The Palais de la Bahia (Bahia Palace) is a building from the late 19th century and was then the largest palace of its time. The gardens built on the palace grounds are now part of the ensemble of parks in Marrakech. As in other palaces and gardens of Morocco from this period, the purpose of the garden was to emphasize the essence of Islamic and Moroccan architecture. The total area of the complex, including the palace – some rooms of which open to the courtyard – is about 2 hectares. The whole was built by the Grand Vizier of the Sultan- Si Moussa. The palace, built for his personal purposes, received the name of one of his wives.
In what country is the Bahia Palace?
The Bahia Palace (Palais de la Bahia) is one of the most famous and beautiful sights of Marrakech. The site of the former Vizier’s Palace is huge, it covers more than 8,000 m2 and includes about 160 rooms, riads and courtyards. And they want to be discovered…
At that time, the harem of the Grand Vizier was also located here, which is documented by the large, green courtyard with the central water basin. At that time, the client hired craftsmen from Fés to build and decorate the palace, which was adapted to the style of the late 19th century. The Bahia Palace is one of the most beautiful of its kind in Marrakech, Morocco. The architecture of the buildings and interiors is a mix of Andalusian and Moroccan style. The name of the palace means “brilliance”. The gardens belonging to the palace occupy an area of about 8,000 square meters, and the 150 rooms of the palace open to various courtyards.
The palace area (incl. Garden), as mentioned earlier, stretched over a total area of almost 8 hectares, of which the palace buildings claim about 2 hectares for themselves. The buildings are all richly decorated from the inside as well as from the outside. Parts of the decoration consist of so-called Moucharabiehen, which are semi-transparent ornamental elements, e.g. for windows, they also bring shade and at the same time serve as sun protection. Other coverings are made of marble, there are carvings and paintings on beech and cedar wood, stucco is present and the ever-popular Zellige. The houses and rooms are organized without a set order inside- there are many green and refreshing courtyards and gardens, planted with orange, banana, cypress, hibiscus and jasmine trees, watered by khettaras.
On the edge of the southern medina, not far from the Mellah, is the Bahia Palace. The spacious complex was built by the Alawites in the second half of the 19th century. Today, the Bahia Palace is one of the most beautiful sights that Marrakech has to offer.
Andalusian and Moorish architecture meet in the Bahia Palace. The place is a bit reminiscent of the Al-Hambra in Granada, Spain. Graceful stucco work and elaborately carved ceilings made of cedar wood meet ornate mosaics and decorative arabesques. A beautifully landscaped garden runs through the fascinating complex, which eventually leads to an impressively large courtyard with a completely marbled floor.
By order of the Grand Vizier Si Moussa, a magnificent palace of huge proportions was built in the Moroccan city of Marrakech during the Alawite period in 1867. In the following years, the son of the vizier, Bou Ahmed, expanded the palace with a Turkish bath, a so-called hammam. In addition, Bou Ahmed had a mosque built within the palace walls and a wonderful, idyllic garden created and henceforth called the complex Bahia Palace, which means “The Radiant” or “The Glamorous”.
A facility with impressive dimensions
The Bahia Palace has a floor area of 8,000 m2 and has over 160 rooms, countless patios and many so-called riads. Everywhere you can meet an Andalusian and Moorish architectural style. It is best to take several hours for a visit and a tour of the huge palace complex. And yet it is almost impossible to find your way around the extensive palace complex without a guide. Whether in the reception halls, the private rooms or in the courtyards, the oriental-looking construction of the Bahia Palace impresses everywhere.
The Palais de la Bahia is located in the southern part of the medina at the north end of the Mellah, the Jewish quarter, which was usually close to the rulers to protect its inhabitants. The huge complex was built in the second half of the 19th century by two men close to each other in two authoritative acts. The oldest wing of the building was built by Si Moussa, a high-ranking adviser to the sultan, in the 1860 years. His son Bou Ahmed, who was Grand Vizier from 1894 to 1900, had the palace complex significantly expanded, including a garden, a hammam and a mosque. The work was done by the best craftsmen in the country, who at that time were brought specially from Fès.
I stay overnight in the beautiful Riad Boutouil, within the walls of the medina. From here it is not far to the Bahia Palace – provided you can find your way around in the hustle and bustle of the streets. With my sense of orientation, it is usually not too far away. So it is not surprising that I do not find the El Badi Palace populated by storks, which I actually wanted to go to first. Or unknowingly walk past him. It’s still not that clear to me … But I end up more or less by chance at the Bahia Palace, which I had actually planned as the second point of my Marrakech sightseeing tour. I only have a full day in Marrakech before I go to the desert for 3 days. Almost 10 years ago I was in Marrakech for the first time during a group trip, so I already know some places.
How much does Bahia Palace cost?
Why was the Bahia palace built?
How big is the medina in Marrakech?