The Bahia Palace, or Palais Bahia, was built in the late 19th century and is located along the northern edge of the Mellah (Jewish Quarter) and the southern edge of the Medina (old town). Its name means ‘brilliance’ or ‘beautiful’, and when you visit, it’s easy to see why. There are over 150 beautifully constructed rooms plus a 2-acre garden surrounding it.
Although the palace is currently unfurnished, its architecture and details are still worth seeing. Built over a 15 year period, there were two stages of construction by two different men. Si Moussa, vizier of Sultan Sidi Mohammed ben Abd al Rahman, built the initial palace. The second phase was driven by the son of Si Moussa Ba Ahmed, vizier of Sulton Moulay Abd al-Aziz. Because it was built over such a long period of time, the architecture and layout are very irregular. The palace would continue to expand as land became available.
The detailed work of the palace is remarkable as they brought in the top artisans and craftsmen from Fes to work on the palace. Although it had multiple uses over time, Ba Ahmed continued to expand it as quarters for his four wives and twenty-four concubines. Can you imagine the drama in that house?
For you cat lovers out there, there are plenty kitties roaming the grounds too. We couldn’t resist taking photos every time we saw them. We even saw this family and the kittens having trouble getting up the step. We had to give him a hand. :P You can see all the cuteness on video too.
This is definitely a great outing while you’re in Marrakesh. It doesn’t cost much and can make for a relaxing stroll, and if you’re really into architecture and history, you’ll appreciate all the details.
PRO TIPS FOR VISITING THE BAHIA PALACE MARRAKECH MOROCCO:
- If you love learning more about the history of the place, hire a local guide to take your through the palace and gardens.
- The palace sometimes closes when the royal family is in town.
What architectural details do you like seeing the most? Are you a dog or cat person?