MADRASA BEN YOUSSEF, old Coranic school


MADRASA BEN YOUSSEF, old Coranic school

MADRASA BEN YOUSSEF . “a mandatory visit”

Madrasa ben Youssef was named after the Almoravid sultan Ali ibn Yusuf (reigned 1106–1142), who expanded the city and its influence considerably. It is the largest Madrasa in  Morocco.

The college was founded during the period of the Marinid (14th century) by the Marinid sultan Abu al-Hassan and allied to the neighbouring Ben Youssef Mosque.

The Ben Youssef Madrasa was re-constructed by the Saadian Sultan Abdallah al-Ghalib (1557–1574).

madrasa_Ben-Youssef_marrakech was a coranic school

madrasa_Ben-Youssef_marrakech was a coranic school


In 1565 the works ordered by Abdallah al-Ghalib were finished, as confirmed by the inscription in the prayer room. Its 130 student dormitory cells cluster around a courtyard richly carved in cedar, marble and stucco.

The carvings contain no representation of humans or animals as required by Islam, and consist entirely of inscriptions and geometric patterns.

MADRASA B EN YOUSSEF was one of the largest theological colleges in North Africa and may have housed as many as 900 students. One of its best known teachers was Mohammed al-Ifrani (1670-1745).

Closed down in 1960, the building was refurbished and reopened to the public as an historical site in 1982.






“The most beautiful place in Marrakech to visit ! If you miss it while you visit the city, you’ll miss the treasures of the Arabic architecture and decoration.. It’s magnificent and so cheap to visit (only 200 dirhams, 2€)”. Visited December 2015

“Enjoyed my visit to this Marrakech landmark. The intricate tilework and plaster work is amazing. My wonderful riad was 5 minutes walk away which was a big bonus”. Visited November 2015
“More than just the beautiful architecture”
“I had a day and a half in Marrakesh, and according to Travel Adviser this was a site not to miss. As usual, it was right. I love the architecture of holy places and have visited mosques and places of a spiritual nature in all the Muslim countries that I have visited. This Madrasa is a jewel … assuming you can find it because it’s buried in the principal Medina souk. I went with a personal guide who knew exactly where to go. For whatever reason (it is the onset of winter in Morocco and cold), there were not the hoards of visitors reported by other commentators here.

So, yes, the subtle colors, the complex designs, the various materials used (wood, marble, etc.) all combined to make this just a very special place and one that I’ll never forget. But it is also more than that. It is centuries old. It was (and is no longer) a place of Islamic learning and you get a sense of what it would have been like a half a millennia ago. But more than the architecture and it’s role as a place of learning, is the feeling of calm and what might be termed spirituality. See (or feel) for yourself.” Visited December 2015



Kaat Benahid street, ,Marrakech 40000, Morocco