Where should I go in Marrakech?
This is probably one of the first questions you ask yourself once you find yourself in this incredible city.
And the good news is…
There are plenty of attractions in the area to check out from exotic souks and beautiful gardens to great museums and ancient monuments.
Speaking of which…
If you’re a fan of history and architecture, there are quite a few sites you can visit.
Best Places To Visit In Marrakech Morocco
Popular among them is Palais Bahia (Bahia Palace).
In fact, this palace is regularly featured as one of the Top 10 attractions in Marrakech.
And once you arrive here, it’s easy to see why so many people flock to this spot.
Bahia Palace Marrakech – A Must-Visit Site
Open to the public daily, this place means ‘brilliance’ in Arabic and is one of the best preserved historical places in the city.
Constructed between 1866 and 1867 by Si Moussa, Bahia Palace Marrakech is a majestic structure set over 2 acres and featuring 150 wonderfully decorated rooms, a large sun-drenched courtyard as well as a closed-off harem section.
Bahia Palace History – It’s Quite Fascinating
As mentioned above, Bahia Palace was originally built for Si Moussa, a former slave who rose to the position of Chamberlain during Moulay Hassan’s reign, before later going on to become the Grand Vizier of the Sultan.
After his death, his son Abu Ahmed moved in. He gradually rose to power and gained full control of the state until his death in 1900.
And it was during his rule that the beauty of the palace was really enhanced – he wanted lush gardens be designed and built and also ordered the construction of a riad surrounded by citrus trees and splashing fountains.
In addition to this, Abu Ahmed the decoration in all of the rooms was upgraded and done in true Moroccan style using cedarwood and carved stucco.
Unfortunately, the sheer magnificence of Bahia Palace caught the attention of a warlord by the name of Pasha Glaoui, who took control of the place and then used it as a luxurious venue for entertaining important French guests. The latter too were in awe at the beauty of the palace.
Pasha wasn’t able to stay for long though because the French dismissed him and swiftly moved in themselves!
Bahia Palace In Marrakech – The Architecture Is Amazing
Anyone talking about the architecture of this sprawling site will agree that it’s simply stunning.
From the council rooms that are adorned with lovely painted cedarwork and attractive zellige fireplaces, to the living quarters that come with gorgeous stained-glass windows, zellige-tiled floors + impressive decorated ceilings, there’s certainly a lot to admire here.
The courtyard too is splendid with its beautiful fountain and Carrara marble floor.
It’s a great place to sit and spend some time (not to mention take more photos!) after you’ve been walking around for a while.
Is Access Free? What’s The Bahia Palace Entrance Fee?
No, you’ll have to pay for a ticket.
Ticket prices tend to vary slightly.
When we went in, we were charged 70 MAD per adult. I believe locals are charged around 10 MAD.
> Is it possible to book a ticket in advance so you do not have to wait in line?
Nope, you’ll have to show up and then queue to purchase your tickets.
> Is there a Bahia Palace dress code?
But it’s a good idea to keep it casual and comfortable, without wearing anything too tight-fitting or revealing.
> Is there parking?
I don’t think so, no.
Oh and by the way, opening hours are usually from 9 am – 5 pm (every single day of the week).
Palais Bahia Marrakech – Is It Good? Is There A Downside?
See…the palace, while large and beautiful to look at, is totally empty.
Sadly, there isn’t any furniture or even paintings in the rooms, so you’ll have to use your imagination to think of how it might have once looked.
In fact, for 70 MAD per adult, the Moroccan authorities should ideally put up information boards around the palace and make an effort to highlight the rich history of the palace and its residents.
A proper restroom would be a nice addition too.
Hopefully, this is carried out in the near future because it would really make the place come alive.
So why bother going, you ask?
Well, for starters, Bahia Palace is constantly voted as one of the top attractions in Marrakech, Morocco.
Also, it has a really interesting and fascinating history.
More importantly, the architecture is just fabulous and a perfect example of Moroccan and Islamic decor.
All of this makes it a must-visit site.
Quick Tip: Get A Bahia Palace Guide
If you want to make the most of your trip here, I’d suggest booking a guided tour.
We opted to see the palace by ourselves, but noticed several tourists arriving with guides accompanying them.
You can definitely get a better understanding of the place this way, instead of googling for more information once you get back to your hotel, like I did!