morocco: essaouira to marrakech’s bahia palace

This morning we left Essaouira and drove three hours to Marrakech.  We got to Hotel Gomassine and checked in, then went to a restaurant down the street for lunch.  After lunch, we headed with our group to several places in Marrakech, stopping midway at Bahia Palace, a palace and gardens in Marrakech’s medina.

The oldest part of the palace, Dar Si Moussa, was built between 1859-1873 by Si Moussa, a former slave who became Grand Vizier of the Sultan.

The palace was completed at the end of the century by his son, Si Moussa Ba Ahmed, when he became the wealthy Vizier to the Sultan.  He added the lush gardens and decorated each room in elegant Moroccan style.  The ornate palace was given to his favorite concubine, Bahia, which means “brilliance” in Arabic.

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Bahia Palace

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Bahia Palace

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Bahia Palace

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Bahia Palace

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Bahia Palace

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Bahia Palace

The palace is lavishly decorated with woodcarvings, geometric paintings, and stucco work throughout the ceilings.

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Bahia Palace

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Bahia Palace

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Bahia Palace

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Bahia Palace

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Bahia Palace

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Bahia Palace

The materials used in Bahia Palace came from across north Africa.  The marble was brought from Meknes, and possibly originally from Italy. Perhaps it may have been brought from the ancient Volubilis and the nearby Badi Palace, which was built in the 16th century during the rise of the Saadians, when Marrakech became the capital.  That palace was built by the most well-known of the Saadian rulers, Ahmad al-Mansour.

The cedar likely came from the Middle Atlas and the glazed terra-cotta tiles from Tetouan.

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Bahia Palace

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Bahia Palace

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Bahia Palace

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Bahia Palace

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Bahia Palace

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Bahia Palace

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Bahia Palace

Bahia Palace is still used by the government, and the Minister of Culture Affairs occupies a small section.  Some scenes from the 1956 film, The Man Who Knew Too Much, were filmed in the palace.

After visiting the palace, we walked through a small part of Marrakech’s medina.

*Saturday, April 20, 2019*

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On Sundays, I post about hikes or walks that I have taken in my travels; I may also post on other unrelated subjects. I will use these posts to participate in Jo’s Monday Walks or any other challenges that catch my fancy.

This post is in response to Jo’s Monday Walk: Capelinha and the Lanes.