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Badi Palace

The magnificent palace in Marrakech is considered a masterpiece of Islamic architecture in Morocco, built by Sultan Al-Saadi Ahmed Al-Mansour Al-Thahabi (1603-1578) a few months after assuming power and his impressive victory over the Portuguese in the Battle of Wadi Al-Makhazin in 1578 AD. Ahmed Al-Mansour chose the northeastern corner to build this palace, which is designated for holding parties and organizing official receptions. The works started there after December 1 1578 and continued without interruption for 16 years.
Although the palace is currently in ruins, we have several historical texts and designs that enable us to learn about its architecture, architectural components, and motifs. A Portuguese design dating back to 1585 indicates that the palace was surrounded by a fortified wall in its four corners with towers and that access to it was through several doors, the main of which is located in the southwestern side.
The palace is organized around a major central square with a large water pool in the center, which has a fountain. With its sides are two gardens planted with trees and flowers and water tanks of a smaller size. In the middle of the two ribs of the square, two wings rise, leaving only one trace. They were square-shaped and were covered with a dome with 12 huge pillars reminiscent of those that currently raise the dome of the Great Hall of the Saadian Tombs in Marrakech. Their glazed floors were interspersed with small ponds fed by hoppers, which helped to soften the atmosphere inside.
On the long flanks of the courtyard are several rectangular wings that open with arches from which only the remains are left. Among the most important ones are the sources mentioning the Gold Hall, the Crystal Hall and the Bamboo Hall. The Pentecostal Hall, which was used as a receptive hall, still stands in the eastern side near the main entrance to the palace.
Because of the ruin in which Al-Badi Palace currently resides, we have only a few elements that enable us to identify the motifs that used to cover its walls, floors, and ceilings. The sources mention among the materials used for this purpose marble, onyx of various colors, gilded crowns, multicolored glazes and gilded wooden ceilings, carved and dyed gypsum in addition to fountains and water pools. We can imagine the decoration of the magnificent palace through the masterpieces of Saadi architecture, remaining in Marrakesh, especially the Saadiyya tombs and the school of Ben Youssef.

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