Located near the Djemaa el Fna, the Koutoubia Mosque is the largest mosque in Marrakesh. It is famed especially for its magnificent minaret, the oldest of the three great Almohad minarets remaining in the world.
History of Koutoubia Mosque
Construction on the Koutoubia mosque began shortly after the Almohad conquest of Marrakesh, around 1150. Built on the site of an 11th-century Almoravid mosque, it was completed during the reign of Sultan Yacoub el Mansour (1184-99). Its name comes from the Arabic for "book" (koutoub), because there was originally a book market nearby.
What to See at Koutoubia Mosque
The highlight of the Koutoubia mosque, which non-Muslims may not enter, is the beautiful minaret. Rising almost 70m, it dominates the Djemaa el Fna square and can be seen from much of the city.
The design of the Koutoubia minaret was highly influential on later towers (notably the Hassan Tower in Rabat and the beautiful La Giralda in Seville) and on Moroccan architecture in general. The wide band of ceramic tiles at the top, the pointed battlements (merlons), the alternate patterning on each side, and various other decorative motifs can all be seen on various buildings across the country.
The minaret is topped with copper balls of decreasing size, a traditional design in Morocco. There are usually only three orbs; legend has it the fourth was a gift from the wife of Saadian ruler Yacoub el Mansour, as penance for breaking her fast for three hours during Ramadan.
Quick Facts on Koutoubia Mosque
|Visitor and Contact Information|
|Coordinates:||31.623764° N, 7.993798° W|
|Hours:||Not open to non-Muslims.|
|Lodging:||View hotels near Koutoubia Mosque|
- Personal visit (April 9, 2007; exterior only).
- Koutoubia Mosque - Fodor's Morocco
- The Rough Guide to Morocco, 7th ed. (October 2004).
- Photos of Koutoubia Mosque - here on Sacred Destinations
Map of Koutoubia Mosque, Marrakesh
Below is a location map and aerial view of Koutoubia Mosque. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.