El Bahia Palace, Marrakesh

4 out of 5 stars 4 Stars - 43 Reviews

Been here? Rate It!

hide
  • Ceiling Work, Bahia Palace, Marrakech
    Ceiling Work, Bahia Palace, Marrakech
    by antistar
  • Stained glass windows, Bahia Palace, Marrakech
    Stained glass windows, Bahia Palace,...
    by antistar
  • Ceiling Work, Bahia Palace, Marrakech
    Ceiling Work, Bahia Palace, Marrakech
    by antistar
  • suvanki's Profile Photo

    Palais de la Bahia - The Harem Courtyard

    by suvanki Updated Nov 29, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Bahia Palace Harem Courtyard
    4 more images

    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.
    Admission 10dh

    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Budget Travel
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • angiebabe's Profile Photo

    Enjoy the artistry of the beautiful Palais Bahia

    by angiebabe Updated Jun 24, 2009

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    4 more images

    Palais Bahia translates as Palace of the Favourite.

    Built in two stages or parts at the end of the 19th century by two powerful grand viziers - the older part built by Si Moussa, the vizier of Sultan Sidi Mohammed ben Abderrahman, and the newer part of the two built by Si Moussa's son, Ba Ahmed, vizier of Moulay Abdelaziz.

    The older part contains apartments around a marble-paved courtyard and an open courtyard with cypress and orange trees and jasmine, with 2 star shaped pools.

    The newer part is a huge palace complex containing luxurious apartments looking onto courtyards planted with trees. The best craftsmen in the kingdom were apparently hired to build and decorate this palace and it is decorated with prized materials such as marble from Meknes, cedar from the Middle Atlas and tiles from Tetouan.

    The main courtyard, once used by the vizier's concubines, is paved with marble and zellij tilework, with 3 fountains and surrounded by a gallery of finely fluted columns. This courtyard faces the main reception room with a cedar ceiling painted with arabesque.

    I have visited the Bahia on two occasions - the first was quite rushed and I always after wanted to come back for a better look! When I finally returned last year I needed about 1 and a half to 2 hours to adequately see and photograph this beautiful complex!

    Entrance is still only 10 dirham - approximately 1 euro
    Check if it definitely closes for a lunchbreak from about 1230 to 230 pm each day. Opens early before 9am and closes 6pm.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • suvanki's Profile Photo

    See The Wood!!

    by suvanki Updated Apr 14, 2008

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Cedar Wood Ceiling Palais de la Bahia
    4 more images

    I visited the Bahia Palace twice, once planned, the second time unintentionally as part of a guided tour (see my Warnings and dangers tips) but I didn't mind too much as it is an interesting place and I did learn a bit more.

    Our guide kept saying what I thought at first was "See the wood", so I was looking up at the intricately painted ceiling, thinking what wood? but then realised he was actually saying Cedar wood! the artwork was painted over the highly prized cedar wood! (doh!) As You can see from my pictures, the artwork is quite stunning.

    Besides the painted cedar wood, The Bahia Palace has some good examples of stucco panels, Zellij tilework and stained glass windows. (Please see my photos below)

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • MM212's Profile Photo

    Palais de la Bahia

    by MM212 Updated Dec 9, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Arches of el Bahia
    4 more images

    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!

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • earthflyer's Profile Photo

    Peace & Quiet

    by earthflyer Updated Mar 17, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Palais de la Bahia, Marrakesh
    4 more images

    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.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Budget Travel
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • diageva's Profile Photo

    Bahia Palace First Patio

    by diageva Written Jan 9, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Bahia Palace's Patio

    Builded at the end of XIX of great influence of andalucian art, this superwonderful and incredible beautiful palace is an example of what you can find after a normal wall and normal door ...
    This first patio, with orange trees and a beautiful andalucian floor is a dream.
    20 Dirham.
    8:30 - 11:45, 14:30 - 17:45

    Was this review helpful?

  • diageva's Profile Photo

    Bahia's Palace Favorite's Room

    by diageva Updated Jan 9, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite's Room

    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.

    Was this review helpful?

