Bahia Palace, Saadian Tombs, Menara … Marrakech takes care of the welcome within its emblematic tourist sites
The most beautiful detours of the ocher city pass through its flagship historical monuments. Its sites tick all the right boxes for cultural and heritage tourism.
To strengthen the development of these sites, the regional directorate of culture of the Marrakech-Safi region is currently working on the implementation of measures to improve the quality of conditions and facilities for public reception within of these historic gems.
The main stake of this approach would be to transmit to visitors the rich heritage of the various sites of the city by adopting a modern, dynamic and lively approach to monuments. Five monuments will be affected by this project to improve reception infrastructure. These are the Bahia Palace, the Badiâ Palace, The Saadian Tombs, The Almoravid Dome, and the Menara Pavilion. In addition to the main entrances to these monuments, the parts concerned by this development project are among others the green spaces, the points of contemplation inside each monument as well as the walking paths. The interest of this initiative consists in offering the best conditions of reception and legibility to visitors, constituting a contemporary whole inscribed in its landscape and historical context, highlighting the historical monument, revaluing the cultural, archaeological and tourist aspect of the monuments, assert the vocation of cultural and tourist pole of monuments in the city of Marrakech, adapt the space to the nature of the activity, allow to discover the different components of the site and understand its historical evolution in an attractive way. As such, the Directorate of Culture of the Marrakech-Safi region reviews the heritage aspect of each of these monuments.
Characteristics of the sites concerned
The Bahia Palace consists of a large old residence and a set of houses which were brought together and converted into a Palace at the end of the 19th century by the Moroccan architect El Mekki on behalf of the Grand Vizier Ahmed Ben Moussa aka Ba Hmad. “The palace is presented as a series of courtyards, gardens, lounges, outbuildings and annexes remarkable both for their spatial organization and for their architectural decoration”, explains the same source. For its part, the Badiâ Palace was built by the Saadian Sultan Ahmed Al-Mansour between 1578 and 1593. This majestic palace was made up of several pavilions arranged around a large rectangular courtyard reinforced by a central basin.
“Despite the misdeeds of time and men, this work still retains elements that reflect the ingenuity and refinement of our predecessors. It was classified as national heritage on 07/18/1923 ”, would like to specify the same direction. As for the Saadian tombs, they are located north of the Almohad kasbah of Marrakech. This site was discovered in 1917 by the Department of Fine Arts and Historical Monuments. “The necropolis is made up of two architectural groups. The first, known as Qobat Lalla Masouda, constitutes the initial nucleus of the royal necropolis. It was built by the Saadian Sultan Abdullah al Ghalib in 1557 to bury the remains of his father Mohammad Shaykh, founder of the Saadian dynasty. Later, it will house his own remains and that of Lalla Masouda, mother of Sultan Ahmed Al Mansour ”, indicates the same source adding that the second, built by Sultan Ahmed Al Mansour, has three rooms, namely the Mihrab room, the room of the twelve columns and the room of the three niches.
In addition, the Almoravid Cupola is the name given to the hydraulic complex built by the Almoravid Emir Ali Ben Youssef (1106-1143) to “serve as a water point for priors going to the Ali mosque”, notes the management. of the culture of the Marrakech-Safi region specifying that this place consists of a dome surrounded by latrines, a cistern and a monumental fountain made up of three compartments. Regarding the Menara of Marrakech, it is known for its large garden of olive trees which is located 3 km south-east of the Medina outside the wall and which extends over an area of 88 hectares . “The creation of these gardens dates back to 1157 at the time of the Almohads, its first arrangement is attributed to the caliph Abdel Moumin Ibn Ali, who entrusted its design to the author of the work of the Koutoubia, the Andalusian scholar and legislator Hajj ibn Yaïch », Argues the same source recalling that this orchard has a large basin 200 m long, 150 m wide intended to irrigate the gardens and serving as a training space for soldiers of the Almohad army to prepare them. crossing the Mediterranean to Andalusia. “The Alawite sultan Sidi Muhammad Ibn Abderrahmane had a pavilion built there with a belvedere which served as a place for walks and rest. The building and its small garden were surrounded by a high adobe wall, ”one explains.
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