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Meeting the Ali Ben Youssef Mosque and Medersa

Written on : 11 July 2019
By : Clarisse Haurogné
The Ali Ben Youssef Mosque

The Ali Ben Youssef Mosque

The Medersa and the Ali Ben Youssef Mosque are two monuments not to miss during a stay in Marrakech. Both were once the most important buildings of their time. Inheriting the culture, history, and architecture of Morocco, these places are located near each other in the medina. Come and discover without delay the Medersa and the Ali Ben Youssef Mosque.

Don't wait any longer and visit these two emblematic monuments of Marrakech!

Address: Rue Assouel, Marrakech 40000, Morocco
Telephone: +212 5 24 44 18 93

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The Médersa Ali Ben Youssef

In the Medina district, one of the oldest and most important mosques in Marrakech is a must-see during your stay! Built-in the 11th century, it was at the time the largest mosque in the Almoravid Empire and is dedicated to Sidi Youssef Ben Ali, one of the patron saints of Marrakech. 

Its 40-meter high minaret stands out perfectly against the sky and serves as a landmark from the souks and Ben Youssef Square. 

The medina developed around the Ali Ben Youssef Mosque in the 12th century before expanding in the 16th century near the Koutoubia Mosque. Stroll through the medina, browse the souks and then head to this religious and historical monument.

As with most mosques in the kingdom, non-Muslims are not allowed indoor. Even if you can't get inside the building, you'll be amazed by its mosaic-like exterior and green roofs.

Médersa Ali Ben Youssef

Médersa Ali Ben Youssef

Medersa are buildings that were once used as Koranic colleges and schools or as Muslim theological universities. Founded in the 14th century by Sultan Abu al-Hasan, the Ali Ben Youssef Medersa is the largest Koranic school in Morocco, intent to educate young men. The present structure of the building owes its appearance to a reconstruction of the ruined medersa in the 16th century. Located to the east of the Mosque of the same name, this monument is a legacy of the Saadian architecture and bears the name of Sultan Ali Ben Youssef. 
Nestled in the Mouassine district, you will be transported into a decor inspired by the Hispano-Maghrebian style of yesteryear and discover the living quarters of the students of yesteryear. Indeed, it is now possible to visit the former dormitories, which consisted of 130 rooms and could accommodate up to 900 students. 
As you enter the Medersa, you pass through an entrance door that leads you along a corridor of mosaics and carved beams before coming upon a large white marble courtyard with a rectangular pool.  Walls covered in zellij and Arabic lettering serve the two floors of the building and a prayer room opposite the front door.