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January 30, 2011

Palais de la Bahia (Bahia Palace)

The Bahia Palace is a palace and a set of gardens located in Marrakech, Morocco. It was built in the late 19th century, intended to be the greatest palace of its time. The name means "brilliance". As in other buildings of the period in other countries, it was intended to capture the essence of the Islamic and Moroccan style. There is a 2 acre (8,000 m²) garden with rooms opening onto courtyards.

Set up at the end of 19th century by Si Moussa, grand vizier of the sultan, for his personal use, this palace would bear the name of one of his wives. Here, the harem, which includes a vast court decorated with a central basin and surrounded by rooms intended for the concubines. As the black slave Abu Ahmed rose to power and wealth towards the end of the 19th century, he had the Bahia palace built by bringing in craftsmen from Fez. The structures tell a lot about the taste of the nouveau-riche of its time, and can appear vulgar to modern tastes. It was intended to become the greatest palace of its time, but it is really dominated by hasty planning as well as uninspired detail work.

Additional information from the guide:
The king had 24 concubines, and they had to share rooms instead of having a room each. The concubines never get the chance to leave the room unless permitted. And that's why there's a special made wardrobe in the rooms for them to put their dirty clothes which will be collected from the outside through another opening of wardrobe...

Bahia Palace 01

This is how I look if I dress up like a typical Muslim, with a tudung/selendang over my head.
I think I look funny... >.<"

Bahia Palace 02

Bahia Palace 03

Bahia Palace 04

Bahia Palace 05

Bahia Palace 06

The courtyard.

Bahia Palace 08

Bahia Palace 09

Very huge windows.

Bahia Palace 10

Bahia Palace 11

Bahia Palace 12

... to be continued...



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