Religious Walking Tour in Marrakech, Marrakech

Morocco's official religion is Islam. Therefore the most numerous religious structures in Marrakech are the mosques. This tour will introduce you to the most famous of them, as well as to some historic cemeteries, koubbas, and mausoleums. Prepare yourself to learn about the history of Islam and enjoy the architecture of Marrakech's religious attractions by taking the tour below.
You can follow this self-guided walking tour to explore the attractions listed below. How it works: download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Religious Walking Tour in Marrakech Map

Guide Name: Religious Walking Tour in Marrakech
Guide Location: Morocco » Marrakech (See other walking tours in Marrakech)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 6
Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 km
Author: ann
1
Saadian Tombs

1) Saadian Tombs (must see)

If you want to understand the incredible beauty of ancient Marrakech, you should visit the Saadian Tombs in the medina district.

The Saadian Dynasty ruled in Morocco from 1554 until 1659 and almost nothing remains intact from their reign, except the tombs which were commissioned by Sultan Ahmed al-Mansur in 1554 for himself and his family.

When the dynasty fell to the Alaouite Dynasty, the new Sultan Moulay Ismail wanted everything built by the Saadians destroyed but drew the line at touching the tombs. Instead, he had them partially sealed off, although important people were buried there until as late as 1792.

The tombs remained hidden until 1917 when they were discovered and restored by the Beaux Arts Service. The entrance is guarded by Daturas and Cypresses and in the surrounding gardens are the graves of soldiers and imperial household staff.

The mausoleum is made up of three beautiful rooms, each with domed ceilings, stalactites made of plaster and intricately carved marble pillars. 60 members of the Saadian family are entombed in the Hall of the Twelve Columns – which sounds, and looks, like something out of Lord of The Rings! The walls are covered in mosaics forming geometrical patterns, the high roof is domed and the pillars are of grey marble.

Because they were sealed and protected from external conditions the tombs were remarkably well preserved and the Beaux Arts have done a wonderful restoration job and those who rest here, rest in peace.

Why You Should Visit:
The stunning architecture of where the tombs are held will keep you in awe of the great design works back in those days.

Tip:
When exiting, go and have a drink at the terrace of the Kasbah Café and overlook the square where the men will enter the mosk.
Also, on the corner is an argan cooperation with some of the best organic argan oil in Marrakesh. Buy some amlou there and you'll never eat Nutella again!

Opening Hours:
Daily: 8am-4pm
2
Mansouria Mosque

2) Mansouria Mosque

Mansouria Mosque was built by Yakub al-Mansur, the Victorious. It is also known as the Kasbah Mosque and is located in the vicinity of Bab Agnaou. Mansouria Mosque is one of the city's most popular mosques. There is no access for non-Muslims, but you can admire the impressive architecture from the outside.
3
Koutoubia Mosque and Minaret

3) Koutoubia Mosque and Minaret (must see)

The Koutoubia Mosque and Minaret isn’t open to non-Muslims, but there is nothing to stop you from taking photos and admiring this magnificent building, especially at night when it is dramatically lit-up.

When the Almoravides founded the city in the 11th century, they built a mosque, smaller than the present one, but when they were defeated by the Almohades in 1147, the new rulers considered the mosque “unclean” and had it pulled down.

They then built their own “pure” mosque, but due to a planning error, the qiblah wall, which is supposed to be set perpendicular to a line leading to the Mecca, was badly orientated and the Mihrab was off course. Instead of simply adjusting their praying position to be facing the Mecca, the Almohades built a second, larger building alongside and the other eventually fell into ruins.

The Minaret is the oldest of the surviving Almohades towers; it is 13 meters wide and 69 meters high, with six rooms set one on top of the other. Each level is reached by ramps around the rooms.

On the minaret’s roof you will see four golden globes: according to legend, at first there were only three globes, but the wife of a Sultan broke her fast before sunset during the Ramadan and had to give up her jewels as penitence. These were melted down and became the 4th globe. The present globes are made of copper.

Why You Should Visit:
You can't miss one of Morocco's biggest mosques!

Tip:
The building should be viewed both day and night as it takes on different personalities dependant on the time of day.
Make sure that you walk around the entire mosque, as there are picturesque views all around it.
Probably wiser to avoid Friday until after 3pm-ish as there are special prayers on Friday.
Don't miss the gardens behind – perfect place for a good glass of mint tea and to watch the world go by.
4
Mausoleum of Sidi Abd El Aziz

4) Mausoleum of Sidi Abd El Aziz

The Mausoleum of Sidi Abd el Aziz is not open to non-Muslims, but don’t let that put you off going to admire it from the exterior.

This small mausoleum was built in 1508 on the orders of the Alaouite Sultan Sidi Mohammed ben Abdellah. The building is white with a pointed roof tiled in green. It has wooden, carved eaves and a horseshoe shaped entrance.

Sidi Abd el Aziz was born Abou Faress Abdelaziz and he was a silk merchant in Fès. Apparently he underwent some kind of religious conversion and gave up his business to become a fervent follower and principle disciple of Sidi ben Slimane, the founder of Moroccan Sufism.

