Kutubiyya Mosque in Marrakesh

Wednesday, 12 August 2020 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Union for the Mediterranean

© Baca12/cc-by-sa-4.0

© Baca12/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Kutubiyya Mosque or Koutoubia Mosque is the largest mosque in Marrakesh in Morocco. The mosque’s name is also variably rendered as Jami’ al-Kutubiyah, Kutubiya Mosque, Kutubiyyin Mosque, and Mosque of the Booksellers. It is located in the southwest medina quarter of Marrakesh, near the famous public place of Jemaa el-Fna, and is flanked by large gardens. All the names and spellings of Kutubiyya Mosque are based on the Arabic word kutubiyyin, which means “booksellers”. 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.

The mosque was founded in 1147 by the Almohad caliph Abd al-Mu’min right after he conquered Marrakesh from the Almoravids. A second version of the mosque was entirely rebuilt by Abd al-Mu’min around 1158, with Ya’qub al-Mansur possibly finalizing construction of the minaret around 1195. This second mosque is the structure that stands today. It is considered a classic and important example of Almohad architecture and of Moroccan mosque architecture generally. The minaret tower, 77 metres (253 ft) in height, is decorated with varying geometric arch motifs and topped by a spire and metal orbs. It likely inspired other buildings such as the Giralda of Seville and the Hassan Tower of Rabat, which were built shortly after in the same era. The minaret is also considered an important landmark and symbol of Marrakesh.

© Daniel Csörföly/cc-by-sa-3.0 © Daniel Csörföly/cc-by-sa-3.0 © Abdellatifb/cc-by-sa-4.0 © Baca12/cc-by-sa-4.0 © Martin Furtschegger/cc-by-3.0 © Omarilham/cc-by-sa-4.0
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© Daniel Csörföly/cc-by-sa-3.0
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 the Almoravid emir Yusuf ibn Tashfin, one of the great builders of Marrakesh, consisting of a simple crenelated structure.

In the mosque’s esplanade, which backs onto Jemaa el Fna, the ruins of the first Kutubiyya Mosque can be seen. A part of the perimeter of the Ksar al-Hajjar, the original stone fortress built in 1070 by Abu Bakr ibn Umar, the Almoravid founder of the city, was also uncovered on the northern side of the original mosque. Also visible today at the northeast corner of these ruins is a part of Bab ‘Ali, the monumental stone gate of Ali ibn Yusuf‘s former palace which was completed in 1126 next to the fortress before being demolished by the Almohads to make way for their new mosque. Also on the same esplanade is a small white domed building, the Koubba (or Qubba) of Lalla Zohra. This is the tomb of Fatima Zohra bint al-Kush (also called Lalla Zohra), a female mystic who died in the early 17th century and was buried here near the mosque.

Read more on Wikipedia Kutubiyya Mosque (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.






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