Marrakesh – Ben Youssef Medersa
Medersa Ben Youssef or Ben Youssef Medersa (medrasa or madrasa, depending on the language) is one of the most interesting places to visit in Marrakech. The building was an Islamic college in Marrakesh, Morocco. It’s also known as Ben Youssef Medersa (The son of Joseph School for the Quoran). The college was named after the Almoravid sultan Ali ibn Yusuf (reigned 1106–1142), who expanded the city and its influence considerably. It is the largest and most noteworthy medersa in all of Morocco.
Even if it is a bit difficult to find on foot, it’s a great and exceptional place to visit. On Google maps it looks very simple to find, it’s just 900m and two streets from the Djemaa el-Fna main square. However, once we got out of the main Djemaa el-Fna square, we got lost. It’s probably due to the streets full of sellers that intersect other streets that look the same. Therefore, finding the medersa wasn’t as simple as it looked. We managed to find it using the Google Maps application. In addition, we used a paper map we received from the hotel which helped us a lot.
Visiting the Medersa
The entrance to the college is almost unnoticeable with a single inscription on the wall opposite from the door which says “Medersa Ben Youssef”. Once past the door you can get a ticket to visit the Medersa for about 2 Euros and get right in. There’s no standard direction for visiting but arrows lead to different areas sometimes described by panels with explanations.
The visit also includes the beautiful carefully decorated interior courtyard, study rooms, student dorms and decorated halls. Going into the rooms where students used to live or study puts you in their place. Their rooms made us imagine living in their skin due to scribbles on the walls and objects. The dedication to Quoran religious study seems unusual to us Europeans, probably because the Islamic culture is a lot more religious than Western cultures.
The Medersa is a “Must See” in Marrakesh and we considered the price to be a bargain.