Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Almoravid Qoubba - Marrakech

Close to the impressive Ali ben Youssef Mosque in Marrakech you find the Almoravid Qoubba. It is the oldest building in the city, going back nearly 900 years.

It is the only intact monument left by the Almoravid dynasty , except some of the old city walls of Marrakesh. Another monument left by the Almoravids is a minaret found in El Jadida or Mazghan, (Arabic:الجديدة "new"), a port city on the Atlantic coast of Morocco.

The Almoravid Qoubba escaped the widespread destruction by the succeeding Almohad dynasty. It was originally used for ablutions before prayer in the next-door Ali ben Youssef Mosque (relying on the revolutionary hydraulics of khatteras, drainage systems dug down into the water table), and also had a system of toilets, showers, and faucets for drinking water.

At the entrance and at the top of the prayer room is the inscription:

"I was created for science and prayer, by the prince of the believers, descendant of the prophet, Abdallah, most glorious of all Caliphs. Pray for him when you enter the door, so that you may fulfill your highest hopes."
The Qoubba was restored in the 16th and 19th century, before it was buried under one of the outbuildings of the Ali ben Youssef Mosque.

It was excavated from the rubble of the original Ali ben Youssef Mosque and Medersa in 1948. The fascinating building is resting on the 12th century city level.

You may admire the monument from the outside, or buy tickets at the nearby Marrakech city museum.

See the location of the
Almoravid Qoubba on this map of Marrakech

Marrakech A-Z 2010 in a larger map

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