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Koutoubia Mosque is the largest and the best known mosque in Marrakech. It got its name from the Arabic word koutoub (a book) or al-koutoubiyyin (a librarian or a book trader). There used to be a book (or manuscript) market near Koutoubia Mosque in the past. In these days, you can at least find the Municipal Library (Bibliothéque Municipale) of Marrakech at the opposite end of Lalla Hasna Park.
The minaret is of course the best known part of Koutoubia Mosque. Koutoubia Minaret is in fact one of the most popular and most photographed landmarks of the whole Marrakech. It is 69 metres high and beautifully decorated.
The upper part of Koutoubia Minaret in detail. Here you can see more information and more pictures of Koutoubia Minaret.
The minaret of Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech is one of the three great Almohad minarets still standing in the world. The other two are in Rabat (Hassan Tower) and Seville (La Giralda). In fact, Koutoubia served as a model for construction of the famous La Giralda tower in Seville (the architect of both was the same, named Jabir). For centuries, Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech has influenced and inspired architecture in and outside of Morocco, even outside the Muslim world.
One of the best places to watch and take pictures of the Koutoubia Mosque is Lalla Hasna Parc behind the mosque. It is a peaceful place, full of green vegetation (something that is quite scarce in Morocco, although Marrakech has several beautiful parks and gardens).
Koutoubia Mosque is one of the oldest buildings in the city. It was built in the late 12th century under the reign of the Almohad Dynasty. However, both the mosque and its minaret are in an excellent condition and the mosque is still being heavily used by Marrakech citizens on a daily basis (entrance into the mosque is not allowed for non-Muslims).
The picture above was taken on one December evening from the roof of a hotel in Marrakech medina. In fact Marrakech evenings have colours similar to those of the Koutoubia minaret – various shades of red, orange, and brown. In the background, there is a silhouette of the Atlas Mountains, the high range which separates Marrakech from the Sahara.
Koutoubia Mosque by night.
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