Saadian Tombs

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by SaraP on October 12, 2003

The Saadian dynasty, originally from Arabia, succeeded in gaining power in the mid C16 by their popular move to send the Portuguese invaders packing and allying with the Spanish. The Saadians only retained power for one or two generation and, at the same time that their successor, Moulay Ismail, pillaged the Badi palace, he decided to seal up the Saadian Tomb area (superstitious that their spirits would pursue him if he ransacked here too, he satisfied himself with blocking all but an obscure entrance from the kasbah mosque – despite this, it seems a few prominent Marrakechis were buried in the mausoleums up until 1792).

The necropolis lay semi-forgotten until early C20 when a French aerial map identified the hidden passageway which gave access from the kasbah mosque. Now restored, it seems to be the city’s "must-sees" and is consequently very busy with tour parties; but, no matter, it is spectacular sight – 66 Saadians are buried under two of the three main structures and there are child graves liberally scattered everyone; the third of the buildings (called the Hall of the Twelve Columns) contains the leading members of the family. It’s quite exhaustive in its detail and decoration--the zellij-covered tiled tombs are unfortunately quite dark and you can’t really appreciate the inner carvings of the doorway arches (see below).

The former compulsory guided tours have been suspended so you can wander about or sit towards the back next to the high walls where you can be shaded with shrubs and palms and bright flowers, admiring the dotted tomb tiling.

Daily 9am-5pm; 10dh.

Saadian Tombs
Next To Kasbah Mosque, Off Rue De La Kasbah
Marrakesh, Morocco

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