Essential Architecture-  Morrocco

Koutoubia Minaret in Morrocco












  This building was the model for the famous Giralda Tower in Seville.

The "Giralda Tower" was based on the eight-hundred-year-old Koutoubia Minaret in Morrocco. At once after the conquest of Marrakech, Almohades undertook the construction of a mosque on the site of a Almohavide palace. The minaret was completed under the reign of Yacoub el-Mansour (1184-1199) and was used as model for Giralda of Seville then for the Hassan Tower of Rabat..

From the "Square of the Dead" DJemaa El-Fna Square, one can already see the city's landmark, the minaret of the venerable Koutoubia Mosque. It was named after the souk el koutoubiyyin, the bazaar of the book-traders, which is nearby. It might well be noted that this market originated in the 12th century, a long period during which a Christian European would have been hard-pressed to write the word book. The hall-type mosque has 17 aisles and 112 columns covering a total floor area of 5400 sq.m (58,000 sq. ft) and is thus among the largest of its kind - 25,000 faithful can say their prayers within it. At the end of the prayer hall is an ornately carved minbar (pulpit), which is supposed to be a remnant of the Almoravid mosque destroyed by the Almohad builders of the present edifice. The pulpit is said to have come from Cordoba; its donor is believed to have been the Almoravid sultan Ali ben Youssef (1107-1143).

The square minaret, which wasn't completed until the reign of Yacoub el Mansour (1184-1199), was the direct model for the Giralda in Sevilla and the Hassan Tower in Rabat. It is considered the ultimate structure of its kind. The tower is 69 m (221 ft) in height, its lateral length 12,8 m (41 ft). Six rooms one above the other, constitute the interior; leading around them is a ramp, by way of which the muezzin could ride up to the balcony. The tower is adorned with four copper globes. According to legend, they were originally made of pure gold, and there were once supposed to have been only three. The fourth was donated by the wife of Yacoub el Mansour as compensation for her failure to keep the fast for one day during the month of Ramadan. She had her golden jewelry melted down, to fashion the fourth globe.

Note- the Giralda Tower incorporates the four globes at the four corners of the main (lower) tower, as opposed to the stacked globes of the Koutoubia Minaret.