The Almoravids founded Marrakesh in the 11th century, and the ancient city, with several monuments from that period, was close to the epicenter of Friday’s 6.8-magnitude quake. Several of the monuments in the city have been partially destroyed, with some completely damaged. The Tinmel mosque, which is 100 kilometers south-east of Marrakesh, has been destroyed while the minaret of the Kutubiyya Mosque, a spiritual center for locals, is now cracked, The National reported.
The minaret of the Kharbouch Mosque in Jemaa El Fnaa Square is also almost completely destroyed and many sections of the city’s historic walls have collapsed.
There were fears on Sunday that the damage would get worse as the city said it was bracing for aftershocks. “This is a great loss for heritage, world heritage and Marrakesh in particular,” Dr Ismail Shaouf, the deputy chairman of Marrakesh’s provincial council, told The National.
With tourism being very important to the Moroccan economy, officials say that families who depend on tourism to survive will suffer. In 2019, tourism brought in around $8 billion, with Marrakesh being the top destination for tourists, recording over three million visitors.
Friday’s quake was felt throughout the country, including in the provinces of Ouarzazate, Marrakesh, Azilal, Chichaoua and Taroudant, Aljazeera reported. Many residents and tourists had to spend the night outside, following fears of an aftershock.
Rescuers are now racing to find survivors, particularly in the hard-hit remote mountain areas.