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  • Pierre @ Riad Dar Chacha

The Koutoubia Mosque : landmark and symbol of Marrakech

Updated: Oct 17, 2023

Discover the emblematic Koutoubia Mosque, one of the jewels of North Africa. Admire its unique architecture that has inspired many imitations and its captivating beauty that attracts visitors from around the world. As Marrakesh's main visual focal point, the Koutoubia Mosque is a must-see for anyone looking to discover Moroccan culture and history. Whether you are a photography enthusiast or simply looking for an unforgettable experience, the Koutoubia Mosque is the perfect place to immerse yourself in the vibrant and spiritual atmosphere of Marrakesh. Don't miss this unique opportunity to see with your own eyes the iconic visual symbol of this magnificent city.

History :

The Koutoubia Mosque has a fascinating history that dates back to 1120, however, it was later noticed that the building was not properly oriented towards Mecca, which led the Almohad Sultan Abdel Al Mumin to order the construction of a new architecture in 1162. The work was completed in 1199 during the reign of Yacoub el-Mansour, who was in fact the grandson of Abdel Al Mumin.

The Koutoubia is considered one of the finest examples of Moorish art, which inspired the construction of many historical monuments of the same period, such as the Hassan Tower and the Hassan Mosque in Rabat. The minaret of the Koutoubia is a reference in Islamic architecture, visible from more than 25 kilometers away and even serving as a guide for lost travelers.

That's why the famous Tower of Seville, the Giralda, was built inspired by the minaret of the Koutoubia. It is therefore not surprising that the Koutoubia Mosque has become one of the most emblematic symbols of Marrakesh, attracting tourists from all over the world to admire its splendor and historical importance.

Architecture :

The Koutoubia's powerful and elegant exterior architecture makes it one of the finest expressions of Moorish art in Morocco. Although reserved for Muslim worshippers, you can still enjoy the richly ornamented orange tree gardens that surround it and discover the remains of its 17 naves.

The Koutoubia Mosque can accommodate up to 20,000 worshippers and was once one of the largest places of worship in the Muslim world. Its immense sandstone minaret of Guéliz, 69 meters high, is one of the most emblematic landmarks of Marrakesh. At the top, you can admire a golden metal rod on which are fixed four balls of decreasing size, which, according to the legend, would be in gold and protected by genies.

The Koutoubia Mosque was restored in the 1990s to its original splendour. It is also advisable to come and stroll around at night when its illuminations reveal all its beauty.

Although entry is not permitted to non-Muslims, after strolling through the souks and admiring the snake charmers in Jemaa el Fna Square, why not treat yourself to a visit to the illuminated Koutoubia Mosque for an unforgettable experience in Marrakesh ?

The Koutoubia Mosque is an architectural masterpiece of the Almohad dynasty, scrupulously respecting its artistic precepts. The sobriety and aestheticism of the place are omnipresent, offering a stripped and purified atmosphere.

The arches of the naves are left bare, the columns of the porticoes and the materials of the inner courtyard are raw, the colour white predominates, while the furniture consists simply of a minbar, the traditional pulpit of Muslim imams.

However, the Mihrab, an architectural niche in the wall of a mosque that indicates the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca to which Muslims turn during prayer located at the back of the prayer hall, is a notable exception. Made of finely carved white marble slabs, it is surmounted by a half-dome of gilded painted wood, decorated with coloured tiles on its upper part. This touch of colour adds a touch of sophistication to the whole, creating a subtle contrast with the simplicity of the surrounding architecture.

Discover the Minbar, a wonderful piece of Moroccan craftsmanship, which was long used to access the preacher's pulpit during Friday prayers. Made from carefully selected pieces of cedar and inlaid with silver, this masterpiece of marquetry in a variety of colours is a testament to the exceptional skills of the craftsmen of the time.

Practical information :

Discover the lush gardens surrounding the Koutoubia Mosque in complete freedom, but please note that access to the interior of the building is strictly reserved for visitors of the Muslim faith. This restriction was put in place under a law enacted during the French Protectorate, on the advice of the famous Lyautey.

However, nothing prevents you from capturing beautiful photos of the Koutoubia Mosque, whether by day or by night. You will be amazed by the majesty of the minaret illuminated at night. There is no shortage of viewpoints: take your camera from Jeema El Fna Square, Lalla Hasna Park or the main avenues of Marrakesh. Discover the majestic prayer hall of the Koutoubia Mosque ! If the large entrance doors are open, you can admire the impressive white arches and columns of the interior and take pictures in peace.

Note that during the holy month of Ramadan, the esplanade of the Mosque is transformed into a huge prayer square where the faithful gather on mats placed on the ground. A fascinating spectacle not to be missed!

📍 where to find the Koutoubia Moque : click here for location

When discovering Marrakech, enjoy our Riad Dar Chacha:

Discover Marrakesh, a historic jewel registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Soak up the history and antiquities of North Africa by visiting the Medina, the city's cultural center. Discover its traditional riads, historic buildings and iconic sites such as Jemaa El Fna Square, the Badii Palace, the Bahia Palace, the Saadian Tombs and the Ben Youssef Medersa. Immerse yourself in colorful, lively atmosphere, rich in culture, emotions and scents.

For an authentic and exotic experience in Marrakesh, choose Riad Dar Chacha. Nestled in the heart of the old city, our Riad offers a peaceful atmosphere to recharge and relax.

With its 150 m2 garden-terrace, our Riad is ideally located to visit all the historical places of the medina. Our friendly and helpful staff is dedicated to your well-being and will make your stay unforgettable.

Choose the comfort and charm of our Riad for a memorable experience in Marrakesh.

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