The 7 Best Palaces in Morocco
Morocco, steeped in a rich monarchical tradition, has been primarily governed by kings throughout its captivating history. This enduring royal legacy adds a distinctive and intriguing dimension to the country for modern-day travelers. Morocco is adorned with a plethora of royal palaces, many of which are still in use by the Alawite Royal Family. This ongoing occupation lends an air of authenticity and significance to these magnificent structures.
Yet, Morocco architectural treasures extend beyond its royal residences. The country boasts numerous majestic buildings constructed by prominent courtiers and figures within its hierarchical system, each bearing its unique history and essence. These monuments are equally resplendent, offering a sensory feast for those fortunate enough to explore them.
In this presentation, we endeavor to introduce you to the 7 best palaces in Morocco. However, we acknowledge that many other palaces are equally deserving of recognition. Each palace possesses its enchantment and allure, and our selection represents an invitation to uncover some of the most exceptional.
We encourage you to get into the grandeur of these palaces, marvel at their fantastic architectural designs, and delve into the intricate tapestry of their ornamentation. Prepare for a journey back in time as you discover the beauty and historical significance enshrined within these splendid Moroccan palaces!
Dar al-Majzen in Rabat
Dar al-Majzen, situated in Rabat, holds the distinction of being Morocco primary palace and serves as the official residence of the current king. Due to understandable security reasons, access to the palace’s interior is restricted, but its historical significance and status make it a compelling site to visit, particularly to witness its grand entrance.
What immediately captivates the eye is the majestic entrance arch, designed with a vaulted structure that forms an impressive and triumphant gateway. The arch is adorned with exquisite geometric ceramic motifs, adding intricate ornamentation to the entire facade. Every detail of the palace exudes a sense of harmony and refined opulence.
While it may not be possible to explore the palace’s inner chambers, the mere presence of Dar al-Majzen in Rabat serves as a testament to the monarchy’s power and significance in Morocco. The palace encapsulates the architectural beauty and sophistication associated with the country’s royalty. Each element of its design was meticulously crafted to reflect the grandeur and reverence attributed to the monarchy.
Surrounded by lush gardens and expansive grounds, the palace imparts a feeling of tranquility and sanctuary. Its imposing presence, coupled with the richness of its decorative elements, creates an awe-inspiring and captivating ambiance for those fortunate enough to view it from the exterior. Dar al-Majzen stands as a symbol of Moroccan history and tradition, and its timeless elegance continues to inspire admiration for its magnificence.
Royal Palace of Fes
The Royal Palace of Fes, often regarded as one of Morocco most splendid palaces, stands as an architectural masterpiece, even though its interiors are not open to visitors. Approaching its majestic gates and admiring its exterior facade remains a remarkable experience not to be missed. The Golden Gates themselves are a monument of exceptional beauty and are well worth contemplation.
Constructed in the 14th century, this palatial complex gleams with a resplendent golden hue, achieved through the use of bronze and adorned with green and blue ceramics, characteristic of Fes. Situated in proximity to the Mellah, or Jewish quarter, the Royal Palace of Fes signifies the enduring relationship between this community and the monarchy.
While the palace’s interior remains inaccessible, its architectural grandeur and the opulence of its gates offer a captivating glimpse into Morocco historical and cultural richness. This palace serves as a living testament to the opulence and sophistication associated with the Moroccan monarchy, and its imposing presence serves as a reminder of the deep historical ties between royalty and the local community throughout the centuries.
Bahia Palace in Marrakech
The Bahia Palace in Marrakech one of the best palaces in Morocco, while not a royal palace, was once the residence of Ba Ahmed, the grand vizier of Sultans Moulay Hassan and Abd al-Aziz in the late 19th century. The palace’s name, (Bahia), is a reference to “the beautiful” or “the favorite,” signifying Ba Ahmed’s affection for someone within the palace. Today, the rooms are sparsely furnished, but the architectural complex still exudes opulence and grandeur.
Constructed primarily with Italian marble, the Bahia Palace enchants visitors with its lush courtyards, which infuse the environment with charm and freshness. Despite the absence of furnishings, the spaces retain the sense of luxury that once characterized this residence. The verdant courtyards, adorned with delicate fountains and exquisite tiles, create a magical ambiance, transporting visitors back to an era of splendor.
While Ba Ahmed no longer resides in the palace, his legacy endures in every corner of this magnificent structure. The Bahia Palace serves as a testament to the opulence and artistic sophistication that defined the architecture and living spaces of the Morocco elite during that historical period. Despite the lack of furniture, the palace’s majestic spaces and the beauty of its verdant courtyards continue to astonish visitors, revealing the cultural richness of Marrakech.
