The Saadian tombs in Marrakech date back from the time of the sultan Ahmad al-Mansur (1578-1603). The tombs were discovered in 1917 and were restored by the Beaux-arts service. The tombs have, because of the beauty of their decoration, been a major attraction for visitors of Marrakech.
The mausoleum comprises the interments of about sixty members of the Saadi Dynasty that originated in the valley of the Draa River. Among the graves are those of Ahmad al-Mansur and his family. The building is composed of three rooms. The most famous is the room with the twelve columns. This room contains the grave of the son of the sultan's son, Ahmad al-Mansur. The stele is in finely worked cedar wood and stucco work. The monuments are made of Italian Carrara marble.
Outside the building is a garden and the graves of soldiers and servants.
There is no signage at the site ... take a good tour book !!!!! As for time spent here ... you can see everything in 30 minutes in a non rushed way !!!!!
Admission price was 10 dirhams ... about $1.50 US
The Tombs, were only relativly recently re-discovered when a very narrow alley was found at the rear of a mosgue. This, on investigation lead to these tombs that had been lost.
The complex comprises the corpses of about sixty members of the Saadi Dynasty that originated in the valley of the Draa River. Among the graves are those of Ahmad al-Mansur and his family.
A highly recommended place to visit in Marrakech are the Saadian tombs, located just near the Kasbah Mosque in the Kasbah district.
The tombs date back to the time of the Sultan Ahmad I al-Mansur, who died in 1603. Amazingly, the tombs were only re-discovered in 1917, and have since been restored.
The complex is home to tombs of about 60 members of the Saadi Dynasty. Most of the tombs have been arranged in two separate mausoleums which overlook a garden. The most famous room is the one with twelve marble columns, as this is where Ahmad I al-Mansur and his family have been laid to rest.
Outside the building is a pretty garden, and the graves of soldiers and servants can been seen here beneath the orange trees.
8am-12pm & 2.30pm-6pm
The Tombeaux Saadiens are located next to the Mosque of the Kasbah. The tombs hold the remains of rulers from the 15 & 1600’s. It was a very interesting place with mosaic tiled tombs – just the top (umarked) was above the ground. Definitely recommend a visit here.
Open 9-12 and 2:30-6:00
Guides are available (negotiate price before), tours last about 30 minutes.
A visit here will lead you to the mausoleum of the Saadians held as containing one of the finest examples of Moroccan-Andalusian decorative art.
The Saadian sultan Ahmed Al-Mansour, also responsible for the Palais el-Badi which at the time of its construction was regarded as one of the most beautiful in the world but plundered by Moulay Ismail in 1696 to build his capital in Meknes, started building this necropolis in the 1500s.
Thankfully instead of plundering the mausoleum Moulay Ismail sealed the tombs which in effect preserved the opulence and artistry that was found when rediscovered in 1917 by a French General on an aerial survey of the area. A passageway was made down into the tombs which have since been unsealed and restored.
The mausoleum is divided into 3 halls - the central hall named The Hall of the Twelve Columns. In amongst the columns made of Italian marble are the tombs of sultan Ahmed Al-Mansour, his successors ( his son and grandson) and their closest family members (66 Saadians). There are more than 100 buried outside the main buildings. A small but elegant mausoleum houses the tomb of Ahmed Al-Mansour's mother.
Opens daily but closed for lunch appx 12-2.30 each day.
only 10 dirham for entry ticket - about 1 euro.
The Saadian tombs are considered to be one of the most exquisite mausoleums in North Africa, and are one of Marrakechs' most visited sites.
Open 08.30 - 11.45 and 14.30 - 17.45 daily.
Local 'official' guides are to be found near the ticket office, (A tip will be expected) You'll probably encounter 'faux guides' outside, willing to show you around - again a tip will be expected, even if they don't explain much of use.
Through a narrow passageway, you enter a garden, with rose trees and shrubs, enclosed by red walls. Amongst the grass you can see small tombs.
The Arabic Saadian Dynasty ruled for a relatively short period during the 16th - 17th Century, their popularity rose after removing the Portuguese from their occupation of the Moroccan coastline, and later forming alliances with Spain.
The necropolis was commenced in 1591, (although the first Saadian prince was buried here in 1577) by Sultan Ahmed al-Mansour, to provide a resting place for his family, successors, and respected staff members.
After the collapse of the Saadian Dynasty, during Moulay Ismails 'reign of terror', buildings such as the Palais el Badi were ransacked but the Tombs escaped desecration, possibly due to his superstition that the dead would come back to haunt him!