He moved to Marrakech were he preached Sufism ethics to craftsmen and corporations in the Ben Youssef Mosque. Sufism is the belief in the inner mystical dimension of Islam and its aim is to turn the heart away from everything except God. It was and still is a popular movement and gains adherents during times of conflict and “social decadence”.

There are no saints in Islam, but Sidi Abd el Aziz, Sidi ben Slimane and five others are considered the “Seven Men” – equivalent to Christian saints – because they are all buried in the same city. Sidi Abd el Aziz is honored on Saturdays.
5
Almoravid Koubba

5) Almoravid Koubba

There aren’t many buildings that have survived the centuries in good condition, so visiting the Almoravid Koubba is a real treat for amateur archeologists.

It was built in the 12th century and is the sole surviving Almoravid building intact in Morocco. It had been renovated and rebuilt in the 16th century, before being buried under an outbuilding attached to the Ben Youssef Mosque when the mosque was renovated and enlarged.

Like so many cities, Marrakech today is much higher than it was when it was founded. This comes from the custom of importing earth to cover the rubble of buildings that had been destroyed or pulled down.

The Koubba remained hidden until excavation work around the mosque began in 1948. It was finally excavated in 1957. Once it stood on ground level, but now you will reach it down a flight of steps.

The small building has a ribbed dome and windows cut into ornate shapes. Inside it has motifs of acanthus leaves, palms and pine cones. It has a unique support system for the roof, being octagonal overlaid by a square.

There is quite a lot of calligraphy representing passages from the Koran. The foundation inscription is the most ancient example of cursive Maghrebi script in North Africa. The Koubba was used for ablutions before entering the mosque.
6
Ben Youssef Madrasa

6) Ben Youssef Madrasa (must see)

Editor's note: The building is currently being refurbished and will probably reopen to the public in 2019/2020 (no date has been announced yet); however, the museum attached to the Madrasa is open.
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You will find the Ali ben Youssef Madrasa in the medina district of Marrakech and you shouldn’t miss a trip to visit this important building. Madrasa means “centre of learning” and can be ascribed to a school, a college or a university – in this case the building served as an Islamic college where students came to learn and study the Koran.

The Ali ben Youssef Madrasa was named after the Almoravid Sultan who reigned between 1106 and 1142. It was founded in the 14th century and rebuilt in the 16th century during the Saadian Dynasty. The college closed in 1960; it was restored and opened as a historical site in 1982.

One of the biggest theological colleges in North Africa, it housed up to 900 students in very cramped conditions, as there were only 130 tiny bedrooms. In these basic “cells” there was little room to lay a sleeping mat and use an area for studying and for cooking – so take plenty of photos to show your kids the next time they moan about not having enough space!

The large central courtyard is beautifully decorated in carved cedar and marble with lovely stuccowork. The tiles are laid out in geometrical patterns and bear inscriptions – mostly phrases from the Koran – as, of course, no human or animal representations are allowed. There is a big pool that served for ablutions before entering the prayer room that backs onto the courtyard.

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 for Kids

Marrakech for Kids

Marrakech is a great travel destination for families with kids. Not only it will be an interesting cultural experience, the little tourists also will benefit from joyful and fun activities. Magicians, snake charmers, and camel rides will certainly impress your child. Take the tour below and delight yourself and your beloved children with the best attractions for kids in Marrakech.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.8 km
Marrakech: Gueliz Walking Tour

Marrakech: 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 the tour below.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.9 km
North Medina Walking Tour in Marrakech

North Medina Walking Tour in Marrakech

Since 1985 the Medina of Marrakech has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Walk the narrow streets and discover the best of cultural, historic, and religious sights in the north part of Medina. Take the time to explore the Dar Si Said and learn about Morocco's art. And of course don't hesitate to enjoy all the souks and shops along your journey. Just take the North Medina Walking Tour in Marrakech.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 km
Medina Walking Tour in Marrakech

Medina Walking Tour in Marrakech

Dating back to the 19th century, Marrakech's Medina reveals an old Islamic capitol featuring important architectural historic and cultural sights, surrounded by beautiful ramparts. In 1985 it was listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. This walking tour will take you to the most popular attractions in the south part of Medina.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 km
City Orientation Walk

City Orientation Walk

Also known as "The Red City", Marrakech is an out-of-the-ordinary getaway which combines the old historic atmosphere of Medina with a lively modern tourist sights of Gueliz. Take this orientation walk and discover the most popular attractions Marrakech has to offer, as listed below.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.6 km
Unusual Marrakech

Unusual Marrakech

Most of the tour guides would introduce you to the most popular attractions, taking you on a tour to the imposing palaces, important religious sites, museums and, of course, some shopping places. However if you are looking forward to seeing a more uncommon Marrakech, this tour is just the thing you are looking for. Take this tour and discover the local traditions of a unique and unusual Marrakech.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.4 km

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Marrakech for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Marrakech has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Taking Care of Your Feet


To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Marrakech, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device


Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.