The Medersa (arabic word for school) Ben Youssef was an important koranic university. It was built in 1570 at the request of the Sa’did Sultan Abdellah Al Ghalib in order to educate the young men attending the mosque located nearby. The medersa’s name is a tribute to the Sultan Ali Ben Youssef who fortified Marrakech in the 12th century. During four centuries, more than 900 students occupied this college. They lived there but the courses were given in the Ben Youssef mosque.
The Medersa Ben Youssef is a remarkable example of the arab-andalusian architecture with the geometrical mosaics (zellij), the arcades and the carved walls and beams. There is a wonderful white marbled inner courtyard decorated with a bassin (formerly aimed at ablutions).