Established in the fourteenth Century, the Ben Youssef Madrasa is one of the most important buildings of its type in Marakesh. A Madrasa is a Koran school which provides everything for its students, including dorm rooms and learning quarters. The building itself is a fascinating example of mixed architecture, consisting mainly of Moorish Spanish styles, leading many to believe the building may have been built with help from Spanish architects. The courtyard itself, though, is the real attraction. Mixing many forms and styles, the decorations are made from every material from stucco and marble to mosaic and cedar wood.
The mosque here was actually constructed in the 12th Century, two hundred years before the madrasa was officially founded. The mosque is considered so important to the city as many of the other parts of the city were built around it after the building itself was constructed. While not nearly as huge as the nearby Mosque of Koutoubia's 77 meter minaret, the minaret here is nonetheless fairly imposing, at 40 meters tall.