This 19th century Palace is well worth a visit (I ended up making 2 visits, once independently, once (unintended) as part of a guided tour)
Its name translates as 'The Brilliant'
The attractive, well preserved, Harem Courtyard has featured in many Big Budget Movies.
Part of the palace is closed to visitors as it is still used by the Royal family and their staff.
The Bahia Palace was home to the Grand Vizier of Sultan Moulay al - Hassan, Si' Ahmed ben Musa or Bou Ahmed. It was built towards the end of the 19th century, taking nearly 15 years to complete. Following the death of Bou Ahmed, the Palace was Ransacked Restoration work is still ongoing !
The rooms (nearly 150!), housed Ba Ahmed, his 4 wives and 24 concubines plus servants and guards.
The Palace follows the patterns of typical Islamic architecture, with central courtyards, having rooms leading off, with doorways that are placed so that you can't see beyond (providing privacy) Fountains and gardens are also typical features, along with the decorative stucco panels, tiled floors and zellij work (see my next tip for more details)
To view the palace, there are arrows guiding you through the various rooms.
Open 08.30 - 11.15 and 14.30 -17.45 Sat - Thur
08.30 - 11.30 and 15.00 - 17.45 Fri.
One of Marrakech's most popular sights is Bahia Palace, a beautiful Saadian palace in the medina north of the Mellah. There were huge crowds gathered here the day we visited and we got in for free as a French couple who were leaving handed us their tickets which hadn't been taken. We had already been to Maison Tiskiwin and Dar Si Said so we had planned to leave the Bahia Palace until the following day but once we received the free tickets we decided to go see it.
Despite the large crowds it was a very enjoyable place to visit. The palace contains a number of fine courtyards, riads and gardens. It’s deceptively large and on more than one occasion we thought we had seen everything only to find another passage leading to another elegant courtyard.
Bahia Palace is the most beautiful building complex in Marrakech. It was built in 1886-87 for Si Moussa, a former slave. If you ever wanted to see a rags to riches story, then this is it.
A Wonderful place to visit. Nice and quiet away from the noise of Marrakesh roads.
The mosiac designs on the floor and walls are beautiful and the paintings on the woodwork are colourful, Many arch ways around the Palace.
Nobody gives you any hassle to show you around, you can just walk around at your own leisure.
Admission is 10 dirhams less than £1
Well worth a visit.
Click on 4 more photos.
One of the best preserved palaces of Marrakech, el Bahia Palace is not to be missed. It was built in the late 19th century by a vizier to the sultan and expanded by the acquisition of neighbouring houses, which resulted in a labyrinth of corriders and chambers. While not terribly ancient, the palace is decorated in traditional Moroccan motifs, but does not follow the typical plan of a riad. The palace contains a grand harem, the women's quarters, which apparently was needed for the vizier's four wives and many concubines!
I just adore the Bahia Palace and make a point of going on each trip.
Whilst is it invariably overcrowded and a little run down, the architecture is great and there's a very friendly resident tortoishell cat.
What I love most about it is its tangible connection to Edith Wharton, one of my favourite writers. She stayed as a guest in the harem when the palace was still used as a residence. She talks about her stay in "In Morocco" and, following her description, you can easily work out in which room she stayed.
What a beautiful palace:
you will find everything you imagine about a palace from 1001 nights:
sunlit courtyards, beautiful gardens with wells and fountains, stucco, colorful windows, mosaics, beautifully painted woodworks and many hidden corners and rooms!
I loved every step of the visit there! Maybe the few photos I posted here will give you an idea!
Entrance fee: 20 DH = 2 € (2006)
Hamman Ziani is just down the road from Palais Bahia. It is a traditional style Hamman catering for tourists. 80Dh for Hammam, Steam, Gommage and Soaping - compared to 150 Dh at our hotel spa.
I took a 280 Dh package including massage and algie wrap - excellent value and eveything was first class. It seemed to cure my aches and pains and a week later they still haven't returned. This impecably clean Hamman has different sections for Mena and Women and is open from 8.00 - 22.00. I strongly recommend it.
From my journal:
'Gary (the guide) tells us not to bring any handbags at this stage, which is a great shame, because I don’t have a flash gun for my camera and the ceilings and other decorations are really beautiful. The building mainly used to house the harem, and it is a little difficult to translate the expression ‘hanky panky room’ to my parents.'
Well, the Bahia is a lovely palace, no doubt about it but when you've done a lot of interesting places in the same day, a certain kind of 'overdon'' begins to work.
Once again, you have a nice courtyard with nice tiles and a fountain but you've seen it already a few times today.
As you can see in the picture, the kids were glad they had a comfortable coach...
This great patio was use by the women of the palace. Is where they use to have their place to walk. This patio is surrounding by more womans rooms and at one of it sides you can fin another patio that was the access to the palace for men and children. Separated this two patios by a door and wood windows that where closed by the side of men.
One of the most pleasing design features of this palace is the views it gives from one space into another. Often, you can stand in one spot and have your eyes drawn through several perfectly-placed doorways that frame an architectural feature beyond.
The Bahia Palace, built in the late 19th century, is a superb example of Moroccan-Islamic architecture. The layout of the complex, with its courtyards and mazes of rooms, is typical of the style. The palace has been well restored and maintained, and its gorgeous tiles and carvings are quite impressive.
Each room have ist own incredible work in arcs, ceiling, walls and floors ... One very special room is the favorite's room. She was not the favorite because it was really the favorite for the sultan ... but because she was the first to have given the sultan a boy. This woman was the only to have more than one member at her service, and the windows of her room had grates to protect her of the envies of the other women.
Arcs, ceilings, walls, windows everything is extraworked, everything is something to look for hours ... wood, marmol, azulejos, irons...
The Bahia Palace "favorite palace", is named like that for the favorite of the sultan.