Koutoubia Mosque – A Notable Landmark and Historical Masterpiece
The Koutoubia Mosque is a landmark structure in Marrakech. Construction of the minaret was completed under the reign of Yacoub el Mansour (Almohad Caliph Yaqub al-Mansour), who ruled between 1184 and 1199. At the time that it was built, the Koutaoubia Mosque was an engineering feat. Today it is a historical masterpiece. Visitors will undoubtedly be astounded at the sheer size of the minaret that became the model example for other minarets, such as the Hassan Tower in the city of Rabat and the Giralda of Selville.
The tower of the Koutoubia is sixty-nine meters in height and has a lateral length of 12.8 meters. The interior of the tower is made up of six rooms that are located one above the other. There is also a ramp that enabled the muezzin to ride all the way to the balcony. A local legend exists about the golden globes that adorn the top of the tower. The original design only had three globes, with the fourth being donated by Yacoub el Mansour’s wife. She had apparently eaten three grapes during the Ramadan fasting period, and, feeling guilty for her actions, she melted all her gold jewelry to create the forth dome which she donated to the Koutoubia.
In the Arabic language the word ‘al-Koutoubiyyin’ means ‘librarian’. The mosque’s name was derived from and it was an appropriate choice since Koutoubia used to be surrounded by traders trying to sell manuscripts. Mosques are a place of worship for people who practice the Islam religion and worshipers come to the mosque five times a day to pray. The prayer hall in the Koutoubia Mosque can accommodate 25 thousand worshipers and is a staggering 54 square meters in size. The pulpit in the mosque is believed to have originated in Cordoba and was donated to the mosque by Sultan Al Ben Youssef.
The tower of the Koutoubia Mosque can be seen from the Djemma el Fna, the main square of Marrakech, but for the best views visitors are advised to view the tower from the beautiful rose garden just west of the Koutoubia Mosque. It is a wonderfully preserved historical structure, a perfect example of the Almohad architectural style and a noteworthy attraction in Marrakech.