Almoravid Koubba, Marrakech

Almoravid Koubba, Marrakech

Since there aren't many buildings that survived the centuries in good condition, visiting the Koubba will be a real treat for amateur archaeologists. The sole surviving Almoravid building intact in Morocco, it was built in the 12th century and had been renovated/rebuilt in the 16th, before being buried under an outbuilding attached to the Ben Youssef Mosque.

Like so many cities, today's Marrakech is much higher than it once was, due to the custom of importing earth to cover the rubble of destroyed or pulled-down structures. The Koubba remained hidden until excavation work around the mosque began in 1948, and you can now reach it down a flight of steps.

Embodying all the decorative motifs which linger in any Arabian Nights fantasy, the small building has a ribbed dome and windows cut into ornate shapes – a variation on the classic North African (and Andalusian) style. Inside, it has motifs of acanthus leaves, palms, and pine cones, and there are subterranean chambers within the ruins running alongside.

There is quite a lot of calligraphy representing passages from the Quran; the foundation inscription, in particular, is the most ancient example of cursive Maghrebi script in North Africa. The Koubba was used for washing before prayer, and the inscription reads as "I was created for science and prayer, by the prince of the believers, descendant of the prophet, Abdallah, most glorious of all Caliphs. Pray for him when you enter the door, so that you may fulfill your highest hopes."

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Marrakech. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Almoravid Koubba on Map

Sight Name: Almoravid Koubba
Sight Location: Marrakech, Morocco (See walking tours in Marrakech)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Marrakech, Morocco

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