Marrakesh, one of Morocco’s most iconic cities, has been crowned as the first African Capital of Culture 2020. The nomination was awarded to the red city because of its architectural, artistic and cultural legacy. Marrakesh is already home to two Unesco-listed World Heritage sites: the famous square of Djemaa El Fna and its labyrinthine medina, the walled old city.
Marrakesh is increasingly on travellers’ radars, as the government has been doing more to improve infrastructure throughout the country, including revamping a number of medinas. The number of foreign tourists rose about 15% from 2017 to 2018, and Morocco is growing in popularity with travellers from the US.
The 2017 opening of Yves Saint Laurent Museum, dedicated to the eponymous French fashion designer who called Marrakesh home for a number of years, solidified Marrakesh’s place as a hub for art and design.
French fashion house Dior also just announced that it will host its resort fashion show in Marrakesh in April, and it’s the company’s first huge event in Morocco.
The decision was made in Africities 2018 summit. Though it isn’t clear what this new title will mean for Marrakesh just yet, a number of other regions have similar awards, such as the annual European Capital of Culture, which is presented to a city in the European Union, and the Arab Capital of Culture, which goes to a member of the Arab League.