Ben Youssef Mosque

Marrakech, Morocco

Ben Youssef Mosque

The Ben Youssef Mosque (also known by its English spelling as the "Ibn Yusuf Mosque"), is a mosque in the Medina quarter of Marrakesh, Morocco, named after the Almoravid emir Ali ibn Yusuf. It is arguably the oldest and most important mosque in Marrakesh.

The first mosque in Marrakesh was erected by the Almoravid emir Yusuf ibn Tashfin in the 1070s, to serve as the central congregational mosque of the fledgling city. It was one of the first brick buildings in the city, and Ibn Tashfin is said to have been personally engaged in mixing the mortar and laying of the bricks. His son and successor Ali ibn Yusuf ("Ben Youssef", from the French transliteration) built a grand new central mosque, named the Masjid al-Siqaya ("mosque of the fountain") on account of the large fountain with a marble basin in its courtyard. It cost nearly 60,000 gold dinars, and was completed sometime between 1120 and 1132. The minaret, which was probably one of the last elements constructed, was begun in 1129 and finished in 1132. It was the largest mosque built in the Almoravid empire, with a rectangular base of 120 by 80 meters, and a minaret on its western side estimated to be 30 or 40 meters high. The rising city's layout was organized around it, and together with the neighboring souqs, it formed the center of early Marrakesh's city life. The nearby Qubba Ba'adiyyin was one of the monumental ablution fountains connected to it.



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