Ben Youssef Madrasa (Medersa Ben Youssef)
The narrow entrance to Ben Youssef Madrasa -- a wooden door, little more than an unimportantxa0 storefront -- is deceptively humble. And once inside the soaring courtyard of this 16th-century madrasa and its shimmering reflection pond and intricate, vibrant mosaics, the entryway inscription (“You who enter my door, may your highest hopes be exceeded”) plays like an ironic wink.
Travelers may choose to discover Ben Youssef Madrasa as part of a half-day, full-day, multi-day private or group tours visiting the finest attractions of Marrakech such as Koutoubia Mosque, Saadian Tombs, and Bahia Palace, as well as time to soak up the ancient medina, filled with food markets, bakeries, hammams, fountains, and gardens.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Suitable for all travelers, especially history and architecture buffs.
- Admission is about $5 for entry into the madrasa, or $6 with entry to the nearby Marrakech Museum.
- Children must be accompanied by an adult.
- Tours may include roundtrip hotel transport, entrance fees, food and drink. Check specific tours for details.
- Many tours are wheelchair accessible. Be sure to check beforehand.
- For walking tours, wear comfortable shoes.
- Dress smart casual, and make sure shoulders are covered in houses of worship.
How to Get There
Ben Youssef Madrasa is in Kaat Benahid in Marrakech, right in the center of the ancient Medina, easily accessible by taxi or walking from most of the city’s main attractions, hotels, and riads.
When to Get There
Ben Youssef Madrasa is open daily from 9am - 6pm and closed on specific religious holidays. For the most temperate weather, the least amount of crowds, and the best hotel rates, visit Marrakech from March to May and between September and November.
Madrasa History Constructed as an Islamic place of learning in 1570, Ben Youssef Madrasa was once North Africa’s largest Islamic school, housing and educating over 900 students at once who were packed into dorms so spartan and small, travelers must crouch down to enter them. The madrasa officially stopped educating students in 1960, and has since become one of the city’s most interesting cultural attractions.
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- Marrakesh Museum (Musée de Marrakech)
- Photography Museum of Marrakesh (Maison de la Photographie de Marrakech)
- Dar el-Bacha Street (Rue Dar el-Bacha)
- Dar el Bacha Museum of Confluences (Dar el Bacha Musée des Confluences
- Jemaa el-Fna (Djemaa el-Fna)
- Tiskiwin Museum (Musée Tiskiwin)
- Bahia Palace (Palais Bahia)
- Majorelle Garden (Jardin Majorelle)
- El-Badi Palace (Palais el-Badi)
- Les Bains de Marrakech
- Koutoubia Mosque (Mosquée Koutoubia)
- Saadian Tombs (Tombeaux Saadiens)
- Palmeraie (Palm Grove)
- Mohammed VI Museum of Water Civilization
- Marrakech Medina (Medina of Marrakesh)