son Idriss II and his successors. Several monuments so far bear witness to the architectural and religious works of this dynasty such as: the Al-Qarawiyine mosque which is one of the most important mosques in Morocco and whose architecture is a real artistic masterpiece. After several years of reign, the dynasty fell, giving way to the Almoravids.

Dynastie Almoravide

After the Idrissids, a new dynasty began to reign and acquire parts of the Maghrebian land: the Almoravids. Destroying the African reign before attacking the north, the Almoravids founded Marrakech in 1062. They managed to reign over the entire Maghreb and Al-Andalus and named Marrakech as their capital. After this feat, the second imperial city became the center of commerce and the link between sub-Saharan Africa and the Maghreb. They built several religious works there, namely mosques such as that of the Koutoubia, whose construction began during the Almoravid reign, the Koranic madrasahs, the ramparts and the palaces. In addition, they also built an irrigation center to supply water to the whole region.

Dynasty Almohade

The Almohads conquered Morocco by overthrowing the Almoravid dynasty. Guided at first by Îbn Toumert, the Almohads declare war against the Almoravids under religious pretext. Their Arabic name, implying the uniqueness “Attawheed”, was the object of their proclamation. The architecture and culture which made two flagship pillars of this dynasty, are still anchored in the emblematic monuments of the city of Marrakech, the Almohad capital, through the redesign of the Koutoubia mosque whose architecture is modeled on that of Giralda in Seville. The Almohad dynasty thus ruled for half a century and weakened following a defeat against the Christians in 1212.

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Dynastie Mérinide

Founded by the Berber Chief Abou Yahia, whose capital is Fez, the Marinid dynasty overthrew the Almohads by driving them out of the Maghreb. Their reign did not last long, the Marinids were defeated by the Portuguese who attacked the coastline through Ceuta and the Strait of Gilbraltar. Motivated by the transmission of religious values, the Marinids built several Zaouias, mosques and Koranic madrasahs like that of Salé. Several achievements and foundations characterize this dynasty, the wood and stucco decorations, the roofs with glazed tiles, glazed ceramics, etc. The necropolis of Chellah, located in Rabat, shelters in it vestiges which testify to the richness of this dynasty in terms of culture, history, architecture and religious institutions.

Dynastie Saadienne or Zaydanides

The Saadian dynasty had overthrown that of the Marinids by driving them out of power and initially had Fez as their capital then transferred it to Marrakech. They had declared war against the Portuguese and recovered several cities including the city of Agadir. The Saadians have taken Spain as an ally to protect themselves against Turkish threats. Throughout the reign of the Saadians, Morocco experienced years of glory. It was at its peak in terms of culture, knowledge and wealth. The Saadians had endowed themselves with the gold of Sudan after having conquered the African Empire of Songhai. They channeled their exploits by building several artistic works. In Fez, they built the Borjs and offered a makeover to the Al Qarawiyine mosque. In Marrakech, they built the tombs of the Saadians, the Ben Youssef medersa and the El Badiî Palace.

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Alaouite dynasty

The Saadians were dethroned by the Alaouite dynasty. Originally from Tafilalt, the Alawite dynasty drove out the Saadians to seize royal power. It initially had Fez as its capital, then was moved to Meknes under the reign of Sultan Moulay Ismail, to finally be transferred to Rabat, which is the current capital of Morocco since 1912. It is thanks to this dynasty that the city de Fez has had a makeover, embellishing the whole city and creating protective walls like the famous gate of Bab El-Mansour. The dynasty continued to rule until today. Mohammed VI is the twenty-third ruler of this succession, thus ensuring the unification of the Kingdom and the transmission of all religious values.


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