Koutoubia Mosque and Minaret, Marrakech

Koutoubia Mosque and Minaret, Marrakech (must see)

The Koutoubia mosque and minaret, located 200 meters west of Jemaa el-Fnaa on Avenue Mohammed V, make a good orientation landmark in case you get lost in the medina's labyrinth. The name is derived from the Arabic "al-Koutoubiyyin" which translates as "bookseller", since the area was once dense with sellers of books and manuscripts. The largest mosque in Marrakech, the Koutoubia is closed to non-Muslims, but everyone can enjoy the adjacent park with trees (palms, orange, olives), flower beds, fountains and benches at all times – completely free of charge.

A smaller predecessor mosque was built on this site in 1147 by the Almohad dynasty after they had defeated the Almoravides and taken over Marrakech. Unfortunately, its qiblah wall, the one supposed to be facing Mecca, was badly orientated, so instead of simply adjusting its position, the Almohades built a new, larger mosque nearby while the old one fell into neglect. The current mosque is built from a reddish-brown sandstone and is decorated with curved window arches and pointed "merlons" or crenellations.

The square minaret stands 69 meters high by 13 meters wide, with six rooms set on top of one another, and is crowned with a ceramic strip, small tower and four guilded copper balls decreasing in size. The north-western side of the minaret contains ruins and the cisterns from an Almoravid palace which stood on this site before the Almohades took over.

Why You Should Visit:
One of Morocco's biggest mosques – not to be missed!

Tip:
Equally beautiful, day or night, the building reveals different “personalities”, depending on the time of day. It is probably wise to avoid Fridays until after 3pm-ish, when the place is not so busy with worshipers.
Make sure to walk around the entire mosque, as there are picturesque views all around it. Don't miss the gardens behind – a perfect place for a good glass of mint tea and watching the world go by.

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.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Koutoubia Mosque and Minaret on Map

Sight Name: Koutoubia Mosque and Minaret
Sight Location: Marrakech, Morocco (See walking tours in Marrakech)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Marrakech, Morocco

Create Your Own Walk in Marrakech

Create Your Own Walk in Marrakech

Creating your own self-guided walk in Marrakech is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Moroccan Architecture Walking Tour

Moroccan Architecture Walking Tour

No tall skyscrapers, no sophisticated giant malls, no anything else of Western architecture await you on this tour. Our self-guided walk is entirely about the genuine Moroccan style. We are going to reveal Marrakech which will amaze you with its majestic structures, traditional motifs, and mystic atmosphere.

Our first stop is a prominent example of Islamic architecture, the Koutoubia Mosque....  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.6 Km or 2.9 Miles
Gueliz Walking Tour

Gueliz Walking Tour

Gueliz, also known as the New City (Nouvelle Ville), is more like the downtown of Marrakech. Here you will definitely feel the Western influence: McDonald's, KFC, brand stores, and even a supermarket. Still, Gueliz is also famous for its art galleries and parks.

We'll start our acquaintance with Gueliz in the El-Harti Gardens (Jnane El Harti), a peaceful oasis amidst the bustling...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 Km or 1.9 Miles
Moroccan Palaces Walking Tour

Moroccan Palaces Walking Tour

One of the meaningful ways to pass the time away in Marrakech is to visit the local palaces. This is particularly true given that some of them, now restored and refurbished, function as museums. Others, on the other hand, are slowly turning into ruins, which is sad. Nonetheless, they all have a long story to tell and spectacular architecture fit to amaze any beholder.

Among the most renowned...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Marrakech Introduction Walking Tour

Marrakech Introduction Walking Tour

The fourth largest city in Morocco, Marrakech is a true out-of-the-ordinary getaway combining old historic atmosphere with a lively sights of today. The medina quarter of Marrakech – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – comprises a medieval walled city, dating back hundreds of years to the days of Berber Empire, whose mazelike alleys are still densely packed with vendors and stalls luring buyers...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 Km or 2.4 Miles
Medina Walking Tour

Medina Walking Tour

Marrakech Medina is a historic district dating back to the Middle Ages. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985, this ancient walled city is a labyrinthine maze of narrow streets and bustling markets, known as souks, where you can immerse yourself in the local way of life.

One of the most iconic spots here is Jemaa el-Fnaa, a bustling square that comes alive with street performers,...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.9 Km or 1.2 Miles
Marrakech Top Religious Sites

Marrakech Top Religious Sites

Islam is the official religion in Morocco, which is why it is only natural that mosques are the dominant religious sites in the country, and Marrakech is no exception. Outside these places of worship, the city's religious scene is represented by unique historical monuments (koubbas), cemeteries, and mausoleums – all quite interesting to explore.

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

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