One of Morocco’s largest and oldest mosques, the Koutoubia proudly stands over the city of Marrakech, keeping careful watch over the bustling square of Djmaa el Fna in one direction, and the peaceful visage of the High Atlas Mountains in the other. Founded by the Almohad sultan Abd al-Moumen in the 12th century, the mosque’s design was so grand that it would not be completed until the time of al-Moumen’s grandson, Yacoub al-Mansour. It is said that al-Mansour’s wife donated the gold to make the spheres that originally topped the minaret as atonement for accidentally breaking the fast during Ramadan. The spheres that exist there today, however, are made of bronze.
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