MARRAKESH – NOVEMBER 2006
"LA MENARA - This pavilion, built in the 16th century by the Saadi dynasty, was renovated in 1869 by sultan Abderrahmane who usually came here in summer to spend some time. On our back there are the Atlas Mountains; unfortunately the morning haze blurred the pictures"
"MENARA ARTIFICIAL LAKE - The basin, supplied with water from the Atlas Mountains located at approximately 30 km distance through an old hydraulic system, was created to irrigate the surrounding gardens and orchards. The gardens and orchards were built around 1130 by the Almohad ruler Abd al-Mu'min. The stadium-like environment is prepared for the Sound and Light show..."
"AVENUE - A large avenue links La Menara to the Koutoubia mosque"
"KOUTOUBIA - The 69 m tall minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque («Booksellers» mosque, due to the manuscript sellers that set shop around it since its creation), was built by Yacoub al-Mansour, grandson of Sultan Abdelmounen, who built the mosque in the 12th century. The mosque is the largest in Marrakech, and its minaret was used as model for the Giralda of Seville and for the Hassan Tower of Rabat"
"THE BAHIA PALACE, set within a 8,000 square metres garden, was constructed inside the Kasbah of Marrakech between 1894 and 1900 for Ahmed Ibn Moussa, the son of the grand vizier of Muhammad IV, and was intended to be the greatest palace of its time. Later, it served as the residence of the General Hubert Lyautey, the first French Resident-General of Morocco, from 1912 through 1925"
"HAREM - The palace, once home to a harem, would bear the name of one of the wives of the grand vizier. It includes a vast court decorated with a central basin and surrounded by rooms varying in size according to the importance of each wife or concubine. Nowadays, it seems that the palace is sometimes closed when the royal family is in town, as their staff stays here..."
"CEILINGS - As in other buildings of the same period in other countries, Bahia Palace was intended to capture the essence of the Islamic and Moroccan style. The rooms provide a marvellous display of carved-cedar, painted wood and zouak ceilings"
"WALLS - The palace's decorative program also consists of carved stucco, further to carved and painted woodwork, and glazed ceramic tile. Some craftsmen from Fez were brought in to work in the construction of the Palace"
"THE SAADIAN TOMBS were only discovered in 1917 and then restored. The necropolis contains some sixty tombs of members of the Saadi dinasty (1554-1659), including those of the sultan Ahmad al-Mansur (1578-1603) and his family. Outside the building there is this garden and the graves of soldiers and servants"
"PORTAL - It's much more beautiful than it looks here..."
"TWELVE COLUMNS ROOM - The necropolis is composed of three rooms, the most famous being the room with the twelve columns, where the tomb of the son of the sultan's son Ahmad al-Mansur can be found. The stele is in finely carved cedar wood and stucco work and the graves are made of Italian Carrara marble"
"ARCH - The beauty of the decoration made the Saadian Tombs one of the most important tourist attractions in Marrakech"