Every step Becca and I took with our local guide Sahmi seemed to sink us further and further into a gem box as we explored the winding souk lanes, then the Bahia Palace. Exquisitely laid mosaic floors, fragrant orange-tree lined terraces and bare plaster walls awaiting thick winter tapestries, crowned with neck achingly ornate ceilings.
And the occasional inevitable shoefie. You can take the blogger out of London, but you’ll never quite conquer her photography addiction…
The Bahia Palace set in extensive gardens, was built in the late 19th century by the Grand Vizier of Marrakech, Si Ahmed ben Musa (Bou-Ahmed). Bou Ahmed resided here with his four wives, 24 concubines and many children.
With a name meaning “brilliance”, it was intended to be the greatest
palace of its time and, as in similar developments of the period in
other countries, it was designed to capture the essence of the Islamic and Moroccan style.
Our imaginations ran riot through the secret doors, worship chambers, enclosed spaces, large sun filled courtyards and bloom carved doors.
Bou-Ahmed paid special attention to the privacy of the palace in its
construction and employed architectural features such as multiple doors
which prevented unwelcome views of the interior (mostly to protect his
harem and their children.
The palace took seven years to build, with hundreds of craftsmen from Fes working on its wood, carved stucco and zellij.
You can easily imagine (without the selfie wielding tourists) the slippered hustle and bustle of a Grand Vizier’s court; trays of sweetened mint tea and bite size delicacies wheeling through the corridors, whispered familial intrigues, children being naughty in amongst the lavish greenery and occasional biting words between the wives vying for affection.