14 December 2015

Meandering in Morocco: Ali Ben Youssef Medersa

What can I say? Morocco is an assault to the senses. The smells, the sights, everything is in 3D and is definitely quite intense. So imagine my awe when I entered this Islamic college. The Ali Ben Youssef Medersa is the largest religious college in all of Morocco, and what is not revealed by the low-key entrance is that it is such a majestic and magnificent building. So escape from the crowds and enter this amazing building.

This religious college was founded back in the 14th century, and it is said that at most 900 students were housed here to learn religion. As is the custom in Islam, the designs in the building do not feature any human nor animal representation, so the only thing that made the place amazing was the geometric patterns that can be found all over the place.

The immense courtyard is dominated by cedar, and features very intricate carvings. This design would be the theme of our trip in Morocco, as most other places didn't waste any surface by not designing it. My jaw literally dropped upon entering this place. It was magnificent!

Marble and stucco are the two other building materials that feature in this structure. Looking at the walls, the roof, the arches, just make my eyes swim. It definitely is a visual assault, and is something that will keep on amazing me.

After checking out the courtyard, we also checked out the student dormitories. Even though this part of the building isn't as well-designed as the courtyard, the woodwork was still impressive. This area of the building used to be the place where students lived and studied the Koran, though nowadays it is not used anymore for that purpose.

I would definitely recommend visiting this place to anyone who is in Marrakech. The architecture in this city is just amazing, and definitely worth seeing.


  1. The architecture is amazing, and I love the patterns and the mosaic. Like Chinese, the Arabic language looks great in calligraphy.

    1. Zhu,

      Definitely! I never realized the similarity with Chinese, but come to think of it, you're right!