Instead, the necropolis was sealed, with only a small area being left open. (Sultan Moulay Yazid 'The Crazy' was buried here in 1792.)
During French Protectorate of Marrakesh in the early 20th C. An ariel survey by General Hubert Lyautey, revealed the site of the tombs. An avid enthusiast of Moroccan history, he set about constructing a passageway into the tombs (The original entrance was through the Kasbah mosque, and therefore forbidden to non-muslims) and restoration of the tombs.
The Saadian tombs were opened to the public in 1917.
The green roof topped building is the second mausoleum and contains two loggias and a prayer hall. Inside the burial chambers is the tomb of the mother of Ahmed el-Mansour – Lalla Messaouda who died in 1591 and Mohammed Ech Cheikh who was the founder of the Saadians.
In the Central Hall of the complex are the ivory coloured tombs of Ahmed el Mansour (the Golden) along with his successors. The tombs are inscribed with arabesques and inscriptions from the Koran. There are 3 niches which hold the tombs of princes. The tombs are of the Royal family which date back to the 16th century.
The Saadian Tombs is very popular and you will find quite a crowd of tourists visiting. The tombs were opened to the public only in 1917. The walled complex comprises more than 100 tombs, all decorated in colourful mosaic tiles.
Open: Wed-Mon 08.30-11.45 and 14.30-17.45
The Saadian Tombs - next to the Kasbah Mosque - are one of the most remarkable sights of Marrakech. The Saadites were the ruling dynasty in Morocco the 16th and 17th century. Their grave monuments in andalusian style are adorned with stuccoe and kalligraphic art, woodcarvings and coloured tile mosaics.
The Saadian Tombs are dating back from the 16th to the 18th century and were built by Sultan Ahmed el-Mansour for himself, his family, ancestors and some soldiers and servants. Totally there are 166 Saadians resting here. The tombs were rediscovered and restored in 1917 and made accessible for public.
As a matter of fact these Saadian Tombs are a kind of a burial ground: existing of two main parts: the mausoleums and the garden. It has two mausoleums and inside the walled garden - with some nice palm trees - also a more or less ‘normal’ graveyard.
The most important mausoleum - on the left hand side if you enter the site - has a prayer hall and two funerary rooms with stunning stucco ceilings and zellij tile work on the walls and beautiful carved doors. The Hall of Twelve Columns contains the tombs - made of Italian marble - of Ahmed el-Mansour, his sons and successors. We only could see it through a small opening and I must be rather difficult to get a glimpse of the tombs and the interior during high season.
In the middle of the garden is another mausoleum with a prayer hall and some other tombs of Saadians.
The garden itself contains lots of graves with zellij tiles of soldiers and servants. Most remarkable for us was the fact that none of these graves has a name on it.
To be honest the garden (and the graves) are rather neglected and could use a decent overhaul.
At the entrance guides are offering tours, but I think you don’t need one after reading a travel book. A visit to the Saadian Tombs will not take longer than 30 minutes. Be aware the sight is closed from around 12.00 till 14.30 hours. The entrance fee is 10 Dirham (December 2007).
The Saadian tombs in Marrakech is a sort of mausoleum where the bodies of about sixty members of the Saadi Dynasty are buried. They had ruled the south of Morocco in the 16th century, apparently in a quite bloody way.
The Saadian tombs is a three-room complex, of which only two can be visited. They are very richly ornated and made of Carrara marble. These tombs are not large, so it's best to visit them early in the morning or late in the afternoon, where the masses of the tour groups have gone.
Once you have visited the tombs, you should visit the El Badi Palace, too - which is just a few corners away. Why? because it was built by the most famous sultan of the Saadi dinasty: Ahmad I al-Mansur (1578–1603)
The Saadian Tombs were only discovered around the year 1917 and dates back from the time of the Great Sultan Ahmed El Mansour of the Saadi Dynasty. This excursion has become popular for the visitors who come to see the beautiful Arabic script, the colourful decor and carvings on the tombs.
The Saadian Tombs are good examples of Moroccan-Andalucian decorative art. The central hall has columns of Italian marble. The entrance and the walls are beautifully decorated. On the picture you see a detail of the decorated wall.
The tombs are open, daily in the morning and late afternoon. The admission fee is 10 dirham.
In the south-west part of the medina nextdoor to the Kasbah Mosque are the Saadian Tombs, signposted as " Tombeaux Saadiens".
This necropolis is started by Ahmed Mansour, the second Saadian sultan, in the 16th century, on the side of an older part of the cemetary, which was reserved for descendants of the Prophet.
The mausoleum is divided in three halls. Ahmed Mansour and 65 of his successors and close family are buried under the two main structures.