El Badi Palace, Medina, Marrakesh
Concierge.com's insider take:
After famously routing the Portuguese from the southern Moroccan coast in 1578, the great Saadian sultan Ahmed El-Mansour set about erecting this 360-room palace in Marrakesh to celebrate his victories. Taking a quarter of a century to build, El Badiwith its pavilions, sunken gardens, multiple reflecting pools, and fountainsstood for less than a century before the Alaouites (the current rulers of Morocco) took over, stripped the place bare, and moved its riches to their new capital in Meknès. Today, Badi is a spectacular ruin of crumbling pisé (mud brick) walls, faded mosaic floors, and empty ponds and pools that visitors are free to explore on their own. Besides being a tourist attraction, the premises are used for special events during the city's National Popular Arts Festival (usually held in June and July).
Open daily 8:30 to 11:45 am and 2:30 to 5:30 pm.