July 14, 2013

0739 MOROCCO (Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz) - Medina of Marrakesh - Majorelle Garden (UNESCO WHS)

Founded in 1062 AD by Abu Bakr ibn Umar, chieftain and second cousin of the Almoravid king Yusuf ibn Tashfin, Marrakesh remained a political, economic and cultural centre for a long period, being even the capital of the Almoravid Emirate, which stretched from the shores of Senegal to the center of Spain and from the Atlantic coast to Algiers. After a period of decline, the city was surpassed by Fes, but in the early 16th century, it again became the capital of the kingdom. Beginning in the 17th century, the city became popular among Sufi pilgrims for Morocco's seven patron saints, who are entombed here. In 1912 the French Protectorate in Morocco was established and T'hami El Glaoui became Pasha of Marrakesh and held this position nearly until the reestablishment of the monarchy in 1956.

Because Marrakesh contains an impressive number of masterpieces of architecture and art (ramparts and monumental gates, Koutoubia Mosque, Saadian Tombs, ruins of the Badiâ Palace, Bahia Palace, Ménara water feature and pavilion), the city playing a decisive role in medieval urban development, Medina of Marrakesh, i.e. the old walled city, became an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.

Among the sights of Medina is the Majorelle Garden (in the postcard), a botanical garden and artist's landscape garden designed by the expatriate French artist Jacques Majorelle in the 1920s and 1930s. Though Majorelle's orientalist watercolors are largely forgotten today, the gardens he created is his creative masterpiece. The special shade of bold cobalt blue which he used extensively in the garden and its buildings is named after him, bleu Majorelle (Majorelle Blue). He had noticed the colour in Moroccan tiles, in Berber burnouses, and around the windows of buildings such as kasbahs and native adobe homes.

The garden hosts more than 15 bird species that are endemic to North Africa, but has also many fountains, and a notable collection of cacti. There is the Islamic Art Museum of Marrakech, whose collection includes North African textiles from Yves Saint-Laurent's personal collection as well as ceramics, jewelry, and paintings by Majorelle.

About the stamp

The stamp is part of a series of definitive stamps issued in 2011 and depicting the King Mohammed VI, the current King of Morocco, who acceded to the throne on 23 July 1999 upon the death of his father, King Hassan II.

This is a post for Sunday Stamps #129, run by Viridian from Viridian’s Postcard Blog. The theme of this week is Presidents and kings. Click on the button to visit Viridian’s blog and all the other participants.

Marrakech - Wikipedia
Majorelle Garden - Wikipedia
Medina of Marrakesh - UNESCO official website

sender: Hanane (direct swap)
sent from Taroudant (Morocco), on 02.04.2013


  1. That's an interesting shade of blue for buildings. I thought it was from the sky or shadows until I read your post.

  2. A beautiful blue. And more kings are out there than I remember.
    Thank you again for sharing these with us.

  3. Yet another country from which I have no stamps. The King looks very young on this stamp.