Bahia Palace
Morocco, Marrakech

Bahia Palace - one of the most luxurious palaces in the city of Marrakesh, located in the Old Town, near the Mellah Market. The Palace of Beauty (the name of the palace is translated in this way) was built by order of Ahmed Ben Moussa, the great vizier and regent at the young sultan Abd al Aziz, for his wives and concubines. Work was carried out from 1859 to 1900, in several stages. The palace plan has been repeatedly changed, as the great vizier constantly connected neighboring land plots, the total area of which, as a result, amounted to 8 hectares. Most of the chambers were completed separately, as a result of which the palace began to resemble a huge labyrinth consisting of living quarters, courtyards with galleries, gardens, pavilions and outbuildings. The palace was built in the Arab-Andalusian style, the author of the project is the architect Mohamed bin Mackey al-Misfoui, he was also tasked with interior design. The inconspicuous walls surrounding the palace hid from prying eyes the wealth and splendor of one of Morocco's most beautiful palaces - citrus, jasmine and cypress gardens with fountains and openwork arbors, a large courtyard "Court of Honor", paved with marble slabs and tiled selidge, arched galleries , secluded courtyards, carved columns, facades with exquisite ornaments and stucco molding. The interior of the palace premises was even more magnificent - painted cedar ceilings, carved doors, mosaic panels, onyx bowls of fountains, openwork grates, fireplaces, sculptures. None of the 160 rooms of the palace resembled the other, the size of the chambers and the splendor of the decor depended directly on the favor of the vizier to this or that concubine. To decorate the palace, marble was delivered from Meknes (to Meknes, in turn, was brought from Italy), cedar was brought from the Atlas mountain region, tiles from Tetuan. About a thousand of the best artisans and craftsmen from Fez worked on the construction of the palace for several years. Bahia Palace was literally buried in luxury, the sultan himself envied his wealth. In 1900, just a few hours after the death of Ba Ahmed, Sultan Abd al-Aziz ordered the removal of furniture and all decorative elements from the palace. The Palace of Beauty was devastated. Only a fraction of the former luxury has been preserved to this day; a reception hall, first floor chambers and a "marble" courtyard are available for visiting. But this is enough to present the former splendor of the palace.

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