Koutoubia Mosque and Minaret, Marrakech

Koutoubia Mosque and Minaret, Marrakech (must see)

The Koutoubia mosque and minaret, located 200 m 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 m high by 13 m 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 iTunes App Store or Google Play. 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

Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for IOS   Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for Android

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.
Marrakech Top Religious Sites

Marrakech Top Religious Sites

Since Morocco's official religion is Islam, it is only natural that mosques are the prevalent places of worship in the country, and Marrakech is no exception. The city's religious heritage is further complemented by rather unique historic cemeteries, koubbas, and mausoleums, all worth exploring – so prepare yourself to learn about the history of Islam as well as for a robust...  view more

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

Marrakech Shopping Tour

Probably no shopping in your life will compare to this extraordinary experience: vivid, bright, juicy colors of carpets, clothes and shoes; enchanting smells of local perfumes and spices; crafts, handmade jewelry, pottery; and of course, the long shopping mazes and souks. All this is included in this self guided tour, so don't hesitate! This tour belongs on your "must do" list!

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.0 Km or 0.6 Miles
Gueliz Walking Tour

Gueliz Walking Tour

Gueliz, otherwise 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. However Gueliz is also famous for its galleries and parks. Find what are the things that make Gueliz unique by taking this self guided tour.

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

Moroccan Palaces Walking Tour

A nice activity while in Marrakech is visiting the few palaces this city possesses. Some of them, refurbished and restored, successfully function today as museums. Others, on the other hand, are slowly turning into ruins, but still have a long story to tell and spectacular architecture to amaze with. Take the Moroccan Palaces Tour and enjoy the mystic atmosphere of these grandiose buildings.

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

Medina Walking Tour

Dating back to the middle ages, Marrakech's Medina reveals an old Islamic capitol featuring important architectural historic and cultural sights, surrounded by beautiful ramparts. Listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985, its labyrinths and its alleys unfold upfront just for the pleasure of your eyes. Steep yourself in the magic Jemaa el-Fnaa square, the everlasting scene of all sorts...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.9 Km or 1.2 Miles