For 10 dirhams you enter an ancient walled garden to get peace from the crowds & shade from the afternoon sun. You are then free to take a peak into the tombs & the prayer hall to admire the ornate columns & tiles. The garden also has some wildlife. A family of cats, a pair of tortoise & an owl nesting in the walls.
Please see my tip above for history of Saadian Tombs, etc.
The mausoleum is entered through a narrow passage way, which opens into a gardened area, surrounded by walls.
The mausoleum consists of the garden (where over 100 tombs covered in mosaics lay amongst grassed areas) and three halls.
The central structure, is The Hall of the Twelve columns, and is the most impressive. Carved cedar wood doors open into the vast space, where Columns of Italian Carrere marble rise to a vaulted roof.
Here, are the remains of Ahmed al-Mansour (The former Sultan of the Saadian Dynasty and planner of this mausoleum) his son and grandson.
A Marcharabia (carved wooden panel that traditionally separates the sexes) may also be seen.
In the tombed area and along the outer walls are well preserved examples of brightly coloured zellij work (intricate mosaic designs, typical of Islamic and Andalucian architecture) with Koranic calligraphyand Stucco stalectite work .
It is thought that the artwork was influenced by that of the Alhambra Palace in Granada. (This could probably explain why I was so underwhelmed when I visited The Alhambra a few months after my visit to Marrakesh - I'd already been stunned by the architecture and artwork here in Marrakesh!)
Slightly apart from the other two, is the tomb of the Sultans mother, Lalle Massaoude. Built by her son, this was the site where the decapitated body of the founder of the Saadian Dynasty , Alol esh Sheikh was buried.
The 100 tombs in the garden contain remains of other members of the royal family- including many children, and members of the Royal household's staff.
The visit around the tombs doesn't take too long, (unless there's a large tour group - just wander around the gardens, and they'll soon be gone onto their next site)
My second visit here there was a TV crew from NBC recording a series about Islamic countries and peoples opinions, so we had to wait while they filmed.c*
We visited this place but was disapointed that you can't go inside the main building where the tombs are housed, which is beautifully decorated and where people were lining up to take photos, from outside the building.
These tombs are the resting place of the Saadian dynasty, who ruled Morocco in the 16th and 17th century. The best known of the Saadian sultans was Ahmed al Mansour, who came to prominence following a victory against the Portuguese. Over sixty of the Saadians, el Mansour among them, are buried in these richly decorated tombs.
After the decline of the Saadinas, the tombs were left to fall into ruin by the Alaouites and were sealed by Moulay Ismail. They were rediscovered in the early twentieth century following an aerial survey by the French colonisers.
The Saadian tombs were rediscovered following a French aerial survey in 1917. Sultan Moulay Ismail had sealed them up, in his attempt to erase all memories of the Saadian dynasty. The earliest tombs here date back to 1557. The first mausoleum you see when you enter is the one that houses the tomb of Sultan Ahmed el Mansour. Altogether the tombs of more than a hundred members of the Saadian royal family are located here. These are the people who used to live in the adjoining El Badi Palace.
Open daily 08.30-11.45 & 14.30-17.45
Admission: 10 DH.
Built in the 16th century by Ahmed "The Golden" over his father's tomb, the Saadian Tombs then became the burial ground for the Saadian dynasty and other notables. The beautiful burial chambers are a testament to the splendour of the Saadian period. When Moulay Ismail of the Alaouite dynasty later ruled Marrakech, he order the destruction of all of the palaces built by the Saadians, but dared not touch their tombs. Instead he walled them off and out of sight. The tombs were forgotten over the centuries only to be rediscovered in 1917. Today, they dazzle visitors by the magnificence of their arabo-andalusian architecture. For additional photos of this architectural wonder, check out my travelogue: Tombeaux Saadiens.
OPEN 9:00-11:45 14:30-17:30 /18:00
OPEN TO 1917 THERE ARE MUCH KOBBA AROUND CEMETERY
THE FIRST MAUSOLEUM IT'S MAKE TO 3 HALL.
THE SECOND HALL IS TOMB OF MOULAY AHMED EL MANSOUR (DEAD IN FE'S IN 1603)AROUND 12 COLUMMS MARBLE FROM CARRARA.
THE THIRD HALL CALLED THREE NICHES HOST CHILDRE'S TOMB.
THE SECOND MAUSOLEUM HOST THE TOMB'S MOTHER OF MOULAY AHMED EL MANSOUR.
tHE GARDEN IS SPECIAL OASIS.
The Saadian Tombs have been missing for hundreds of years and only been rediscovered a few years ago! There had been a wall built around it - since a graveyard could not be distroyed for ethical reasons!
The story around this place was the most fascinating part for me - the gravesite itself was not as spectacular as I had hoped it to be!
You get to see a graveyard and a couple of rooms with tombs in them.
Entrance fee is 10 DH = 1 € (2006)
First complete day...we took the taxi and
had us dropped of in front of the 'saadian tombs'.
These tombs are one of the most artistic
monuments in Morocco. Moulay Ismaïl didn't
dare to destroy these graves...but he didn't want
anybody to see them. Moulay Ismaïl was the next
ruler after the Saadian dynasty. He destroyed the
palace 'el Badi' and used pieces of it to decorate
his own palace. The Saadian tombs , he had
It was after 300 years that the tombs were rediscovered
in 1917. And they are in amazing shape.
They made a special entrance for tourists
since entering through the moskee is a big nono.
10 dirham to admire these treasures is
peanuts if you ask me.
You arrive in a peaceful garden with little
sober white tombs in the grass. In the middle ,
where the picture is taken , you can find the
tomb of the Sultans mother , 'Lalla Massaouda'.
When you're not famous or not descending from a royal f amily, you're surely to be buried in the nice garden around the Saaidan Tombs.
It's a lovely courtyard and I think I'd prefer to lie outside (it's a lot warmer there)
The guide we were listening to ( I never ask or pay for a guide..) compared the Main Hall of the Saaidan Tombs to the most marvellous buildings in Spain's Granada.
I agree, the decorative work is fenomenal and the tombs are well carved.
You shouldn't miss this
The Saadians were an Arabian dynasty that ruled much of southern Morocco in the 16th and 17th centuries, often successfully waging war against Portuguese invaders. Marrakech was their capital.
Sultan Ahmed al-Mansour created these tombs for himself, his family and ancestors. In total nearly 200 Saadians are buried here, most in the yard and the most important in the lavishly decorated halls. The tombs were sealed and only rediscovered in 1917 so their original splendour is still intact and the intricate detail is pretty breathtaking.
According to the tourist spiel, this great hall - part of the Saadian tombs - is the "finest example of Moroccan-Andalucian decorative art." And who am I to argue?
The hall is absolutely stunning - how much time and money it must have cost I couldn't even imagine. Sultan al-Mansour, his mother and his kids are buried inside amid the marble columns.
The Saadian complex contains tombs of dozens of princes and other royals from the reign of Ahmed al-Mansour. The walled complex contains several buildings and a garden, right in in Marrakesh's old city. Amazingly, these tombs were "lost" between the 16th century and 1917, when they were rediscovered by a group of World War I pilots. Since then, they have been restored.
There are in this place 3 diferents rooms with tombs pne of the is the one for "children" ( men that where not married where also call children ). All the garden or patio is also full of tombs. Incredible work from the floor to the ceiling.