guide-saadian-tombsSaadian Tombs, Kasbah
Located South of the Jema al fna in the Royal Kasbah district of Marrakech. The Saadian tombs were sealed in the sixteenth century and left largely undisturbed until 1917. They are now open to the public and are one of the most extraordinary sights in the city having been restored to their original spendour.

More than 150 Saadian princes and members of the Royal household are buried here within two mausoleums and an extensive graveyard courtyard garden. Most of the tombs are covered with ornate zellige tile decoration and their collective visual impact is quite remarkable.

Saadian Tombs, access
saadian-tombsThe access to the tombs is via a tiny passageway to the right Kasbah Mosque, there are quite clear signposts. Entrance is inexpensive at just 10 Dirhams and the site is extremely popular. If you find yourself waiting in line look up to the right and scan the skyline for the nests of Storks, the sacred bird of Marrakech.

Opposite the entrance to the tombs are a number of small local food sellers many of whom moved here from the Jema al fnaa. Serving almost entirely locals these excellent and inexpensive eateries are one of Marrakech best kept secrets.

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Welcome to the newly rebuilt Marrakech Riad website

Marrakech Riad Papillon at nightCheck out the Marrakech Riad Papillon section for pictures of the recently completed restoration work there. We have fantastic opening offers during the months of November and December 2009.

Our popular Guide to Marrakech and Frequently Asked Questions pages have been updated and will be significantly expanded in the coming months.

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Jema al Fnaa

Jema Al Fnaa
The main square or Jema al Fnaa is the beating heart of Marrakech. Its takes its name from the gruesome public display there of the heads of criminals in the middle ages. Literally it means the ‘assembly of the dead’. In practice is most commonly referred to as La Place.

Tourist Marrakech

There are some distractions in the square which have evolved for the amusement of tourists: colourful water sellers anxious to earn a few Dirhams posing for photographs in traditional costume; snake charmers; performing monkeys, and their masters clutching polaroid cameras.

Authentic Marrakchi Culture

Snake charmers in Marrakech
What is quite extraordinary is that the vast bulk of the teeming life in the square remains essentially local: dentists displaying teeth removed from previous clients; herb doctors laying out their wares; fortune tellers crouching over gas lamps; storytellers recounting the oral culture of Berber tribes in obscure dialects (UNECSO cited the oral heritage of the square when designating it a world heritage site); and musicians performing ancient gnawa trance rituals the origins of which predate modern language. The square also continues a centuries old tradition of acrobats, tumblers, jugglers, mime artists and other visual entertainers. No visit to Marrakech is complete without experiencing the Jema al Fna.

Open air barbecue

At night the atmosphere intensifies and the northern end of the Jema al Fna becomes a vast open air barbecue with rows of dozens of food stall competing for trade. Their hygiene standards can be criticized but the ambience is truly unique. A more conservative alternative to eating at the open air food stalls is to sit in one of the many cafes and restaurants around the perimeter many of which have balconies and terraces with views across the square.
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Seven Saints, Marrakech

Many religious figures are buried in Marrakech but in the seventeenth century the Moulay Ismail assigned particular significance to seven such men (loosely translated as the seven saints) with diverse backgrounds each in their own way significant to the history of Marrakech and the Kingdom of Morocco. A traditional pilgrimage has been respected since the time of Moulay Ismail in which over the course of a day pilgrims visit the seven in a particular order starting with Sidi Youssef Ben Ali in the South East of the medina and proceeding anticlockwise.

City of the Seven Men

In the rest of Morocco Marrakech is still often known to as the City of the Seven Men and a trip to Marrakech could be referred to as a visit to the Seven Men.

Sidi Youssef Ben Ali. A twelfth century leper.

Caid Ayad. An eleventh century theologian.

Sidi Bel Abbes. A great patron of the poor and particularly the blind in the twelfth century, even today food is distributed regularly at his tomb or Zaouia. The most important of the Seven, sometimes referred to as the Patron Saint of Marrakech.

Sidi Ben Slimane. A descendant of the prophet Mohammed and renowned sixteenth century theologian.

Sidi Abd El Aziz. A fifteenth century theologian. His mausoleum is very near to Rue Baroudiyine a short walk from Marrakech Riad Cinnamon.

Sidi Moulay el Ksour. A follower of Sidi Abdel Aziz who led the resistance to the Portugese when they attacked Marrakech in the early sixteenth century.

Sidi Es Souheili. A twelfth century scholar of Islamic law.

Marrakech Jemaa al Fnaa Map

» Explore the Jemaa el Fnaa Map

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