Bab Agnaw
Marrakech, Morocco
The Bab Agnaou is the portion of the fortifications of Marrakesh is best known for its decoration. This gate, constructed by the first Almohad Caliph 'Abd al-Mu'min (reg. 1130-1163) in 1147, allows an entrance to the city near its southwest corner. The Almohad qasbah was built nearby decades later in 1185, and it was only then that the Bab Agnaou became one of the city's most important gates. It was through the Bab Agnaou that the citizens of Marrakech accessed the royal Almohad qasbah and its mosque, the Ya'qub al-Mansur mosque. Bab Agnaou is the only gate in the city that survives from the Almohad period, and it is notable for its rich ornamentation that reflects twelfth-century fortification design and decorative tastes. The entry portal is a large horseshoe arch with low imposts, a type of opening that was later repeated often in Islamic fortifications. The arch surround is faced with stone, which features concentric rings of geometric carvings that encircle the central arched opening. The spandrel above the large arch is decorated with finer stone carvings of more intricate, vegetal motifs. A large rectangular band of Qur'anic inscriptions in stone borders the spandrel, which is in turn topped by a thick sculpted stone cornice ornamented with geometric patterning and false merlons. Two massive brick towers border the portal on each side, and finer stone pilasters frame the central carvings and spandrel, extending from the base of the wall to the upper cornice. The contrasting colors of the stones used in the decoration is notable; red and gray-blue stones are intermixed to create a polychromatic effect. The gray-blue stones are used in particular density along the base and the top of the wall in order to give visual significance to the gate's entry and cornice.

Sources:

Bosworth, Clifford Edmund. 1996. The New Islamic Dynasties. New York: Columbia University Press, 37-53.

Deverdun, Gaston. 2004. Marrakech, des origines à 1912. Casablanca: Editions Frontispiece, 108-128, 229-232, 528-529.

Hillenbrand, Robert. 1999. Islamic Architecture. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 143.

"Almoravid" The Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art and Architecture. Ed. Jonathan M. Bloom and Sheila S. Blair. © Oxford University Press 2009. The Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art and Architecture: (e-reference edition). Oxford University Press. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). http://www.oxford-islamicart.com/entry?entry=t276.e71.
[Accessed October 30, 2009]

"Almohad" The Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art and Architecture. Ed. Jonathan M. Bloom and Sheila S. Blair. © Oxford University Press 2009. The Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art and Architecture: (e-reference edition). Oxford University Press. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). http://www.oxford-islamicart.com/entry?entry=t276.e70.
[Accessed October 30, 2009]

"Marrakesh" The Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art and Architecture. Ed. Jonathan M. Bloom and Sheila S. Blair. © Oxford University Press 2009. The Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art and Architecture: (e-reference edition). Oxford University Press. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). http://www.oxford-islamicart.com/entry?entry=t276.e568.
[Accessed October 30, 2009]

"Morocco, Kingdom of" The Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art and Architecture. Ed. Jonathan M. Bloom and Sheila S. Blair. © Oxford University Press 2009. The Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art and Architecture: (e-reference edition). Oxford University Press. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). http://www.oxford-islamicart.com/entry?entry=t276.e625. [Accessed October 31, 2009]

See also:

Hoag, John D. 2004. Islamic Architecture. Milan: Electa.

Macconi, Ennio. 1995. Marrakech. Florence: Casa Editrice Bonechi, 14-15.

Mourad, Khireddine and Alain Gérard. 1994. Marrakesh and La Mamounia. Paris: ACR Edition Internationale.

Triki, Hamid. 1986. Marrakesh. Singapore: Marka Print Pte Ltd, 19.
Location
encircling the medina of Marrakech, Marrakech, Morocco
Images & Videos
Documents
Associated Names
Part of Site
Associated Collections
Events
ca. 1147/542 AH, Reconstruction 1185
Style Periods
Almohad
1130-1269
Variant Names
Bab Agnaw
Bab Agnaou
Variant
Agnaou Gate
Variant
Bab Aknaou
Variant
Gate of Agnaou
Variant
Building Usages
city walls
military
gate
military