On our last day in Marrakech we decided to visit the Palais de Bahia. As an architecture appreciator, I was looking forward to finally getting to see inside a Moroccan palace! Unfortunately, the weather was rubbish, but we wouldn’t let that put a dampener on our last day. We layered up and set out with out map and a vague idea of where we were going.
A patisserie surprise
As it turned out, the winding streets of Marrakech would best us once again. We got completely lost, eventually found our bearings, and ended up cold, a little damp, and in need of a hot drink and a sit down with our map. We came across a little French patisserie, which turned out to be a delightful surprise. I’ve tried so hard to find the name of but I can’t, so if you ever come across a patisserie hidden down one of the souks near the Koranic School, take a chance and have a peek inside, it might be the one I’m talking about!
The frontage of the shop looked like your usual upmarket patisserie-cafe. When the staff asked if we would like to sit in the covered terrace area, we agreed, curious to see what it was like. We were guided to an open courtyard, with beautiful architecture and an overall ‘stunning’ atmosphere. We ordered hot chocolate and a slice of cake to share, and sat down to relax for a while.
We could see hints of more buildings though the doors next to us and couldn’t resist going for a little explore. What we found was insane, and I wish I’d snapped a few pictures – I was too busy being surprised! Through the doors was a luxury Riad, and by luxury, I mean an elongated indoor swimming pool surrounded by lavish furnishings and intricate lamps was one of the first things we came across. It was a truly beautiful building with wonderful decoration, and made our detour for lunch a more interesting experience than we thought!
Palais de Bahia
Yummy hot chocolate, some decadent cake, and a long look at the map later, we ventured off in search of the Palace. Thankfully, we managed to find it! Palais de Bahia is a collection of houses and gardens which were converted into a palace around 1900 by the Moroccan architect El Mekki. Since then, the palace is still used for visits by foreign dignitaries. Areas of the palace and gardens are open to visitors for the bargain price of 10 MAD (about €1), and it’s well worth a visit!
Much like at the Saadain Tombs, the doorways were decorated with intricate, hand carved detailing.
The windows and doors were colourful, with patterned shutters and painted wood.
Simply looking up was spectacular. The ceilings were painted and carved in minute detail in so many of the rooms. Thinking about the dedication put in to the build and maintenance of the palace is incredible.
The courtyards were wonderful examples of Moroccan decoration. The mosaic tiled floors and feature fountains are seen across Morocco, although the grand scale of the ‘Court of Honour‘ the largest we’d seen!
It really was the detail of this Palace which made it such a pleasure to visit. Everywhere we saw incredible design in an array of vibrant colours which satisfied my love of Moroccan decoration.
It was only our hungry tummies which pulled us away from the palace, we had a late lunch to eat and a plane to catch!
That’s all for my Moroccan adventures, but not the last you’ll hear of Morocco! I have a post planned on our hostel, and a couple of photo diaries featuring iconic Moroccan decoration… That’s all I’ll say for now! If you’d like to keep up to date with posts from North Leads To Home you can subscribe using the widget in my sidebar ->