Koutoubia Minaret & Koutoubia Gardens, Marrakesh

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  • Koutoubia Mosque, Marrakech
    Koutoubia Mosque, Marrakech
    by antistar
  • Koutoubia Mosque, Marrakech
    Koutoubia Mosque, Marrakech
    by antistar
  • Koutoubia Mosque, Marrakech
    Koutoubia Mosque, Marrakech
    by antistar
  • antistar's Profile Photo

    Koutoubia Mosque

    by antistar Updated Feb 20, 2014
    Koutoubia Mosque, Marrakech
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    At 77 meters, the Koutoubia mosque is the most prominent sight in Marrakech, and its tallest building. Nothing in the city is allowed to be built higher than this mosque, not even the Royal Palace. It was completed in the 12th century by the Almohad Caliph, Yaqub al-Mansur. At the time the Almohad empire was at its peak, with territory stretching from the Atlantic in the west to Egypt in the east, and from the Sahara in the south to Spain in the north. It inspired two other famous towers built by the Almohads - the unfinished Hassan II tower in Morocco's capital, Rabat, and the Giralda in Seville, Spain, itself one of the wonders of the medieval world.

    The mosque is built of the same local red sandstone that makes Marrakech the famous pink city. Like the city walls it glows red at sunset. The architects came from all over the Almohad empire, even from Adalucia in Spain. They eschewed the ornate Umayyad style, like Jerusalem's magnificent Dome of the Rock, and created a very functional design, with clean lines and minimal decoration, that lends it a modern feel. Unfortunately non-Muslims cannot enter the mosque, but everyone is free to wander the tranquil plaza outside.

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  • CDM7's Profile Photo

    A mosque which towers above all else.

    by CDM7 Updated Dec 13, 2013

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    The minaret of the mosque
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    One of the oldest buildings in the city,which dates back to the 12th century.Easily spotted from afar due to its height.This was an impressive sight from outside,and as only Muslims were allowed inside we could not visit the interior.We did manage a glimpse of the main prayer hall as one of the main doors was open.
    Next to the Koutoubia you will find the remains of an earlier mosque.The bases of the prayer halls columns can be seen in the last photo.
    We did wander through the gardens (which are close by) but found them a bit disappointing.

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  • jlanza29's Profile Photo

    Beautiful site !!!!

    by jlanza29 Updated Mar 8, 2013

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    Beautiful !!!!!

    The mosque is located about 200 metres (660 ft) west of the city’s the Jemaa El Fna square. It is situated on the Avenue Mohammed V, opposite Place de Foucauld. During French occupation, the network of roads was developed with the mosque as the central landmark, in the ville nouvelle. To the west and south of the mosque is a notable rose garden, and across Avenue Houmman-el-Fetouaki is the small mausoleum of Yusuf ibn Tashfin, the builder of Marrakech, a simple crenellated structure. In the mosque's esplanade, which backs onto Jama el Fna, the ruins of the original mosque can be seen. Koutoubia Mosque's minaret tower is a landmark of Marrakech. All the names and spellings of Koutoubia Mosque, including Jami' al-Kutubiyah, Kotoubia, Kutubiya, and Kutubiyyin, are based on the Arabic word koutoubiyyin, which means "bookseller". The Koutoubia Mosque, or Bookseller's Mosque, reflects the honorable bookselling trade practiced in the nearby souk. At one time as many as 100 book vendors worked in the streets at the base of the mosque.

    If your not of the Muslim faith you are not allowed inside the mosque but you can enjoy the gardens and the surrounding areas ...... no admission price is charged for gardens ....

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  • sue_stone's Profile Photo

    Koutoubia Minaret, Mosque & Gardens

    by sue_stone Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Koutoubia Minaret
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    The tallest structure in Marrakech is the Koutoubia Minaret. Dating back to the 12th century, it is a fine example of Moorish architecture, and a symbol of the city. At around 70 metres high, it makes an excellent marker for tourists to help them orientate themselves. On top of the minaret are three golden balls made from copper - rumour has it that the original balls were made from gold.

    The Koutoubia mosque was first built in 1147, but was then demolished and re-built soon after because it was not correctly aligned with Mecca. You can see some remains of the original mosque in the surrounding Koutoubia Gardens. The gardens make a nice place for a stroll and enable you to have a closer look at the minaret.

    Five times a day the 'call to prayer' rings out across the city from the top of the minaret, with speakers facing every direction to ensure that all muslims know when they should be praying.

    Non Muslims cannot visit the interior of the mosque or minaret, so the closest you will get is a visit to the gardens. But you can see the minaret from all over Marrakech so an up-close visit isn't mandatory.

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  • toonsarah's Profile Photo

    Dominating the skyline

    by toonsarah Updated Nov 20, 2009

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    Early morning light on the Koutoubia minaret
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    The Koutoubia Mosque is the largest mosque in Marrakech, and its minaret dominates the skyline. Indeed, no other building is permitted to be taller. As a librarian, I was intrigued to learn that its name is derived from the Arabic for librarian or book-trader, al-Koutoubiyyin, due to the fact that it used to be surrounded by sellers of manuscripts. These are long gone, and it now stands in a square facing the Djamaa el Fna and surrounded by gardens. Like all mosques in the city it cannot be entered by non-Muslims, but its exterior is well worth a look and the minaret makes for striking photos by day and night. It was built in the 12th century and is 69 m (221 ft) tall. The minaret is topped with four copper balls of decreasing size. This is a traditional design in Morocco, but there are usually only three. Legend tells that the fourth was a gift from the wife of the Saadian ruler Yacoub el Mansour as a penance for breaking her fast during Ramadan.

