Bab Agnaou Gate, Marrakech, Morocco, Africa.
Bab Agnaou (Arabic باب اكناو) is one of the nineteen gates of Marrakech. It was built in the 12th century during the Almohad dynasty.
The name Agnaou, like Gnaoua in Berber, refers to black people (cf. Akal-n-iguinawen - land of the black). The gate was called Bab al Kohl (also referring to black people) or Bab al Qsar (palace gate) - in some historical sources.
It's unique colour, an ochre with bluish tinges, is representative of the sandstone hewn from the Gueliz mountain range, west of Marrakech.
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, which were also used in Al-Andalus. (Arabic: الأندلس, trans. al-ʼAndalus, Spanish: Al-聲dalus) was the Arabic name given to a nation and territorial region also commonly referred to as Moorish Iberia.
The name describes parts of the Iberian Peninsula and Septimania governed by Muslims (given the generic name of Moors), at various times in the period between 711 and 1492, although the territorial boundaries underwent constant changes due to wars with the Christian Kingdoms.
Bab Agnaou was renovated and its opening reduced in size, during sultan Mohammed ben Abdallah's rule.
Forerunners of this horseshoe-shaped gate with its inscriptions from the Quran, can be found in the Mezquita in Cordoba. It shows many similarities to the contemporary, and much simpler, Bab Er-Rouah in Rabat.
Bab Agnaou gives entrance to the royal kasbah in the southern part of the medina of Marrakech. The kasbah, built by the Almohad sultan Yaqub al-Mansour, is the site of El Mansouria (the kasbah mosque), the El Badi Palace and the Saadian Tombs.
Taken on March 16th 2008.
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