I’m sorry dear readers and friends, I declare that I failed in capturing the beauty of Bahia Palace and Marrakech souk in Morocco through my camera lens.
At that time in 2015, I never dreamt of becoming a travel and finance blogger hence I didn’t really bother to take many beautiful photos of the sites.
Furthermore… not to excuse myself, Moroccans do not like being photographed. Although I didn’t mean to focus on the locals, they seemed worried whenever I pointed the camera.
As a girl who wandered around the souk alone with a DSLR on her hands, I tried to be polite by not taking too many photos. And to ensure that I was safe from pickpockets, until the time I had to gather with the rest of the tour group.
However, that’s not an excuse for not taking beautiful photos of two of the must-visit sites in Morocco!
Therefore the title of this week’s blog post >.< #glimpse
Bahia Palace, a Declaration of Love by a Moroccan Grand Vizier
Women should believe when people say ‘when a man loves you, he will prove it by his actions.”
If the existence of the Taj Mahal, the grand ivory-white marble mausoleum in India isn’t enough to convince you, ladies, let Palais Bahia or Bahia Palace does.
Ahmed Ben Moussa, a former slave who climbed the ranks and became the Grand Vizier of the Moroccan sultan, built what ought to be the greatest palace of its time: the Bahia Palace.
Originally, Bahia Palace was built for the personal use of the grand vizier, Ahmed ben Moussa (1866-1867). Eventually, the palace was occupied and beautifully enhanced by his son, Bou Ahmed (1894-1900).
In the beautifully decorated and lush palace, Bou Ahmed lived with his four wives and twenty-four concubines.
Among his harem, Bahia was the one that Bou Ahmed loved the most, therefore, the palace is named after her.
Bahia also had the biggest room with her own courtyard (yeah, girl!).
At the entrance, there’s a short reading about Bahia Palace for a better understanding of whoever visiting.
My name means “magnificent”, which I truly am.
At nearly two hectares (five acres), I am one of the largest palaces in the medina.
I am the work of the grand vizier Ahmed ben Moussa, known as Ba Hmad (and his father the chamberlain Moussa Ben Mbarek El Boukhari), who ordered my construction during his twilight years, from 1894 to 1900.
I hold a collection of courtyards, gardens, salons, and outbuildings, all of which are equal in their beauty, architectural splendor, and surroundings: a large entrance courtyard with enormous trees, the small riad (traditional home) surrounded by rooms and niches, the small, open-air courtyard with rooms housing master’s quarters, the main, 50- by 30-meter courtyard and its magnificent meeting room, the large riad with lush vegetation, surrounded by rooms and niches, and finally, another private apartment containing two rooms and two niches that opens onto a covered area.
I am entirely decorated with zellij (mosaic tile) and finely sculpted and painted plaster and wood.
Beyond my walls, the Agdal Ba Hmad was once an extensive orchard with square plant beds irrigated by a central pond.
Upon leaving, one can visit the Dar Si Said Museum and the Tiskiwin Museum, both of which are located nearby.
Marrakech Souk, Drama and My Two Cents
Marrakech souk is exotic and the price of the goods is affordable, a haven for those looking for Moroccan mementos.
Bear in mind, when you travel in Morocco, “memento” here doesn’t always mean handmade leather goods (bags, belts, wallets), traditional Moroccan carpets or Berber rugs.
If you love peanuts or simply consuming them to build your muscle, prepare some space in your luggage for pistachios, almonds and many kinds of expensive nuts that you can find in Malaysia, with lower prices!
Also, beware of pickpockets and scammers.
Whenever I travel, I always wear a thin travel pocket underneath my clothes to store my passport and emergency cash. You could purchase one in a drugstore for around RM10-15.
As for the scammers, if you’re not interested in their services or products, simply smile and walk away.
If someone holds your hand or behaving aggressively, it’s ok to say ‘NO!’ and walk away as fast as you could.
I had one lady who offered to draw me henna on my hand. Even after I politely refused her, she grabbed my hand tightly and dragged me into her tent, said that I didn’t have to pay anything repetitively.
After she’s done, she asked me for payment. When I said I didn’t have the amount that she requested, she asked me all the money that was left.
Then there was a lil’ bit of drama of both of us shouting, me brushed off the henna (failed) from my hand and ran away…
But dear friends, I hope this experience doesn’t turn you off from visiting Marrakech souk when you’re in Morocco. It’s just my bad luck looking like an underage girl she thought could trick Lol…
If you happen to travel to Morocco, please snap more photos of Bahia Palace and Marrakech souk and share them with me 🙂