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Posted by on May 15, 2012 in Africa, Explore, Morocco, Travel Info

Saadian Tombs: A Hidden Beauty

Saadian Tombs: A Hidden Beauty

When something can stay hidden for over 320 Years – you know it will be beautiful. It remained untouched, unlooted, and this long neglect guarded them and helped to preserve them. They were built during the reign of Sultan Ahmad al-Mansur in the late 1500’s and undiscovered until 1917. The Saadian Tombs are the Hidden Beauty of Marrakech.

The Tombs are hidden down a back alley. You have to squeeze between them; tall, red, and shadowy. The maze finally opens to a beautiful open air garden. The gardens are lined with fences and filled with over 100 small tombs representing members of the Saadi Dynasty. The tombs are embellished with colorful tiles, elegant stucco carvings, and Arabic calligraphy with quotes from the Koran.

How did it stay hidden? When Moulay Ismail began his reign he destroyed the El Badi Palace next to the Saadian Tombs. He did not destroy the burial ground; He sealed them up. It is though that superstition is the reason behind leaving the tombs intact.

 

The most famous mausoleum is aglow in green light. With 12 columns surrounding the grave of Ahmad al-Mansur himself. Each of the columns is decorated with elaborately chiselled stucco and the walls lined with zellij tiles.

Surrounding the 60 outdoor graves are other smaller indoor tombs. They look out onto the grassy graves. The walls and columns are adorned with beautiful patterned tile walls, carved cedarwood, and the black-and-white script on the walls read: “And the works of peace they have accomplished will make them enter the holy gardens.”

The walls are deep red and high. Peaking over the top of the walls are palm trees. The entire area still holds an air of mystery. It may be packed with tourists at certain hours, but outside of those, you may be one of a few people in the graveyard.

 

Fresh air filled with the scents of flowers surrounding the graves and welcomes you to contemplate who each tomb belongs to and the superstitions which saved this beautiful place.

 

Are you as enthralled by the beauty of this tomb as I am?

2 Comments

  1. Wow, the designs are so fantastically beautiful! I’m such a sucker for stuff like this, so I’d love to see these tombs someday.

    • Completely agreed! You should come – Morocco is a wonderful country. Funny thing is, I’ve seen a lot of beautiful ruins, but I did love the Saadian tombs the best. They are just so special and eerie. Being hidden and protected for so many years – Incredible!

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