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Medersa Ben Youssef

Examine the intricate carvings of the courtyard and imagine student life in what was once one of the largest theological colleges in North Africa.

The Medersa Ben Youssef is a former Islamic college of Moorish design dating back to the 14th century. In present day, the complex serves as a historical museum. Take a tour through the various rooms of this college and find a guide for a comprehensive overview.

Admire some of the 16th-century works of art that line the interior walls. Relax in the spacious courtyard, which is composed of an elegant blend of cedar, stucco and marble décor. Note how the carvings mostly portray mosaic patterns and petal designs, as it is discouraged in Islam to depict humans and animals. The courtyard is surrounded by the complex’s more than 100 student dorm cells.

Gaze up at the muqarnas vaulting of the ceiling and examine the Arabesque motifs of the plaster work on the walls. Inspect the intricate patterns and strapwork around the arched, wooden doors. Other artistic pieces include geometric zellige tile work and Islamic calligraphy.

Enjoy the serenity of the prayer room, where you will find an array of intriguing art. Gaze up at the traditional ceiling domes, as you wander through the museum at your own pace. The site remains fairly cool and can serve as a shelter from the scorching heat of Marrakech.

The college had a focus in the sciences and theology. It closed in 1960 and reopened as a museum in the early 1980s. It takes its name from a 12th-century sultan, who played a huge role in the development of the city. There is a small fee to enter this fascinating museum, which opens daily from morning until late afternoon.

The Medersa Ben Youssef is a little north of the historic center of Marrakech. Walk north from Jemaa el-Fna for about 10 minutes to get here. See some of the main sights in the area, including the Ben Youssef Mosque, the Marrakech Museum, the Qoubba Art Gallery and the Dar Bellarj museum.

Popular Activities at Medersa Ben Youssef

It's worth giving yourself loads of time at Medersa Ben Youssef. Here are the top activities:

Would you like to make your visit a bit more special? An Imperial Marrakech 2-Day tour small group and a Private Marrakech Highlights & Hidden Gems Tour are both worth thinking about.

If you're looking for more options, have a look at our Marrakech things to do page.


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Best Lodging Options Near Medersa Ben Youssef

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              Riad Koutoubia Royal Marrakech

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