Saadian Tombs, Marrakesh

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  • Saadian Tombs, Marrakech
    Saadian Tombs, Marrakech
    by antistar
  • Saadian Tombs, Marrakech
    Saadian Tombs, Marrakech
    by antistar
  • Saadian Tombs, Marrakech
    Saadian Tombs, Marrakech
    by antistar
  • sue_stone's Profile Photo

    Saadian Tombs

    by sue_stone Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Saadian Tombs
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    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.

    Opening Hours:
    8am-12pm & 2.30pm-6pm

    Admission Price:
    10 dirham

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    • Museum Visits
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  • angiebabe's Profile Photo

    Fine example of Moroccan-Andalusian decorative art

    by angiebabe Updated Jun 24, 2009

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    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.

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    A highlight in burial decoration.

    by belgianchocolate Updated Apr 11, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness


    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
    them immured.

    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'.

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    • Historical Travel

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  • suvanki's Profile Photo

    Saadian Tombs

    by suvanki Updated May 3, 2009

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    Saadian Tombs, Marrakesh

    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.

    Entrance 10dh.(2006)
    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.

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    • Religious Travel

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  • mafi_moya's Profile Photo

    Saadian tombs

    by mafi_moya Updated May 20, 2004

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    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.

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    The Hall of the Twelve Columns

    by mafi_moya Written Mar 15, 2004

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    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.

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  • MM212's Profile Photo

    Tombeaux Saâdiens

    by MM212 Updated Dec 8, 2006

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    Saadien Tombs
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    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.

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  • Donna_in_India's Profile Photo

    Ancient Tombs

    by Donna_in_India Updated Jul 15, 2009

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    The

    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.

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  • diageva's Profile Photo

    Saadies Tombs

    by diageva Written Jan 9, 2004

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    Saadies Tombs

    The Saadies Tombs, one of the most wonderful example of the arquitecture of saadies period, where hidden under earth and walls by sultán alauí, trying to erase the tracks of its predecessors saadies. Thank god, they where not destroy as other places because is a holly place ...
    It is a costum to try to destroy every sing of predecesor diferents dinasties ... :(((
    Nowadays, despite of its value, they are not all the conservated they should be ...
    8:30- 11:45, 14:30- 17:45
    10 Dirham

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    Saadian Tombs Inside

    by diageva Written Jan 9, 2004

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    Saadian Tombs Inside

    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.

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  • travelmad478's Profile Photo

    Saadian tombs

    by travelmad478 Written Jan 11, 2004

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    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.

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  • Bigjones's Profile Photo

    Saadian tombs

    by Bigjones Updated Jan 7, 2004

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    Saadian tombs

    A beautiful necropolis that looks more like a garden than a cemetary. It smells like roses and rosemary. There is a superb white datura at the entrance and palm trees. The tombs themselves are richly decorated with coloured mosaics. Inside the mausoleum, the rooms are also richly decorated, with magnificent domed ceilings, stalactite plaster work, intricate carving and marble pillars.

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  • vtveen's Profile Photo

    tombs and graves

    by vtveen Written Jan 24, 2008

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    Saadian Tombs - grave of an 'unknown soldier'
    3 more images

    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).

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  • suvanki's Profile Photo

    Saadian Tombs 2

    by suvanki Updated Jul 23, 2007

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Saadian Tombs, Marrakesh
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    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*

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  • sachara's Profile Photo

    Tombeaux Saadiens

    by sachara Updated Oct 12, 2007

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    Saadian Tombs

    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.

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