El Bahia – the melancholy of a palace in the heart of Marrakech
Marrakech is one of the places in Morocco for the visit of which the time is never enough because the city has many faces and stories to tell. The medina is where the real life of ordinary people happens – colorful, noisy and sometimes dirty.
In stark contrast are places like the El Bahia Palace. Designed to present an essential mix of Moroccan and Islamic architectural styles today the building looks beautiful and melancholic. Not surprisingly, its name means “brilliance”. Brilliant in its simplicity, the colors inspired by nature are combined perfectly in the frescoes on the walls, the dark and rough wood of the huge doors and the white-blue trim. Cut like lace arches of doors and corridors give the place a very aesthetic appearance. Beautiful Moroccan mosaics in various shades, arranged by skillful hand on the floors and walls of the palace define different areas of habitation. Patio with a beautiful fountain in the middle predispose visitors to head up the deep blue sky and breathe deeply of fresh air as the air indoors is filled with the smell of old wood. The garden surrounding the palace is filled with orange trees and other typical for this climate vegetation, which loads the place with freshness and tranquility. Even the ubiquitous cats have been resting in the shade and do not worry about the unobtrusive presence of tourists. And they themselves are blinded by the beauty and tranquility of the place and walk in silence, slowly and with pleasure. Unfortunately, only one part of the wonderful palace in whose construction worked best masters for 14 years, is opened to visitors. And this part is the part where the female secrets and struggle for influence were representing the everyday life – the harem of the grand vizier of the Sultan.
Single disappointment remains bitter in my mouth after visiting this special place in Marrakech. The palace is empty. No furniture, no other signs of the presence of previous occupants. An empty, beautiful, melancholic building in the heart of Imperial Marrakesh, which you should see if you are lucky enough to be there. And put your camera ready because the beautiful architectural details will surely enchant you. But maybe you will feel differently, maybe you will see another face of this palace – cheerful, full of life. Then I will be happy if you share it here on this page. Because this is the wealth of travel – we see places and people through our own perceptions that are as similar as they are different.
Address: Rue Riad Zitoun el-Jedid, Marrakesh, Morocco / Entrance fee: 10 dirhams (around 1 EUR) / Opening hours: 9 to 4:30 p.m.