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Discover The Ben Youssef Madrasa Morocco

Founded in the 14th century and entirely reconstructed in the 16th century, the Ben Youssef Madrasa takes its name from the neighbouring mosque, located in the north of Marrakech's medina. Once both an Islamic college and the residence of its students, the Madrasa is one of the most beautiful monuments in the city, renowned far beyond the borders of Morocco. What is most interesting about the Madrasa is the noticeable contrast between the splendour of the courtyard where teaching once took place and the monastic deprivation of the 132 student bedrooms on the upper floors.

In the courtyard, the carved façades, typical of Andalusian Moorish art, are a wonderful sight to behold. Composed of zellige, plaster and cedar wood, they are carved with floral patterns and verses from the Quran. At the back of the Madrasa, the prayer room boasts a beautiful ceiling, cupola and finely sculpted plaster and stucco walls with openwork features. In contrast, the bedrooms located on the upper floors look more like cells. Covered with exposed plaster bearing no decorative features, they measure 9m2 at most, and are said to have once accommodated up to 4 students at a time. In its heyday, up to 500 students were taught subjects such as theology, maths, astronomy and medicine at the Madrasa.

Practical information: open every day from 9:00am to 6:00pm. Entry fee: 40 dirhams (approximately £3).

  • , The Ben Youssef Madrasa, Arts and culture, Marrakech, Central Morocco
    The Ben Youssef Madrasa
    © iStockphoto.com / Mlenny
  • , The Ben Youssef Madrasa, Arts and culture, Marrakech, Central Morocco
    The Ben Youssef Madrasa
    © ZoonarDaniel Giesen / age fotostock
  • , The Ben Youssef Madrasa, Arts and culture, Marrakech, Central Morocco
    The Ben Youssef Madrasa
    © iStockphoto.com / Gim42
  • , The Ben Youssef Madrasa, Arts and culture, Marrakech, Central Morocco
    The Ben Youssef Madrasa
    © iStockphoto.com / Camila1111
  • , The Ben Youssef Madrasa, Arts and culture, Marrakech, Central Morocco
    The Ben Youssef Madrasa
    © iStockphoto.com / Ingenui
  • , The Ben Youssef Madrasa, Arts and culture, Marrakech, Central Morocco
    The Ben Youssef Madrasa
    © ZoonarDaniel Giesen / age fotostock
Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Expert destination Morocco

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