ReutersThe Great Mosque of Tinmal
NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 11:47
Just over two weeks after the devastating earthquake in the southern part of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, tourism in the region is slowly picking up again. Popular attractions such as Marrakech and Ouarzazate do everything they can to make it as attractive as possible for tourists.
Minister Bensaid of Culture has visited the affected area in recent days. He was present in Marrakech, Ouarzazate and Al Haouz, among others, to get an impression of the damage, reports news site Hespress.
He emphasized the importance of preserving cultural-historical sites, tourism and their economic value. The minister wants tourist-attractive buildings and locations to be restored as quickly as possible.
A lot of damage
For example, he wants the heavily damaged Great Mosque of Tinmal to be restored as quickly as possible. But according to him, rebuilding the more than thousand-year-old house of worship is only possible if different ministries work together.
To restart tourism in Marrakech, he wants two historic palaces, Bahia and Badi, to be partially opened to visitors. The two palaces are located in the heart of the city, the medina, which is popular among tourists.
Experts believe that the two buildings are in poor condition, The New York Times reported last week. This applies to a large part of the old city. Residents of the historic center say that many buildings still look good on the outside, but there is a lot of damage on the inside.
“A new earthquake could just cause the walls to collapse,” a resident of the city’s old Jewish quarter told the newspaper.
The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises against traveling to parts of the affected area. It is not recommended to go to Imlil, Asni and Taroudant, because the situation there is still very unclear. In addition, emergency services must be able to do their work unhindered.
The rest of Morocco, including Marrakech and Ouarzazate, is classified as a yellow area. This means that it is accessible, but that the safety situation is different than in the Netherlands.
About 3,000 people were killed in the September 8 earthquake. The vast majority of victims occurred in remote villages, deep in the Atlas Mountains.
At least 2,900 towns, villages and hamlets have suffered damage. In total, around 60,000 houses were damaged. According to authorities, a third of the homes have been completely destroyed.
Morocco plans to spend almost 11 billion euros on reconstruction. The royal family wants to spend at least five years on this, a period during which the infrastructure in the area must also be modernized.
The area is one of the poorest in the country, with remote villages lacking good roads and public services.