## Abstract

We introduce a new quasi-isometry invariant corank X of a metric space X called subexponential corank. A metric space X has subexponential corank k if roughly speaking there exists a continuous map , T is a topological space, such that for each the set g -1(t) has subexponential growth rate in X and the topological dimension dimT = k is minimal among all such maps. Our main result is the inequality for a large class of metric spaces X including all locally compact Hadamard spaces, where rank h X is the maximal topological dimension of among all CAT(—1) spaces Y quasi-isometrically embedded into X (the notion introduced by M. Gromov in a slightly stronger form). This proves several properties of rank h conjectured by Gromov, in particular, that any Riemannian symmetric space X of noncompact type possesses no quasi-isometric embedding of the standard hyperbolic space H n with n – 1 > dim X – rank X.