Royal Palace of Tetouan
The Royal Palace of Tetouan, situated in Plaza Hassan II, Tetouan, is another splendid Moroccan palace that captivates visitors and is a site worthy of being immortalized in photographs. This 19th-century palace showcases a Hispano-Muslim architectural style and harmoniously integrates with the prevailing color of Tetouan, primarily characterized by its white walls. The elegant main stone entrance, with its impressive design, welcomes visitors and offers an initial glimpse of the beauty and grandeur within.
Originally serving as the main residence of the High Commissariat, the sultan’s representative during the Spanish Protectorate in the 20th century, the Royal Palace of Tetouan holds a rich history and historical significance evident in every corner and architectural detail. The palace beautifully reflects the influence of both Hispanic and Muslim cultures, creating a unique and captivating ambiance.
While admiring the Royal Palace of Tetouan from the outside, one can sense the deep connection between the city’s history and its present. Its strategic location at the entrance to the medina underscores its relevance in Tetouan life and identity. The palace stands as a testament to the relationship between the Spanish protectorate and Morocco, and its imposing presence serves as a reminder of the city’s political and cultural importance.
Visiting the Royal Palace of Tetouan offers a journey through a blend of architectural styles and historical epochs, allowing exploration of the cultural richness of this charming Moroccan city. From its exterior to its intricate history, this palace is a must-visit for architecture enthusiasts and history aficionados, offering a captivating glimpse into the shared heritage of Morocco and Spain.
Glaoui Palace in Fes
Our list of the 7 best palaces in Morocco concludes with the fantastic Glaoui Palace in Fes. This palace was the residence of Thami el Glaoui, the Pasha of Marrakech in the early 20th century and one of the most influential figures in the country’s history during that era. Thami el Glaoui chose to construct this palace in Fes as his residence for visits to the city.
One notable aspect of this palace is that visitors can explore its interior, providing a deep dive into the history and grandeur of this edifice. While it exhibits signs of age, its past magnificence is still evident. A particularly striking feature is the beautiful interior courtyard adorned with wooden beams that are masterpieces of cabinetmaking. This space invites visitors to envision the palace’s former splendor and marvel at its unique architectural details.
Moreover, the Glaoui Palace in Fes holds the distinction of being the first palace in Morocco to have electricity and air conditioning, showcasing Thami el Glaoui’s forward-thinking approach and his desire to equip his residence with the most modern comforts of the time.
Touring this palace is akin to immersing oneself in the history of Morocco and the life of one of the most influential figures of that era. Every corner narrates a story and conjures a sense of historical opulence. Despite the passage of time, the Glaoui Palace in Fes stands as a tangible testament to the cultural and architectural wealth of the country.
Exploring this palace offers entry into a world of beauty and elegance, providing a deeper understanding of the history and impact of Thami el Glaoui on Morocco evolution. It’s an enriching experience that encourages visitors to appreciate local craftsmanship, architectural refinement, and the legacy of a man who left an indelible mark on the country’s history.
El Badi Palace in Marrakech
El Badi Palace in Marrakech, one of the best palaces in Morocco, dating back to the 1500s, stands as an enduring testament to the grandeur of the Saadian Dynasty in Marrakech, Morocco. Commissioned by Sultan Ahmed al-Mansour, this magnificent palace once symbolized the opulence and power of the era.
Constructed in classic Moroccan architectural style, it featured a vast central courtyard surrounded by four wings. The walls were adorned with intricate mosaics and carvings, and towering columns were crafted from precious marble. This architectural splendor aimed to leave an indelible impression on visitors.
However, in the late 17th century, Sultan Mulay Ismail opted to dismantle a significant portion of the palace, removing valuable furniture, decorative elements, and ornamental details. This included the gold panels and Italian marble that once adorned the premises, as well as the iconic access door known as Bab Al-Rokham.
Despite its present state of ruins, El Badi Palace continues to echo the glory of the Saadian Dynasty. It serves as a historical and cultural treasure, allowing visitors to step back in time and envision the former splendor of Marrakech. A visit to El Badi Palace is a journey through Moroccan history, art, and architecture, a testament to the enduring legacy of the Saadian Dynasty in this vibrant city.
Dar Jamai Palace in Meknes
The 19th-century Dar Jamai Palace, an architectural gem in Morocco, bears the legacy of the affluent Jama’i family, known for their opulent creations. Notably, the Jama’i family also contributed to Fes architectural splendor with the creation of the Jamai Palace, which has transformed into a luxurious hotel.
Dar Jamai Palace, nestled in Meknes, has been thoughtfully repurposed into a museum, opening its doors to visitors eager to explore Morocco rich heritage. Inside, a captivating collection of artifacts and objects from Meknes and various corners of Morocco awaits. These exhibits offer a glimpse into the country’s diverse cultural tapestry, from historical relics to traditional crafts.
As you wander through the palace-turned-museum, you will take the best journey through time, gaining insights into Morocco history, craftsmanship, and artistic expression that have shaped this vibrant nation.