Bab Agnaou, Marrakech

3.3
Bab Agnaou is one of the nineteen gates of Marrakesh, Morocco. It was built in the 12th century in the time of the Almohad dynasty.While Bab er Robb was the official entrance to the city, Bab Agnaou gives entrance to the royal kasbah in the southern part of the medina of Marrakech. The kasbah, built by the Almohad sultan Abu Yusuf Yaqub al-Mansur, is the site of El Mansouria, the El Badi Palace and the Saadian Tombs.EtymologyThe most common theory is that the name Agnaou, like Gnaoua, is thought to come from the Berber word "agnaw" which literally means "deaf man, mute man" and which is used for 'non-Berber people' (who can't understand or speak the Berber language) and usually it denotes Sub-Saharan 'black people'. This can be explained by the gate facing south, away from Berber North Africa and towards sub-Saharan Africa. Some sources dispute this and translate Agnaou from Berber as 'the mute ram without horns'.Bab comes from the Arabic meaning 'Gate' or 'Door'.The gate was called Bab el-Kuḥel (also referring to black people) or Bab Leqṣer (palace gate) in some historical sources.Design and ConstructionThe function of the gate, as royal entrance, was primarily decorative. The façade consists of alternating sections of stone, likely quarried not too far from Marakesh, and brick surrounding the horseshoe arch. The corner-pieces are decorated with floral decorations extending around a shell. This ornamentation is framed by three panels and on these panels is an inscription from the Quran in Maghribi, foliated Kufic letters.
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  • The wall of around the Medina (the Old Town) has many entrance gates. Most of them are pretty restored and look slick. This has remained the most authentic and is impressive to see.
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  • One of the many doors that the city of Marrackech has in honor of the Caliph Almançor, and gives access to the shopping area.
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