Friday, November 25, 2011

Ali Ben Youssef Mosque, Marrakech

All mosques in Morocco are, sadly, out ouf reach for tourists, as only Muslims can enter these important historic monuments. One of the most important mosques in Marrakech, besides the Koutoubia is the Ali Ben Youssef Mosque just outside the souqs in the eastern part of the city.

Ali Ben Youssef Mosque goes back almost 900 years, dating back to the 12th century. Its has been very important for the city of Marrakech, as much of it developed around this important religous site. The mosque as well as the nearby Ben Youssef Madrassa were built during the reign of the Almoravid sultan Ali ibn Yusuf (1106–1142), and both bear his name.

If you could visit the Ali Ben Youssef Mosque, you would find that the concrete floor is not covered with carpets. Those coming to pray still use straw mats, and on cold days, they sit on the lambs skin, in order not to freeze.

One of the most striking features of Ali Ben Youssef Mosque are the brightly coloured green tiles that cover the roof of the mosque. If you happen to live in its proximity (as we did last time) you can hear the muezzin call to the regular prayers during the day. It is, for a European, a strange but facinating experience to hear those calls before dawn.

I love it, as then I realize that I'm far away and another day awaits to explore more of this fascinating culture.

You can hear the call from The Ali Ben Youssef Mosque on one of my videos on YouTube here

Close by you will also find the Almotravid Quobba, one of the oldest historic sights of Marrakech.

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