One of the most impressive sights in Marrakech: the Koutoubia is one of the largest and most beautiful mosques in the Western Muslim world. The 78 m high minaret is a Hispano-Moorish work of art very similar to the Giralda in Seville. The Bahia Palace was built in the late 19th century on a two-acre garden. It is a haphazard arrangement of secret luxury apartments with interior patios.
For seven years, around a thousand artisans from the Fez region worked in this palace. The only sections open to the public are the apartments of the sultan’s favorite concubine, the council chamber (with tiled walls and illuminated cedar-wood ceilings), and the large central courtyard (paved with marble and decorated with tiles and fountains).
The Saadian Tombs, with their delicate decorations and pure architectural lines, are considered by many to be a beautiful feat of architecture. They were first built to house the tombs of the Saadi sultan, Ahmed el Mansour. In 1591 the first “koubba” (the dome on top of a mosque) of this cemetery was built to the south of the Casbah.
At the base of the Atlas Mountains are the Menara Gardens. Covering 250 acres and dotted with olive trees, the gardens surround a large central lake that dates back to the 12th century and is fed by a network of irrigation canals. At the water’s edge stands a small pavilion of Saadia. With the snow-capped peaks in the background, this is a breathtaking sight as night falls and the golden rays of the setting sun hit the mountains.