Jamaa el Fna is a square and market place in Marrakesh's medina quarte. The origin of its name is unclear: Jemaa means "congregational mosque" in Arabic, probably referring to a destroyed Almoravid mosque. "Fanâʼ" or "finâ'" can mean "death" or "a courtyard, space in front of a building." Thus, one meaning could be "The mosque or assembly of death," or "The Mosque at the End of the World". A more likely explanation is that it refers to a mosque with a distinctive courtyard or square in front of it.
Marrakesh was founded by the Almoravids 1070-1072. After a destructive struggle, it was falling to the Almohads in 1147. Following this, Jamaa el Fna was renovated along with much of the city. The city walls were also extended by Abou Yacoub Youssef and particularly by Yacoub el Mansour 1147-1158. The surrounding mosque, palace, hospital, parade ground and gardens around the edges of the marketplace were also overhauled, and the Kasbah was fortified. Subsequently, with the fortunes of the city, Jamaa el Fna saw periods of decline and also renewal.