El Badi Palace
El Badi Palace © Oliver Mallich
The El Badi Palace ('the incomparable palace') consists of the remnants of a glorious palace built by the Saadian King Ahmad al-Mansur, in 1578. The original building is thought to have had about 360 rooms, a courtyard and a pool, and was decorated with Italian marble and large amounts of Sudanese gold. It also had a small, underground jail where the king kept his prisoners. Unfortunately, the original palace was torn apart by the Alaouite Sultan Mawlay Ismail. The design of the palace was influenced by Granada's Alhambra. Today, the once luxurious palace is a ruin consisting of some intact rooms and numerous walls, terraces, gardens and foundations. The underground jail can still be explored and there are a number of beautiful mosaics surviving, but visitors have to use some imagination to conjure up the onetime grandeur of the place. The ruins are somewhat romantic but very little effort has gone into maintaining or preserving the site. Despite the ramshackle nature of the attraction anybody with an interest in history and archaeological sites should enjoy exploring the site. There is little or no shade so travellers should go prepared for the sun and should avoid the hottest part of the day. There is a small admission fee.
Address: Place des Ferblantiers