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  • Pierre @ Riad Dar Chacha

Medersa Ben Youssef: 2022 saw the reopening of the architectural jewel of Marrakesh.

Updated: Oct 17, 2023

The Medersa Ben Youssef in Marrakesh is a former Koranic school located near the mosque of the same name. Its architecture is considered a jewel of Arab-Andalusian art. It is the largest madrasa in the Maghreb, named for its proximity to the neighbouring mosque built by the Almoravide ruler Ali ibn Youssef, and was built on the site of an old Almoravid or Almohad madrasa, or replaced a madrasa built by the Merinid ruler. The building, on two levels, has a quadrilateral shape of about 40 m x 43 m, with a corridor leading to a square vestibule, student dormitories, a spacious courtyard with a central pool and galleries framing the sides. The marble-paved courtyard has polychrome ceramic paneled walls with inscriptions in Arabic characters, and the interior walls of the first floor are covered with plaster carved with floral motifs. The glazed tile roof has a cornice with wooden brackets of rare splendor and typical of Moroccan architecture.

Discover the history of this Koranic school:

It was founded in the 14th century to accommodate up to 900 theological students and became one of the most important schools in the Maghreb in the 16th century.

The Medersa Ben Youssef in Marrakesh is an old Koranic school that was built in 1570 at the request of the Saadian Sultan Abdellah Al Ghalib to educate the youth of the mosque of the same name. It was named after Ali Ben Youssef, one of the great sultans of Marrakesh. Over the centuries, hundreds of students from all over the world have studied in this school. When you visit the Medersa Ben Youssef, you can imagine yourself in the shoes of one of these students who lived and studied in the many rooms on the site.

Restored in 1999 by the Omar Benjelloun Foundation, a wealthy Moroccan industrialist, it was still in operation 50 years ago and is now open to tourists. During your visit, you can admire the courtyard, which is an architectural masterpiece, as well as the students' rooms, the prayer room and the marble basin used for ablutions.

The Ben Youssef Medersa was taken over by the Moroccan state in 2017 and closed for extensive renovation work, and reopened to the public on 20 April 2022.

Visitors' information:

The Ben Youssef Medersa in Marrakesh is easily accessible by walking to the square of the same name, near the Ben Youssef Mosque and the Marrakesh Museum.

  • The entrance fee is 40 dirhams to discover Moroccan culture and admire the architecture of this historic building.

  • Opening hours are from 9.30 am to 3 pm from April to September, and from 9.30 am to 6 pm the rest of the year. The school is closed on religious holidays and May 1st.

Visiting the school will allow you to discover how the students lived and studied there and to immerse yourself in the rich heritage of Marrakesh.

Finally, the Ben Youssef Medersa is also a place of culture and religion. It is a place of prayer for Muslims and a place of learning for students of theology, so it is a testimony to Islamic culture and religion and to the richness of the talents of Moroccan craftsmen.

📍 where to find the Medersa Ben Youssef : click here for location

Why visit our Riad?

The historic city of Marrakesh, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the ideal place to discover the history and antiquities of North Africa. The Medina is the cultural centre of the city, home to traditional riads, historic buildings, and points of interest such as Jamaa El Fna Square, Badii Palace, Bahia Palace, the Saadian Tombs and the Medersa Ben Youssef. If you're looking for a colourful, lively atmosphere bursting with culture, emotion and scents, the Medina is the place to be.

And, if you prefer tranquility, Riad Dar Chacha, with its 150 m2 garden terrace, is the perfect choice for an authentic and exotic experience in Marrakesh. Nestled in the heart of the old city, our Riad offers the best services for your stay, with a friendly staff dedicated to the well-being of its guests and is ideally located to visit all the historical places of the medina.

Contact us at for any information request.

© P&E Invest Maroc

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