The black slave Abu ‘Bou’ Ahmed rose to power and became the vizier (high-ranking political advisor) towards the end of the 19th century. He then ordered the embellishment and expansion of the Bahia palace by recruiting craftsmen from Fez. The process took 14 years. Abu ‘Bou’ Ahmed lived in the palace with four wives, 24 concubines and daughters and sons.
The palace integrates the Islamic architecture with Moroccan style. It is filled with sculpted and painted wooden ceilings and walls, as well as coloured glass windows. There is also a 2-acre garden.
The palace is divided into different rooms. Four rooms which are equal in size are dedicated to Abu ‘Bou’ Ahmed’s four wives, symbolising equal status among them. His 24 concubines shared 12 double rooms. There are also a “private school” and a mosque for his children to learn and pray. There is even a hall for businesses and administrative purposes.
Today, an area of 8 acres of the palace is open to the public, which includes 150 rooms. By visiting the Bahia Palace, you will get to know how luxurious the life of the family of a top Moroccan official was a century ago.