A Placid, Empty Palace in the Marrakesh Medina
Visiting the 19th-century Palais de la Bahia is one of the best ways to escape the hurly-burly of the Marrakesh souks; meandering through the tiled courtyards of Dar Si Moussa, the older of the 20-acre, cat-prowled compound's two buildings, I could practically feel my addled nerves unwinding. The rooms were ransacked long ago, making it easier to appreciate the beautifully painted wood doors and ceilings. The Palais de la Bahia has an emptied-out, contemplative vibe that I actually really liked. There are plenty of other places in Marrakesh to go treasure-hunting.
By Darrell Hartman, AFAR Contributor
Have you been here? Share a tip or a photo with fellow travelers.
Romantic photo opportunities
The warm Moroccan light and the red and pink ochres of the buildings make Marrakesh and endlessly photogenic city. That said, there are some essential self-portraits that everyone needs to bring back from their trip: in front of the Koutoubia minaret, framed against the intricate tiled decoration of the Bahia Palace or the Ben Youssef Medersa, lost amid the foliage of the Marjorelle Gardens, and enjoying either a mint tea at a street café or a stronger sundowner on the roof terrace of a riad. Those of a nervous disposition may want to avoid the snake charmers who attempt to coil their serpent charges around the neck for another classic tourist pose.
By Paul Clammer
Admire the Splendor of Marrakesh’s Imperial Palaces
Marrakesh is one of Morocco’s four great imperial capitals, and its rulers made sure they left behind plenty of evidence of their grandeur. Most impressive of all is the Bahia Palace, built for a 19th-century grand vizier to the Moroccan sultan. It’s a master class in the fine Moroccan arts—zellij mosaic floors, carved stucco plasterwork and painted cedar ceilings, around a serene garden. The huge El Badi Palace has fared less well over the centuries, and is more a magnificent ruin, with sunken gardens and a massive pool. Its rulers are buried nearby in the opulently decorated Saadian Tombs.
By Paul Clammer
5 Rue Riad Zitoun el Jdid, Marrakesh 40000, Morocco
Sun - Sat 8am - 5pm