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Koutoubia Mosque

On the side of the prayer hall, the Koutoubia Mosque includes a distinguished silo older than its counterpart, the Giralda of Seville and Hassan in Rabat, and the first model that guided its construction. This silo was constructed by order of the Almohad caliph Abd al-Mumin (1163-1130) and after that, his son al-Mansur (1184-1199) terminated it. The silo is located in the southeastern part of the mosque, and it has a square design that is crowned with a skylight crowned with a ribbed dome. These two levels are also marked by insignia. The nucleus of the silo consists of six identical chambers one above the other, surrounded by a tilted straight path and covered with semi-cylindrical domes from which, at the level of the angle, some domes with sharp edges are released. This smart system is taken from the “Al-Manar” tower model in the “Bani Hammad” castle (Algeria), which was built at the beginning of the 11th century CE.
This parameter was built with the sandstone of the lacquered sandstone that was brought from Mount Keliz in Marrakesh. To reduce the weight of the silo, small stones were used with a brick in its upperparts. The sum of this building presents a façade of stone and jagger, except that it was originally covered with a layer of lime paint. The wall has been decorated with fake rendering lines to cover the faults of stone-cutting (traces of this are still visible).
The silo decoration is divided into five levels. There are flat strips on each façade that consist of cross-lobed, multi-lobed arches. As for the empty spaces between the carved decoration, they receive red-colored drawings on the paint representing floral, geometric, and written motifs (simple and double palmettes, florets, conifers, and short phrases in Kufic script). As for the last strips surrounding the upper parts of the silo and skylight, they are geometric structures consisting of white and green ceramic tiles that make it distinct from the rest of the parameter.
The principle of ornamentation of the Koutoubia silo, as is the case of the Khairalda silo in Seville or the Hassan silo in Rabat, is certainly inspired by the Abdul Rahman III silo in the Great Mosque of Cordoba, the shape of which was identified by two drawings dated my year (1562-1571) sculpted above the door of Saint Catalina] .
It is known that this silo has received special care in the decoration of its façades, especially the creation of deaf fairies. It must also be noted the influence of the architecture of Bani Hammad: in addition to the decoration in the form of vertical cavities as well as the carved facades decorated to the minaret of the Bani Hammad Castle, we find in it also the introduction of the technique of Zellig.
Inside the Koutoubia mosque silo, there is a distinctive decoration. Thus, a number of its rooms were decorated with domes: a conical dome split for the first, with an octagonal base, and four corner corners with muqarnas for the second. As for the fifth, it is a pyramid of eight sides that is based on an octagonal base and corner corners in the form of a half-cellar of the sharp edges. The latter, the most elaborate, was covered in a dome with transcendent ribs on muqarnas and octagonal corners. As for the third and fourth chambers, they have a dome of sharp edges with transversal arches resting on small columns in the corners.
Although these domes are located inside the silo, they have enjoyed a careful work that emphasizes the importance of this architectural achievement in its entirety, and its diversity is reminiscent of the domes of the Mosque of Bab al-Mardom in Toledo, which, despite its historical predecessor (end of the 10th century AD), remains a testament to these strong links between Andalusian art And his Maghreb counterpart

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