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El Badi Palace

El Badi Palace
El Badi Palace from Wall 2011.jpg
Alternative namesThe Incomparable Palace
General information
LocationKsibat Nhass, Marrakesh, Morocco
Coordinates31°37′06″N 7°59′09″W / 31.6183°N 7.9858°W / 31.6183; -7.9858
Construction started1578
Demolishedca. late 17th century

El Badi Palace (Arabic: قصر البديع‎, meaning Palace of the Creator of Wonder or Palace of Wonder;[1] also anglicized as the Badic Palace[2]) is a ruined palace located in Marrakesh, Morocco. It was commissioned by the sultan Ahmad al-Mansur of the Saadian dynasty sometime shortly after his accession in 1578. The palace's construction was funded by a substantial ransom paid by the Portuguese after the Battle of the Three Kings.[3] It is currently a popular tourist attraction.[3]

Construction and design

The palace took fifteen years to build, with construction finally completed around 1593 and was a lavish display of the best craftmanship of the Saadian period.[4] Constructed using some of the most expensive materials of the time, including gold and onyx, the colonnades are said to be constructed from marble exchanged with Italian merchants for their equivalent weight in sugar.[4] The original building is thought to have consisted of 360 richly decorated rooms, a courtyard (135×110 m) and a central pool (90×20 m).

Marrakech and El Badi Palace, by Adriaen Matham, 1640

There are several large pavilions on the site, which are believed to have been used as summer houses. The largest on the site is known in Arabic as al-Quba al-Khamsiniya (القُبة الَخْمسينية), which translates into 'The Fifty Pavilion', named either after its surface area of some 50 cubits or the fact that it once contained 50 columns.[4] "Al-Quba al-Khamsiniya" is also the title of a poem by Abd al-Aziz al-Fishtali, poet laureate of Sultan Ahmed al-Mansur's court.[5] The site also includes several stables and dungeons.[4]


After the fall of the Saadians and the rise of the Alaouite dynasty, the palace entered a period of rapid decline. Sultan Ismail Ibn Sharif stripped the building of its contents, building materials and decorations, to be used in the construction of his new palace in his new capital at Meknes.[6]


Forecourt of El Badi Palace

The palace today is a well known tourist attraction. The complex contains a museum, with exhibits such as a restored 12th-century minbar that once stood in the Koutoubia Mosque.[4]

For a number of years the Marrakesh Folklore Festival has taken place within the palace.[6]

See also


  1. ^ Team, Almaany. "Translation and Meaning of بديع In English, English Arabic Dictionary of terms Page 1". Retrieved 2019-05-30.
  2. ^ []. Retrieved 2019-05-30. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ a b Jacobs, Daniel; McVeigh, Shaun (2010). The Rough Guide to Morocco. Dorling Kindersley Ltd. p. 366.
  4. ^ a b c d e Honnor, Julius (2012). Morocco Footprint Handbook (6 ed.). Footprint Travel Guides. p. 60.
  5. ^ "دعوة الحق - عبد العزيز الفشتالي شعره، لنجاة المريني". Retrieved 2019-05-30.
  6. ^ a b Searight, Susan (1999). Maverick Guide to Morocco. LA, USA: Pelican Publishing Company, Inc. p. 403.

External links

Media related to El Badi Palace at Wikimedia Commons

  • Page of the holy Qoran, "executed in the Mosque of the Al-Badi Palace in Marrakech, and finished on the 13th day of the month of Rab'ia in the year 1008 after the Hegira during the reign of Sultan Ahmed el-Mansour, father of moulay Zidan Abu Maali" retrieved on 20 December 2006)