Venue, Culture

Once upon a time the Bahia Palace

Per: Camille CHATAIGNIER  

MONUMENT A discreet monument of Marrakech, the Bahia Palace is nevertheless a popular stopover for tourists. Nestled in the medina, on the edge of the Mellah district, this beautifully decorated residence shows all the know-how of the best craftsmen of the XIXth century and reveals a splendid past.

A palace for 3 important men
Dating from the 19th century, the Bahia Palace is one of the most important architectural works of the ochre city. The great vizier Sidi Moussa had it built in order to be the most impressive palace of all time and also to please one of his companions. That's why the 8 hectares long palace has about 150 rooms and means "the palace of beauty"! It was finally the son of Vizier Sidi Moussa, and in turn the second most important man of the Kingdom, who completed the project and destined it for one of his mistresses. 

If we don't know exactly how long it took to build it, we know that it was long and tedious. This inspired a famous Moroccan expression:"La Bahia is finally over", meaning that a case has been without conclusion for a long time. 

From 1912, during the French protectorate, he was still a very powerful man of the time, General Lyautey, who invaded the site and made it his personal residence. He then added electricity and fireplaces to heat himself and invited some officers to share the palace with him. 

 

A breathtaking visit
At the time, the Arabo-Andalusian inspired palace, shows all the know-how of local craftsmen and even if at the death of the vizier, the rooms were all robbed, the impressive decoration on the ceiling and wall paintings still testify to the splendour of this period and its cultural heritage. It is therefore a pleasure to stroll in the ancient harem of the 4 wives and 24 concubines of the vizier, to walk in the patio dotted with fountains as well as in the Andalusian gardens lined with rosemary, orange trees, pomegranates, palm trees and various flowers of all colours. Whether you come alone or with a guide, the walk is worth the detour! 

Admission: 10 Dhs - 1 euro
Opening hours: every day, 8am-5pm