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The palace of Bahia (palace of the beautiful, the brilliant) is a nineteenth century palace of eight hectares located in Marrakech. It is one of the masterpieces of Moroccan architecture, one of the major monuments of the country’s cultural heritage and one of the main places of tourism in Morocco.

Between 1866 and 1867 the northern part of this vast palace of 8000 m² (the largest and most luxurious palace of Morocco of its time) is built in the south-east of the medina of Marrakech, close to the current royal palace, by the Moroccan architect El Mekki. It is built for Si Moussa, chamberlain of Sultan Hassan I of Morocco.

Ahmed ben Moussa (1841-1900, son of Si Moussa, successor to his father as chamberlain) reign over Morocco from 1894 to his demise in 1900 as regent of the young sultan Abd al-Aziz of Morocco. During his reign, Ahmed ben Moussa enlarged the southern part of the official palace and their many children. The powerful Ahmed Ben Moussa would have erected this palace for his favorite mistress, hence the name of Bahia “the beautiful, the brilliant”.

At the death of Ben Moussa, Sultan Abd al-Aziz of Morocco takes power and orders the looting of the palace. The latter established the French protectorate in Morocco, under which General Lyautey, then resident general of France in Morocco (future Marshal of France) in fact, from 1912, his personal place of residence and a residence of French officers in there. adding fireplaces, heating and electricity.

To date, the palace is open to visit, to concerts of Arab-Andalusian music and art exhibitions. The Moroccan royal family of King Mohammed VI of Morocco stays there sometimes in an important private part not open to the public.
Spread over almost eight hectares, the palace is made up of about 150 richly decorated pieces of moucharabiehs, marble, carvings and paintings on beech and cedar wood, stucco, zellige, the first stained glass windows of the Maghreb, housed in Heterogeneous buildings, with no established order, organized around many verdant and refreshing green courtyards / gardens planted with orange, banana, cypress, hibiscus and jasmine trees and irrigated by khettaras …

From 1866 to 1867: the residence of Si Moussa (chamberlain of Sultan Hassan I of Morocco) is built in the north-west part of the palace, in the form of a large riad built around a garden, with the large northern courtyard and dependencies …
From 1894 to 1900: Ahmed ben Moussa (son of Si Moussa, successor of the post of chamberlain of his father) makes expand the palace of his father by the acquisition of an important set of neighboring dwellings, arranged by the architect Mohammed al-Makki and by the best know-how of the best craftsmen of the country of the time in many apartments, rooms and salons entangled in labyrinth, with mosque, Koranic school, harem, hammam, stables, Islamic garden with close to the west the “Gardens of the Bahia Palace” with huge vegetable garden and orchard of olive trees, palm trees, date palms, lemon trees, orange trees …

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