Moroccan Imperial Cities – 2010 – Marrakesh

Day 7 – Thurs. 6 – Marrakesh – First let me clear something up. The name of the city of Marrakesh can be spelled two ways. I have been confused in my reading and looked it up due to seeing it spelled both ways in my research. It can be spelled Marrakesh or Marrakech according to the dictionary that I use.

Koutoubia means bookseller. The Koutoubian Mosque in Marrakesh was surrounded by book sellers stalls in the past.

The Mosque is west of the Jemaa El Fna souk.

The minaret stands 27 meters tall. That is 253 feet for all of us Americans.

The mosque is known by many names and sits in the southwestern quarter (medina) of Marrakesh.

The building was finished during the reign of the Berber Almohad Caliph Yaqub al-Mansur which ran from 1184 to 1199.

I have been inside many mosques in my travels and this is one of the finest. They are always very relaxing and much larger than one might assume from seeing the outside of them. They are perfectly designed places for prayer.

The minaret can be seen from 29 kilometers and has become the landmark of Marrakesh. The base of the walls are each 42 feet in width.

The muezzin calls for adhan (prayers) from all four sides of the tower.

The top is capped by a spire of balls decreasing in size from the bottom to the top. This is traditional in Morocco.

They are stacked on a shaft. There is a building restriction that prohibits any structure around the mosque to be taller than a palm tree.

There are a few legends worth reading about the balls on the spire.