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Morocco’s splendid Koutoubia Mosque!

Koutoubia Mosque

The Koutoubia Mosque or Kutubiyya Mosque is the largest mosque in Marrakesh, Morocco. The mosque is also known by several other names, such as Jami’ al-Kutubiyah, Kotoubia Mosque, Kutubiya Mosque, Kutubiyyin Mosque, and Mosque of the Booksellers.

It is located in the southwest medina quarter of Marrakesh. The mosque is ornamented with curved windows, a band of ceramic inlay, pointed merlons, and decorative arches; it has a large plaza with gardens, and is floodlit at night.

The minaret, 77 metres (253 ft) in height, includes a spire and orbs. It was completed under the reign of the Berber Almohad Caliph Yaqub al-Mansur (1184 to 1199), and has inspired other buildings such as the Giralda of Seville and the Hassan Tower of Rabat.

The Jemaa El Fna souq Marketplace, By Dániel Csörföly – Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

About the Koutoubia Mosque

The mosque is located about 200 metres (660 ft) west of the city’s the Jemaa El Fna souq, a prominent market place which has existed since the city’s establishment.

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 Marrakesh, a simple crenellated structure.

Gardens flanking the Koutoubia Mosque, By Daniel Csörföly – Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

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 Marrakesh.

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!