El Badi Palace
|El Badi Palace|
|Alternative names||The Incomparable Palace|
|Location||Ksibat Nhass, Marrakesh, Morocco|
|Demolished||ca. late 17th century|
El Badi Palace (Arabic: قصر البديع; meaning The incomparable palace) is a ruined palace located in Marrakesh, Morocco. It was commissioned by the sultan Ahmad al-Mansur of the Saadian dynasty sometime shortly after his accession in 1578. The palace's construction was funded by a substantial ransom paid by the Portuguese after the Battle of the Three Kings. It is currently a popular tourist attraction.
Construction and design
The palace took fifteen years to build, with construction finally completed around 1593 and was a lavish display of the best craftmanship of the Saadian period. Constructed using some of the most expensive materials of the time, including gold and onyx, the colonnades are said to be constructed from marble exchanged with Italian merchants for their equivalent weight in sugar. The original building is thought to have consisted of 360 richly decorated rooms, a courtyard (135×110 m) and a central pool (90×20 m).
There are several large pavilions on the site, which are believed to have been used as summer houses. The largest on the site is known in Arabic as Koubba el Khamsiniya, which translates into 'The Fifty Pavilion', named either after its surface area of some 50 cubits or the fact that it once contained 50 columns. The site also includes several stables and dungeons.
After the fall of the Saadians and the rise of the Alaouite dynasty, the palace entered a period of rapid decline. Sultan Ismail Ibn Sharif stripped the building of its contents, building materials and decorations, to be used in the construction of his new palace in his new capital at Meknes.
For a number of years the Marrakesh Folklore Festival has taken place within the palace.
- Jacobs, Daniel; McVeigh, Shaun (2010). The Rough Guide to Morocco. Dorling Kindersley Ltd. p. 366.
- Honnor, Julius (2012). Morocco Footprint Handbook (6 ed.). Footprint Travel Guides. p. 60.
- Searight, Susan (1999). Maverick Guide to Morocco. LA, USA: Pelican Publishing Company, Inc. p. 403.
Media related to El Badi Palace at Wikimedia Commons