Ben Youssef Madrasa, Marrakech

Ben Youssef Madrasa, Marrakech (must see)

You'll find the Ali Ben Youssef Madrasa in the Medina district of Marrakech and you shouldn't miss a trip to visit this important building, renovated and opened to the public in 1982. Founded in the 14th century and rebuilt in the 16th, during the Saadian Dynasty, the Madrasa was part of the complex of the nearby Almoravid mosque which was founded by Ali Ben Youssef during his reign between 1106-42, to which it was once attached.

Madrasa means "center of learning" and can be ascribed to a school, a college or a university; in this case, the building served as an Islamic college - one of the largest in North Africa, housing up to 900 students in very cramped conditions, as there were only 130 tiny bedrooms. These basic 'cubicles' barely had room to lay a sleeping mat or use an area for studying and for cooking – so take plenty of photos to show to kids the next time they moan about not having enough space!

Historical and academical significance aside, the madrasa draws in visitors who come to marvel at the large central courtyard beautifully decorated in carved cedar and marble with lovely stuccowork, drawing comparisons to the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. The tiles are laid out in geometrical patterns and bear inscriptions – mostly phrases from the Quran – as, of course, no human or animal representations are allowed. There is also a big pool in the middle that served for ablutions before entering the prayer room that backs onto the courtyard.

Tip:
Go early or late; avoid midday as it's too crowded to enjoy.

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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Ben Youssef Madrasa on Map

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

Walking Tours in Marrakech, Morocco

Create Your Own Walk in Marrakech

Create Your Own Walk in Marrakech

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Marrakech Top Religious Sites

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Our journey starts with the Ben Youssef...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
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