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Notes on the Geography of Morocco: Saadian Tombs

Wedged between the longer-lived Merinite and Alouite dynasties, the Saadians ruled for about a century, from 1549 to 1666. They moved the capital back to Marrakech from Fez, where it remained until the Alouites took power and moved the capital over to Meknes. The Saadian tombs were built by Sultan Ahmed al Mansour but preserved by Alouite Sultan Moulay Ismail, who ordered that the tombs be walled off and made inaccessible. So they remained from 1677 until 1917, when French aerial surveys revealed their existence and an opening was made.

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Morocco: Saadian Tombs picture 1

Parts of the cemetery are very plain.

Morocco: Saadian Tombs picture 2

Parts are more lavish.

Morocco: Saadian Tombs picture 3

Zillij applied like carpets.

Morocco: Saadian Tombs picture 4

The grandest of the tombs are in two adjoining rooms, termed simply the Room of 12 Columns and the Room of Three Niches.

Morocco: Saadian Tombs picture 5

Another view.

Morocco: Saadian Tombs picture 6

Columns of Carrara marble, said (apocryphally?) to be worth their weight in sugar.

Morocco: Saadian Tombs picture 7

Still another view.


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