The Koutoubia mosque is the largest in Marrakech and located just next to the main square, Place Jemaa el Fna’. It derives its name from the Arabic for books “kutub” as there was formerly a book market nearby – way back in 1150. The tower is almost 70 m high and serves as a useful landmark for tourists.
The design of the minaret was highly influential and you see many other mosques with a similar design, most notably the Hassan minaret in Rabat and the La Giralda in Seville, Spain.
The minaret has three copper balls of decreasing size topped by a pointed one at the pinnacle (like one of Hershey’s kisses); legend has it that this was a gift from Saadian ruler Yacoub el Mansour’s wife as an offering for breaking her fast for three hours during Ramadan.
One of the top ten places to visit in Marrakech – unfortunately if you are not Muslim you cannot go inside, but there are very pleasant gardens to stroll in around the outside.