Les Tombeaux Saadiens
Side note: I’ve been traveling and/or computerless for the last few weeks and am finally at a place (both physical and electronic) where I should have some time to collect my thoughts and spew them across the interwebs. Sadly (for me), as I settled down to write this post, I realized that I’d mostly forgotten what it felt like to be there and despite a vague memory of heartily enjoying my time in Marrakech it now seems hardly worth rehashing. Clearly, I’m best at the immediate when it comes to writing about my wanderings. That said, I’ll continue posting about the past for awhile and leave the present for later.
The Saadian Tombs
The tombs were sealed up and, more or less, hidden for over a century when, in 1917, they were rediscovered by a French aerial survey. The earliest tomb dates from 1557 and the last is that of Moulay Yazid (the mad sultan) who died in 1792 after being shot in the head
When Moulay Ismail (1672-1727) came to power he plundered the nearby Badi Palace but rather than destroying the tombs he sealed them up leaving only one, none to obvious, entrance beside the Kasbah Mosque.
There are 66 members of the royal family and a few faithful servants resting in the two main buildings and another 100 or so wives, lesser relations, and Jewish councilors scattered around the gardens.
The main buildings were built for Sultan Ahmed el Mansour (1578-1603) and where built at the same time as the Ben Youssef Medersa.
The tombs are accessed through a long, narrow corridor (never less than 32”). Once inside the courtyard/garden/burial ground, the paving is relatively flat though there are a few ups and downs of about 2”. There is also a large step down (about 8”) to get to the Hall of Twelve Columns. The viewing area for the Hall of Twelve Columns is quite small, just big enough for my, smallish, wheelchair to turn around in.