The El Badi and El Bahia palaces

Thursday, January 07 2016, 00:00:00

Palais Al  Badia

An impressive palace built in the 16th century by the Saadian Dynasty. It is an epic masterpiece still standing high. From the arcades and columns encrusted with gold, turquoise and crystal, the ruins still tell the glory of the palace.

Within the central court are four sunken gardens, two on the northern side and two on the southern side. Pools separate the two gardens on each side, and there are four smaller pools in the four corners of the court, which is constructed on a substructure of vaults in order to allow the circulation of water through the pools and gardens.  In a small annex sits the 12th Century Imam’s pulpit (Minbar) from the Koutoubia Mosque, restored with the assistance of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

During Hillary Clinton’s visit to Morocco when she was the first lady of the United States, she used Palais Al Badia as the venue for an inspiring speech on tolerance to an audience of 2000 invited guests.

This majestic vestige hosts two famous events, the Popular Arts Festival, and the Marrakech du Rire Festival.  

For more information about ElBadi Palace on Wikipedia

Ksibat Nhass, Marrakech

El Bahia Palace

The word Bahia literally means "brilliance" in Arabic. This is a palace and a set of gardens built in the late 19th century, intended to be the greatest palace of its time. Andalusian, Islamic and Moroccan styles are represented.  While craftsmen were brought from Fes to work on this monumental task, they sourced their materials from throughout Morocco:  Marble from Meknes, cedar for the decorated ceilings, from the Middle Atlas; Zellige tiles from Fes and terra cotta tiles from Tetouan.   

The outdoor courtyard is surrounded by galleries with tiled roofs, and four quadrants whose pathways are decorated in multicolored zellige tiles or enameled terra cotta.  In the center of the courtyard is a grand fountain, with fragrant orange trees bordering the walls, providing shade in traditional Andalusian style.

5 Derb el Arsa Riad Zitoun Jdid, 5 Rue Riad Zitoun el Jdid, Marrakech