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Dar el Makhzen: Discover the Historical Splendor of Tangier’s Sultan Palace

Traveling to Tangier, Morocco? Don’t miss the opportunity to visit Dar el Makhzen, also known as the Kasbah Palace or Governor’s Palace. This historical building, once the residence of the city’s governor and the Sultan of Morocco, offers a fascinating glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of Tangier. From its breathtaking architecture to its remarkable museum exhibits, Dar el Makhzen is a must-see attraction that will leave you in awe.

A Historical Gem in Tangier

The Origins of Dar el Makhzen

Dar el Makhzen was constructed in the early 18th century during the reign of Sultan Moulay Ismail. Built over the ruins of the English “Upper Castle,” the palace stands as a testament to the city’s long-standing political power. The palace was the creation of Pasha Ahmad ben Ali al-Rifi, a general and semi-autonomous governor of Tangier.

Transformation into a Museum

In 1922, French scholar Édouard Michaux-Bellaire initiated the transformation of Dar el Makhzen into a museum. This marked the beginning of its journey as a cultural center, showcasing the diverse heritage of Morocco. The palace underwent comprehensive renovations in the early 2010s and reopened to the public in 2016 as the Kasbah Museum of Mediterranean Cultures. In late 2021, the museum expanded with the addition of the Kasbah Museum Contemporary Art Space.

Exploring the Architectural Marvel

Majestic Courtyards and Exquisite Details

Situated in the eastern part of the Kasbah, the museum boasts a commanding position, offering stunning views of the medina and the Strait of Gibraltar. The palace is centered around two courtyards adorned with wooden ceilings, marble fountains, and intricate arabesques. The main courtyard features elegant marble columns, believed to have been imported from Italy during the construction in the mid-18th century.

Museum of Mediterranean Cultures

Step inside Dar el Makhzen, and you’ll discover the Museum of Mediterranean Cultures. This section of the palace showcases an impressive collection of artworks from across Morocco. From intricately decorated firearms and exquisite silks from Fez to ancient manuscripts and stunning carpets, the museum highlights the rich artistic traditions of the region. The Museum of Antiquities, housed in the palace’s former kitchen, displays archaeological finds from ancient Roman sites like Volubilis, Cotta, and Lixus.

Contemporary Art Space

If you’re a fan of contemporary art, don’t miss the recently added Kasbah Museum Contemporary Art Space. Located in the palace’s former prison, this new section of the museum showcases modern artworks that provide a fresh perspective on Moroccan artistic expression. This innovative addition expands the cultural offerings of the museum, making it a dynamic destination for art enthusiasts.

Dar el Makhzen: A Journey into the Past

Stepping Back in Time

As you explore Dar el Makhzen, prepare to be transported back in time. The palace’s grandeur and elegance capture the essence of Morocco’s rich history and heritage. The Museum of Moroccan Arts, occupying the former apartments of the prince, offers a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of the royal court. Admire the beautifully crafted mosaics, sculptured plasterwork, and a range of artistic treasures gathered from all corners of Morocco.

Delving into Tangier’s History

Dar el Makhzen doesn’t just provide a window into the past of Moroccan royalty. It also offers insights into the history of Tangier itself. Visit the funeral room, where a life-size replica of a Carthaginian tomb awaits. Delve into the city’s diverse cultural influences, from Greek and Roman to Phoenician, Berber, and Arab civilizations. Each exhibit tells a story, painting a vivid picture of Tangier’s vibrant past.

 

Dar el Makhzen, the Sultan’s Palace in Tangier, is a place where history comes alive. From its architectural splendor to its extensive museum collections, this iconic palace offers a fascinating journey through the cultural heritage of Morocco. it will leave a lasting impression, captivating you with opulent interiors, Moroccan craftsmanship, and rich historical narratives. Make sure to add this extraordinary attraction to your travel itinerary and immerse yourself in the timeless beauty of Tangier’s past.

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