    Five times a day the call to prayer rings out from here as it does from every other minaret in the city, but unusually for modern times, here the call is still made “in person” by a muezzin rather than being a recording. Rather than the more usual staircase, Koutoubia’s minaret has a spiraling ramp wide enough for a horse to be ridden to the top, but I don’t know whether this means of access is still actually used!

    The surrounding gardens apparently offer a restful escape from the city’s madness as well as a chance to get closer to the minaret, but this was a walk too far for me on my crutches so we didn’t go inside them.

    At night the mosque and minaret are nicely floodlit. Ideally you’ll need a tripod to get a good photo but a bit of inventiveness pays dividends – I used the roof of a nearby parked taxi and cropped out the foreground afterwards to get this shot (photo 3).

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  • iwys's Profile Photo

    Koutoubia Minaret

    by iwys Updated Aug 29, 2009

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    When you look at how perfect the minaret of the Koutoubia mosque is, it's hard to believe that it is as old as it is. At 70m, it has dominated the skyline of the Medina since the 12th century.

    It was built between 1150 and 1199, mostly during the reign of Sultan Yacoub el Mansour.

    Non-muslims are not allowed to enter the mosque, but you can wander around the adjacent gardens. and take lots of photos. The minaret is particularly photogenic at sunset.

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  • Mikebb's Profile Photo

    Koutoubia Mosque

    by Mikebb Updated Feb 14, 2009

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    Koutoubia Minaret
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    During our 7 days in Morocco we were taken on many guided tours, most took us to the major Mosque in the city or town, however we were only allowed to enter a few and the Koutoubia Mosque was one we entered.

    This mosque stands out above the city with its minaret being 77 metres (252 feet) above the ground. The reason it can be seen from so far is a local law which forbids any other building in the medina to rise above the height of a palm tree.

    Built by the Almohad, Yakoub el-Mansour during the 12th century this is the oldest and best preserved minaret in Morocco.

    We were inside this mosque for 10 minutes, plenty of time to admire the beautiful tiling and other decoration. We were allowed to take photos.

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  • keeweechic's Profile Photo

    Public Conveniences

    by keeweechic Written Jan 30, 2009

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    Then long path when entering the gardens gives a great view of the Koutouba minaret. There is a rose garden in the park and public toilets where the signs leave no doubt as to the female and male toilet. The gardens are always open and admission is free.

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  • keeweechic's Profile Photo

    The Koutouba Gardens

    by keeweechic Written Jan 30, 2009

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    The gardens leading up to and surrounding the Koutouba Mosque are smaller and not as impressive as the other gardens such as the Majorelle and Menara but nevertheless offer a tranquil escape from the bustling Medina.

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  • keeweechic's Profile Photo

    The Minaret

    by keeweechic Written Jan 30, 2009

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    The building of the Koutouba’s minaret was actually completed in 1196 by Yacoub el-Mansour. It was this minaret that the Minaret of the Hassan Mosque in Rabat and the Giralda of Seville were modelled after. On the top of the minaret are 3 golden balls which symbolise the spiritual world, the celestial world and the spiritual world. The gold was said to have come from the jewellery of the wife of Sultan Yacoub el Mansour. All four sides of the tower are slightly different.

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  • keeweechic's Profile Photo

    Koutouba Mosque

    by keeweechic Written Jan 30, 2009

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    Abd el-Moumen wanted to build one of the largest mosques in the Western Muslim world so in 1146 he began the building of the Koutoubia Mosque. Today it is the largest in Marrakech and is certainly a landmark not to be missed. Unfortunately the mosque’s prayer hall is not open to non-Muslims.

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  • keeweechic's Profile Photo

    Modern Housing

    by keeweechic Written Jan 27, 2009

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    There are 3 predominent residential areas in Marrakesh for anyone wanting to invest in the city. Hivernage, Palmeraie and Gueliz district. You will see many modern apartment buildings springing up and a lot of the apartments are sold off the plan.

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  • Veroali's Profile Photo

    Koutoubia

    by Veroali Updated Nov 27, 2008

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    Koutoubia minaret
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    Koutoubia minaret, 77 m high, is the pearl of Marrakesh. The mosque was built a long long time ago, 1158, by a king Abd el-Mumem. It is said, that it took only one year to build it. It is the most beautiful minaret in Morocco, with one in Fes. It is seen from far distance and stands just next to Djemma el-Fna square. It is gently lit in the night.

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  • icu's Profile Photo

    Mosque of Koutoubia

    by icu Written Nov 2, 2008

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    First built in 1147, but demolished since it was not correctly aligned with Mecca, the "mosque of the booksellers", was finished in its present shape in 1199. It has ever since been the landmark of Marrakech, rising up from the low houses and markets around.
    Its style is a Almohad, but has a good deal of simple Andalucian elements added to it. The minaret rises 77 metres above the ground, while the mosque is sizeable by itself. While it has a strict appearance in red stone today, it is believed that it originally was covered with plaster. There have been plans of renovating the Koutoubia into this presumed original style.

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  • MM212's Profile Photo

    Mosquée Koutoubia

    by MM212 Updated Sep 19, 2008

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    Interior of Koutoubia Mosque
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    Koutoubia Mosque, the largest in Marrakech, derives its name from "books" due to the sellers of manuscripts who used to be stationed by the mosque. It was first built by Almohad dynasty in the middle of the 12th century, over the remains of an older Almoravides-period palace, but was quickly destroyed and rebuilt as the original structure was not correctly aligned to Mecca. The minaret was added in the second half of the 12th century and served as a model for la Giralda in Seville, a testament to the importance of Marrakech and its architecture. The simple architectural style of the mosque is typical of the period, which is a contrast to the highly ornate style of the later Saadian period. Tourists are not permitted to enter the mosque, and photographing the inside is not tolerated either (I had to snap quickly while standing outside).

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