Ben Youssef Madrassa | The first islamic school in Marrakech, Morocco
The Ben Youssef Madrasa is the largest madrasa in Morocco and one of the largest and most important in North Africa. Founded in the 14th century and later expanded, it ceased to function as an Islamic college in 1960, but remains one of the finest buildings in Marrakesh.
Ben Youssef school is an unparalleled architectural masterpiece and dates back to the era of the Merini dynasty in 747 AH | 1346 CE in the fourteenth century. Later, the reign of the Saadians enlarged and redecorated the building in 1570 and was considered the largest center for Islamic studies in North Africa.
The school features beautiful designs that combine Islamic, Spanish, and Roman architecture. In the heart of the school, you will find an open courtyard surrounded by a collection of beautiful domes. The Madrassa was for more than four centuries a home for students in search of knowledge in various sciences, including theology. It had 132 rooms for non-Marrakesh students and could accommodate up to 900 students.
Some elements of the medersa are remarkably similar to the Alhambra Palace in Granada, indicating that Andalusian artists were probably brought from Spain to help build the school. But in 1960, it was transformed into a museum, and since then, it is one of the most popular tourist sites in Marrakech.