Travel to Marrakech

Day 3 Walls and Koutoubia Mosque

Marrakech


 

Bab Agnaou is one of the nineteen gates of Marrakech. It was built in the 12th century in the time of the Almohad dynasty. The corner-pieces are decorated with floral decorations extending around a shell. This ornamentation is framed by three panels and on these panels is an inscription from the Quran in Maghribi, foliated Kufic letters, which were also used in Al-Andalus. Bab Agnaou gives entrance to the royal kasbah in the southern part of the medina.

Marrakech - Bab Agnaou
Marrakech - Bab Agnaou

The medina of Marrakech is the largest in Morocco. It is surrounded by a wall about 17 km with a thickness varying between 1.60 and 2 meters and a height of 8 to 10 meters. Walls were started in 1126 by Ali ben Yusuf, from the dynasty of the Almoravids. It has 14 main gates through which you can enter and leave the old city. For its construction was used a reddish clay, like many buildings, which is why the city is nicknamed the "Red City".

Marrakech - Walls
Marrakech - Walls

The Koutoubia Mosque or Kutubiyya Mosque, surrounded by magnificent rose bushes, is inside the Medina, near the Bad Jedid, and is the largest mosque in Marrakech. It was built in the 12th century. The name is derived from the Arabic al-Koutoubiyyin for librarian, since it used to be surrounded by sellers of manuscripts. It is considered the ultimate structure of its kind. The present mosque was completed by the year 1158 and, with its 17 naves that stretch into a rectangle 60 m long and 90 wide, would be one of the largest in the Islamic world. The central courtyard has two porticoes with four naves on each side.

Marrakech - Koutoubia Mosque
Marrakech - Koutoubia Mosque

The mosque is famous mostly for its minaret with a square base. It was completed under the reign of the Almohad Caliph Yaqub al-Mansur (1184-1199) and was used as the model for the Giralda of Seville and for the Hassan Tower of Rabat. The tower is the tallest building in Marrakech, with its 77 meters high overlooking the Medina, and can be seen from a distance when it comes to the city.

Marrakech - La Mamounia
Marrakech - Hotel La Mamounia

The tower has six floors; leading around them is a ramp by way of which the muezzin could ride up to the balcony. It is built in a traditional Almohad style and the tower is adorned with four copper globes. According to legend, the globes were originally made of pure gold, and there were once supposed to have been only three globes. The fourth globe was donated by the wife of Yaqub el-Mansur as compensation for her failure to keep the fast for one day during the month of Ramadan. She had her golden jewelry melted down to form the fourth globe.

Marrakech - Koutoubia Mosque
Marrakech - Koutoubia Mosque

From the Bab Agnaou gate we began a journey in a calash by the wall, we passed in front of the luxury hotel La Mamounia, for some of the wide avenues of Hivernage neighborhood, surrounded the Koutoubia Mosque, we went through some narrow streets in the median and finish at Jamaa el Fna square. Negotiate the price of horse-drawn carriage tour is part of the experience of this visit.

Marrakech - Barouche
Marrakech - Barouche

The calash leaves us in the Jamaa el Fna square, so we were to dine at the restaurant Le Marrakchi. It has excellent views over the square. The price initially it seemed expensive, but halfway through dinner we were treated to a performance of belly dancing that justified the price. The food is good. After dinner we returned to Riad Mariana.


 

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Marrakech