THE AGHMAT FOUNDATION

AN INTERNATIONAL TEAM OF ARCHAEOLOGISTS, SUPPORTED BY A PRIVATE MOROCCAN FOUNDATION, IS NOW BRINGING MEDIEVAL AGHMAT BACK TO LIFE!!!

THE MEDIEVAL CITY OF AGHMAT: A Commercial, Cultural, and Religious Center.

Known in historical texts, even before the advent of Islam, the city of Aghmat is located at the foot of the Atlas Mountains, 30 km southeast of Marrakech. It was a major focus of Moroccan civilization. As a dynamic commercial and religious center, it served as a capital twice in succession, first under a regime of local Maghrawa emirs, then under the Almoravid dynasty, just before the founding of Marrakech around the year 1070-71. From that point on, Marrakech stole the limelight causing a decline in Aghmat’s prosperity, and to a large extent, its very existence by the late 14th century. In the texts of Arabic geographers, Al-Ya’qubi (ninth century) and Ibn Hawqal (tenth century) through al-Bakri (eleventh century) and especially al-Idrisi (twelfth century) , the city is described as prosperous. As a major entrepot for trans-Saharan trade, it attracted traders and scholars from Ifriqiya (modern Tunisia) and Andalusia. The city’s cemeteries contain the graves of Andalusian kings like the poet al-Mu’tamid Ibn Abbad, king of Seville and Abdallah Ibn Bûlûkhin, king of Granada, as well as the tombs of Sufis from all parts far and wide. Zaynab Nafzawiyya, the famous daughter of a great merchant from Ifriqiya, also settled there. In fact, she married three successive rulers, first the local Maghrawa emir, then two succdessive Almoravid emirs. Some say that it was she who suggested the location for the new Almoravid capital of Marrakech.

 

Aghmat History

What happened to medieval Aghmat? Our archeological team thinks that it gradually experienced urban slide southward toward the modern village of Ghmat less than one kilometer away and was gradually overshadowed by a new city, Marrakech, some thirty kilometers away. At one time, Aghmat was the most important city in southwestern Morocco. It was the predecessor of Marrakech. Today, it stands virtually buried, forgotten, on the outskirts of the tiny village that still bears its medieval name. READ MORE

Our Foundation

In April 2005, the Aghmat Foundation was founded by a group of patrons, under the leadership of Moulay Abdallah Alaoui, a man with a particular passion for the history of Morocco… READ MORE

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