Marrakesh, Morocco

There are few sights in Marrakesh, where everybody goes. Ben Youssef Madrasa, El Bahia, Majorelle Gardens or Saadian Tombs. I go with the saying – seen one, seen them all and because Ben Youssef was closed for reconstruction till 2020, I chose El Bahia, „the brilliant one“. It is indeed a beautifull example of Andalusian and Moorish culture, the ornamental ceilings, carved cedarwood and colorful stained-glass windows. Afterall it‘s said that El Bahia is perhaps one of the best-preserved historic sites in Morrocco.

Entering a palace from the noisy, dusty streets is always a bit of relief, even though this time you might be a bit shocked by very different entrance fee for foreigners and for Moroccan residents. But in the end its still cheap. The amount of people in the first patio is another thing to swallow. Groups following the guide, blocking your way. Tiles not so pretty as you thought, not so shiny, not so bright. In total, the palace compound is about 8000 m2 in size and has about 150 rooms, only some of them are open for public though. And all of them are empty (when Vizier died, his wifes, sultan and many others took all the work and furniture). No signs, no marks and no explanation (that actually explains all those guides blocking your way, another „smart“ way of Morroccans how to „steal“ your money). But still, Palais de la Bahia is  impressive to such an extent that one can imagine how luxurious life of the Viziers must have been here in 19th century. And, of course, it is also very photogenic - the geometry of the tiles, its colours, arches, precise craftsmanship and the warm light coming through molecules of dust, enlightening all those details.

Address: Avenue Imam El Ghazali, Marrakech 40000, Morocco

Opening hours: Mon–Sun: 9:00 – 17:00

Website: http://www.palais-bahia.com/en/