The site of the palace lies southeast of the Marrakesh Medina, close to the present royal palace. It was built in two phases by a father and son who served as grand viziers to two ‘Alawid sultans. The first part of the palace, known as Dar Si Musa ‒ the largest and most luxurious in Morocco at the time ‒ was built between 1866 and 1867 by Si Musa, grand vizier to Sultan Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Rahman (reigned 1859-73). Between 1894 and 1900, the second phase of construction started under Si Musa’s son, Si Ahmad ibn Musa, grand vizier to two sultans Mulay al-Hasan I (1873-94) and Mulay ‘Abd al-‘Aziz (1894-1908), to designs by the architect Muhammad ibn Makki al-Misfiwi. During his reign, Ahmad ibn Musa enlarged the southern part of his father’s palace and subsequently developed a number of glamorously designed connecting houses. He lived on the grounds with four wives, a harem of 24 official concubines and their many children. Having built the palace for his favourite wife, Ahmad ibn Musa named it Bahiya, meaning “beautiful, brilliant”.
Covering an area of eight hectares, the palace consists of 150 rooms lavishly decorated with mashrabiyya, marble sculptures, paintings on beech and cedar, stuccowork and zellige. Built in two phases in the second half of the 19th century, the estate is comprised of structures built piecemeal, including outbuildings and ancillary structures: a Turkish bath, mosque and stables, and other annexed houses that are connected to each other, many of which are remarkable both in their structure and their ornamentation. Although the buildings are arranged disparately throughout the estate they are organised around several patios and green Islamic-style gardens (al-agdal), planted with orange, banana and cypress trees, as well as hibiscus and jasmine, and irrigated by qanat.
"Bahiya Palace" in "Sharing History", Museum With No Frontiers, 2020. http://www.sharinghistory.org/database_item.php?id=monuments;AWE;ma;11;en
MWNF Working Number: MO 011