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Almoravid Koubba

Listed under Sacred Spaces in Marrakech, Morocco.

  • Photo of Almoravid Koubba
  • Photo of Almoravid Koubba
Photo of Almoravid Koubba
Photo by flickr user Mossaiq
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The Almoravid Koubba (also called Koubba Ba'adiyn) is the oldest building in Marrakesh and the only Almoravid building remaining in Morocco.

The Almoravids (1062-1145) were reformers and monastic-type warriors from the nomadic Sanhaja Berber tribe (in what is now Mauritania). After conquering their homeland, they expanded to Morocco in 1062 and eventually extended their empire all the way to Algiers.

The koubba was built during the Almoravid Dynasty and was probably an ablutions annexe for the Ben Youssef Mosque. For centuries it was covered over amid the many rebuildings of the mosque; it was only excavated in 1952.

Because the ground level of Marrakesh has risen over the centuries (as in many historic cities), today's visitors must descend two flights of stairs to reach its entrance.

This little building is significant not only because it's very old, but because its style is at the root of all Moroccan architecture. Its motifs of pine cones, palms and acanthus leaves were used in the Ben Youssef Mosque and other later buildings; its beautifully-shaped windows became the distinctive design of the Almohads and Merenids.

Continue reading on Sacred Destinations.

Written by  Martin Gray.

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