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The Saadian Tombs, jewels of Moroccan history

Written on : 10 July 2019
By : Clarisse Haurogné
Remains of the Saadian dynasty

Remains of the Saadian dynasty

Located near the Kasbah, this necropolis of the Saadian dynasty (1524-1659) was rediscovered and opened to the public in 1917, after having been entrusted to the services of the Fine Arts for its restoration. These tombs, which date back to the end of the 16th century, considered to be the most beautiful period in the city, are the work of Sultan Ahmed el Mansour, known as the Golden One, who also designed the El Badi Palace. In the 18th century, Sultan Moulay Ismail decided to remove the remains of the previous dynasty and ordered the burials to be walled up, which were not rediscovered until 1917. 

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A true architectural masterpiece

A true architectural masterpiece

This funeral complex, composed of a chapel and 3 funeral halls, is located in the heart of a charming enclosed garden, which contains the tombs of Ahmed the Golden's twenty-four wives and those of a few soldiers and faithful servants. About sixty graves have been scattered in these 3 halls, with a refined Moorish Hispanic style decoration, with graves adorned with multicoloured zelliges and arabesques, vaulted with stucco stalactites and embellished with marble from Italy. 

When you first enter you will find in the koubba (the dome) the remains of Mohammed Ech Sheikh, the founder of the Saadian dynasty. As you continue, you can see the Mihrab room, which was originally an oratory used as a prayer room in which, from the 18th century onwards, sultan's tombs were added. The latter is divided into three aisles by four white marble columns and a magnificent door that gives access to the large funeral hall, the Kings' Hall, which serves as the main mausoleum. In this room of twelve columns decorated with Carrara marble, the tomb of Sultan Ahmed the Golden rests in the centre of the room along with those of his family. The tomb is overhung by a cedar wooden dome dotted with gold leaf and decorated with poetic epitaphs. And finally, the room of the three niches contains the tombs of the children of the Saadian sultans. 

Practical information

Rue de la Kasbah - Marrakech
Open every day from 9am to 12pm and 2.30pm to 6pm
Price: 10 Dirhams (10 €)