The Koutoubia Mosquethe is the meeting point in the heart of the city was built during the 12th century by the Almohad dynasty. Today, at 70 meters high, the minaret remains the highest structure and the Koutoubia Mosque the largest mosque in Marrakech. Local laws restrict any new building projects from exceeding the height of the minaret, providing a focal point for all to enjoy.
While the original mosque was built during the Almoravid dynasty’s reign, the Almohad dynasty is said to have levelled the mosque when they came to rule, as the building failed to properly face Mecca. They began reconstruction of the mosque as it stands currently. During the rebuild, the Koutoubia minaret acted as a model to the Hassan II Mosque in Rabat and also the Le Giralda in Seville, Spain, as the Almohad empire expanded its empire north into Andalusia. Hence, the structure is a fine example of Moorish architecture with its keystone arches and decorative stonework.
Like all buildings in Marrakech, the structure is rose coloured. The name koutoubia originates from the Arabic word for bookseller; back in the day up to 100 booksellers would trade at the entrance to the mosque and in the surrounding gardens. While the booksellers are no longer present, men still sell small trinkets and even nuts and popcorn at dusk when locals gather here to whittle away the hours under the shade of the orange trees.