The tight streets of the Mellah – traditionally the Jewish neighbourhood of Marrakech – are an atmospheric corner of the red city. It is here where once can find the 17th Century Miaara Jewish Cemetery.
Set east of the El Badi Palace and South of the Bahia Palace in the heart of the Mellah, tucked away behind a tall unremarkable wall, the Cemetery exists as a space of near-silent tranquillity. The Cemetery is not on the standard tourist trail and is often empty, save for a dog or two lazing peacefully in the shade. Set in stark contrast to the bustle of the Medina, the cemetery feels a like a remnant of a lost civilisation.
Although it is acceptable to wonder among the weather-worn tombstones and shrines, it is important to be respectful and remember that this is a religious place. Two friendly brothers act as caretakers to the ancient Jewish Cemetery and they will be more than happy to show you around and tell you about Jewish life in Marrakech.
Ultimately, although it is far from a tourist hotspot, the Miaara Jewish Cemetery is an interesting space of cultural significance, holding alternative, even untold stories of Marrakech’s rich and varied history.
The Saadian tombs in Marrakech’s medina are the resting place of the former royal dynasty of Morocco, built in the 16th century by Sultan Ahmad al-Mansur they were lost for many years only to be rediscovered by archaeologists in 1917. Since then they have become an integral part of any culture or history fans visit to Marrakech. The tombs themselves are a collection of archways and small buildings housing the caskets of former rulers from the Saadi dynasty, this dynasty was so opulent and rich that they were in fact known as the golden Saadis, it is perhaps then no surprise that their tombs show such wonderful artwork and craftsmanship. There are thought to be around 60 of the members of the dynasty buried in the tombs and after their rediscovery the tombs underwent a renovation by Beaux-arts service, therefore what the visitor views is more recent renovation than 500 year old tomb, however this allows for the tombs to be both very aesthetically pleasing as well as having a great historical significance. Marrakech was indeed the capital of the Saadian sultanate and it is therefore unsurprising that their tombs should be located here, although Marrakesh is no longer the capital of Morocco one certainly gets a view on the historic importance of this city by visiting the tombs and a comprehension of their place in Morocco’s heritage.
The most famous room of the tombs is the 12 columned chamber and it is in this room that the grave of the Sultan Ahmad al-Mansur is believed to be buried. The tombs are very cheap to enter with a regular adult costing less than £1, this and the tombs proximity to the square Jemaa el Fna mean that for any true culture or history fan the tombs are a must. Our Riads are situated in the heart of the Medina, a mere 5 minute walk from Jemaa el Fna and 10 minutes from the tombs, allowing a great starting point to explore the medina from, as well as providing top class service and quality. Book a room now and you too can become a satisfied customer and sample the delights of our Riads and Marrakech.
Opening times: Wednesday to Monday from 8h00 to 11h45 and from 14h30 to 17h45