King Mohammed VI launched his new initiative to restore parts of the Medina as well as the El Mellah Neighbourhood whilst in Marrakech on December 28th 2016.
The development plan know as “Marrakech, City Of Permanent Renewal” has been put forward to rehabilitate the old medina of Marrakech, and for many reasons. Not only does the King want preserve the ancient Medina’s historical and architectural heritage, and solidify Marrakech’s title as top-tourist spot in Morocco; he is also looking to improve the living conditions of those that reside there.
Right from the Ben Youssef Square down to Djema El Fna and the foundouks that surround them, an on-going clean-up of the city will commence. The locals will see the construction of four neighbourhood community facilities for the elderly, women and the youth.
Between 2005-2015, a lot of foundouks in these areas were targeted in an initiative for human development (known as the INDH in French) to help fight against poverty and social issues.
These projects mean that many craftsmen and artisans will benefit from this strengthening of basic services and infrastructure.
As for the Hay El Mellah, the goal is to reinvigorate the area, refurbish run-down buildings and restore their facades, redevelop public squares as well as fix up alleys and shops to help foster new tourist routes.
Not only are these initiatives about preserving the Medina’s ancient constructions, they also seek to sustain the traditional crafts and handicraft products that make the area so famous.
As a first inauguration of the El Mellah project, King Mohamed VI instructed authorities to rename all the alleys, squares and streets in Hay Essalam back to their original Jewish names – from here it will be called the El Mellah neighbourhood in order to preserve the memory of these areas.