  • diageva's Profile Photo

    Bahia Palace Women's Patio

    by diageva Updated Apr 6, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Bahia Palace Women Patio

    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.

    Was this review helpful?

  • travelmad478's Profile Photo

    Bahia Palace

    by travelmad478 Written Jan 11, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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.

    Was this review helpful?

  • travelmad478's Profile Photo

    Doorways of Bahia Palace

    by travelmad478 Written Jan 11, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Bigjones's Profile Photo

    El Bahia Palace

    by Bigjones Updated Jan 7, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Don’t miss this beautiful palace. It’s another good example of Moroccan architecture (decoration with tiles, fountains, carved-ceddar ceilings, gardens).

    Entrance fee : 10 Dh (+/- 1 euro)
    Sat.-Thur. : 8:30-11:15 a.m. and 2:30-5:45 p.m., Fri : 8:30-11:30 a.m. and 3:00-5:45 p.m.

    Was this review helpful?

  • vtveen's Profile Photo

    a real Moroccan palace

    by vtveen Written Jan 28, 2008

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Palace Bahia: entrance gate
    4 more images

    The Bahia Palace originally was built by a so called ‘grand vizier’ (a kind of a prime minister) in 1866/67 and later – in the 1890’s - extended by his son Bou Ahmed, self a ‘grand vizier’ and also regent to the sultan. Bahia Palace means ‘brilliance’, although I also heard the name ‘Palace of the Favourite’. Bou Ahmed lived in the house with his 4 wives and a lot of concubines, servants and guards. After the extension it had about 150 rooms, 2 patios and 1 central courtyard, named ‘Harem Courtyard’. As all Moroccan palaces it is enclosed by an impressive wall.

    When visiting the tourist sites in the southern medina the Bahia Palace is a ‘must see’ destination. After entering the gate (and paying the entrance fee of 10 Dirhams) we walked through the garden - with some nice flowering Christmas Stars - and reached the palace.

    The whole palace is a sequence of riads, salons and rooms. All of them are richly decorated with stunning stucco work, mosaic zellij tiles on the floors ands walls, painted panels, beautiful doorways, nice fireplaces. But the cedar wooden ceilings in one of the first salons were stunningly beautiful and our favourite.
    The ‘Harem Courtyard’ is rather simple and the surrounding wooden buildings can use some fresh painting.

    We really enjoyed our visit to the Moroccan palace and I think by visiting the Bahia Palace one gets a good impression of the Moroccan-Islamic architecture. Be aware the palace is not a ‘real’ museum and all the rooms are completely empty.

    Opening hours:
    Saturday – Thursday: 8.45 – 11.45am and 2.45 – 5.45pm.
    Friday: 8.45 – 11.30am and 3.00 – 5.45pm
    Entrance fee (Dec. 2007): 10 Dirhams.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Mikebb's Profile Photo

    Bahia Palace - Classic Local Architecture

    by Mikebb Updated Feb 14, 2009

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Entry To Palace
    4 more images

    This palace was built in the 1890's by Bou Ahmed to house his family and retinue of 4 wives, 24 concubines and countles children. The architecture reflects the Muslim need for privacy with rambling rooms, eloborate reception halls, living quarters and pleasure gardens, fountains etc.

    The ruling Sultan, Abdel Aziz took displeasure with Ahmed for having the palace and upon his death had the palace looted.

    We enjoyed our visit to this palace, which still retains beautiful tiling and other examples of Moroccan craftmanship.

    Related to:
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Historical Travel
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • The Bahia is the best

    by lucyt Updated May 15, 2006

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Bahia fountain
    1 more image

    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.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Women's Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Donna_in_India's Profile Photo

    Beautiful Palace

    by Donna_in_India Updated Jul 15, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Palais De La Bahia

    Palais De La Bahia is a private palace dating to the 19th century. With decorated rooms and ceilings, mosaic fireplaces, beautiful gardens and patios, Palais De La Bahia was the prettiest place we saw in Marrakech. Even had a harem!

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Marrakesh

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

70 travelers online now

Comments

View all Marrakesh hotels