Marrakech City Tour: Part 2


This is the second part of my tour of Marrakech. To read the first part, click here

Saadian Tombs

The Saadian Tombs are one of the top tourist attractions in Marrakech. The tombs are the final resting place for several members of the Saadi dynasty, including Sultan Ahmad al-Mansur. The entrance to the tombs is just a random opening in the wall which is fairly hard to locate if you don’t know what you are looking for (like pretty much every attraction in Morocco). If you can find the tombs, it is worth the 10 Mdh to take a peek inside. There are no information plaques, so it is helpful to have a guide give you a tour.

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Palaces in Marrakech

There are two main palaces in Marrakech that are open to the public, the Badi Palace and the Bahia Palace. The Badi Palace is a ruined palace that was constructed in the late 1500s by Sultan Ahmad al-Mansur. The palace is named Badi, meaning without compare, because the sultan wanted to show Europeans the grandeur of Morocco. After the decline of the Saadi Dynasty, the palace eventually went to ruin. Walking inside Badi Palace gives you a small glimpse into what life may have been like during its use, and the palace’s impressive size means there is lots of exploring within. If you climb to the rooftop terrace, you will also get some great views of the palace courtyard and the Marrakech skyline.

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The second palace, Bahia, was built in the late 1800s. The Bahia Palace is well preserved, and much of the beautiful and intricate tile work and other details can still be observed. I didn’t get a chance to see Bahia Palace even though I tried two times. One time, I spent over an hour walking around trying to find the entrance to no avail. I eventually found it, but it had closed just fifteen minutes earlier. The second time, when I arrived, they were filming a movie inside the palace. Men with large automatic weapons were driving 4WD vehicles out of the palace and screaming while waving flags (I hope it was a movie). The powers that be wouldn’t let me in due to the filming, so I’ll have to save Bahia Palace for next time I’m in Marrakech.

Jardin Majorelle (Majorelle Garden)

Majorelle Garden is a beautiful and tranquil oasis in the middle of Marrakech, a city of chaos. The gardens were built by the French artist Jacque Majorelle in the early 1900s. On display are a variety of plants, such as cacti and bamboo, but I was equally intrigued by the bright paint colors and intricate details on the walls, buildings and ceramic pots found throughout the gardens. In the late 1980s, the French fashion designer, Yves Saint-Laurent, purchased the gardens, and his ashes were scattered there upon his death in 2008. A small memorial stands in his honor within the gardens.

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