The Koutoubia Mosque at night during Ramadan

P1000228During Ramadan, every night after the sun has set and their fast has been broken, many Muslims go to the mosque for extra prayers called Salat Atarawih. When night falls in Marrakech, many local people quickly descend on the Koutoubia Mosque, Marrakech’s largest and oldest mosque, in an effort to find a place to pray inside for the Salat Atarawih prayers. Unfortunately, despite Koutoubia’s impressive size, there is not enough space inside to fit everyone who wants to pray. Therefore, during Ramadan, large speaker systems are installed so crowds of people can pray outside.

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These people praying outside need prayer carpets as they have often not prepared for this eventuality. Therefore it is not uncommon to find a few sellers setting up a small stall near to Koutoubia selling carpets. The mass prayer outside Koutoubia during ramadan is a site to behold; even if you are not Muslim, or even if you are not religious, the coming together of a community is truly heartwarming and the silence that falls over the crowd when the prayer begins provides a stunning moment of peace in an otherwise bustling and vibrant city.

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