The Saadian Tombs in Marrakech house the remains of some of the most important figures from the Saadian Dynasty, which ruled from 1549 to 1659. After the fall of the dynasty, these incredible tombs were sealed off and hidden. Until they were rediscovered back in 1917 and opened to the public. Inside this incredible complex, you are able to walk through a courtyard, with a prayer hall and a large garden. Inside you will find several alcoves in which former royalties are buried. These magnificent Saadian Tombs are definitely a must-do when you are in Marrakech.
The history of the Saadian Tombs in Marrakech
The Saadian tombs were most likely built at the beginning of the 14th century. During the reign of the Saadi Sultan from 1578 to 1603, Ahmed el-Mansour, the tombs reached a more prominent status. At the burial site, two magnificent mausoleums were built for Ahmed el-Mansour’s family, descendants, as well as himself. The mausoleum of his own is known as the Hall of Twelve Columns. He shares the mausoleum with his closest family members and descendants. In total, 100 chancellors and wives, as well as 66 princes and other prominent figures lie in the tombs. Each resting closer to the Sultan’s grave depending on their status.
Two decades after the end of the Saadian rule Moulay Ismail ibn Sharif came to power. He was the second ruler of the Moroccan Alaouite and reigned from 1672 to 1727. He wanted to destroy every memory of the Saadi Dynasty. Therefore, he ruined the dynasty’s greatest buildings – including El Badi Palace. Instead of destroying the tombs, he built a wall around them and only left a small passage from Kasbah Mosque. The Saadian Tombs were, therefore, left untouched and neglected for more than two centuries. Then in 1917 the tombs were rediscovered, restored, and opened to the public.
What to know about visiting the Saadian Tombs in Marrakech
When you are traveling and exploring many different attractions and sights there are so many things to keep in mind. Therefore, we have tried to gather some of the information we found useful for our visit to the Saadian Tombs in Marrakech. Below you will find everything you need to know for your visit to the tombs.
Getting to the Saadian Tombs in Marrakech
The Saadian Tombs are located in the southern part of the Medina of Marrakech. The tombs are found along Rue de la Kasbah close to the Kasbah Mosque and the El Badi Palace. If you want some help to find the way you should use Google Maps. You can either search for ‘Saadian Tombs’ or use the address of the tombs: 400 Rue de La Kasbah, Marrakesh, Morocco.
The Saadian Tombs in Marrakech is open to the public every day of the week. The opening hours are from 9:30 to 12:00 and 14:30 to 18:00.
The entrance fee to the tomb complex depends on your nationality. The admission is 10 MAD for Moroccan citizens, whereas it is 70 MAD for tourists and other nationalities.
Time spent at the Saadian Tombs
The Saadian Tombs in Marrakech is not a very big complex. Because of that, about 30 minutes to 1 hour should be enough for you to explore the courtyard and burial sites. We would recommend you set aside a bit more time. We ended up standing in line for about 45 minutes before we were able to see the biggest of the tombs. Therefore, you should set aside more time if you end up visiting during peak hours with the bigger crowds.
Best time to visit the Saadian Tombs of Marrakech
The best time to visit the Saadian Tombs in Marrakech is in the early mornings or late afternoons. Around this time of the day, the sight is not quite as busy as it tends to be in peak times, and you may avoid the bigger crowds. On another note, the late afternoon is the best time to visit the tombs for some beautiful light.