The Koutoubia Mosque, one of Morocco’s largest, in the centre of Marrakech was built in 1158 by the Almohads, one of the country’s great imperial cities.
The Koutoubia’s rose-coloured sandstone minaret stands 12.5 m wide and 67.5 m high. Adorned with delicately sculptured decorations giving the appearance of lacework on the stone walls, it is topped by a cupola crowned with three golden copper orbs and a square, decorated lantern. Most striking is the perfect harmony of the minaret’s height and width, a perfect example of Hispano-Moorish which served, as a model for the Giralda in Seville.
Legends of the Orbs
The beautiful orbs crowning the minaret’s cupola are surrounded by legend, one of which claims that they were created by melting down the jewellery belonging to the wife of Yacoub-el-Mansour, who completed construction of the tower started by Sultan Abd el-Moumen. Another legend is a warning to thieves that the orbs are guarded by jins (genies) who will plague with terrible misfortunes anyone trying to steal them.