The Saadi dynasty, which dominated much of Morocco in the 16th and 17th centuries, is closely identified with Marrakech, and some 60 members of the ruling family are now permanent residents. Assuming your reverence for long-dead Moroccan sultans is limited, the main reason for visiting the Saadian Tombs is the outstanding decorative work on the buildings which house them. Stunning geometric mosaics, minutely detailed stonework and serene courtyards evoke comparisons with the Alhambra.
The more important tombs are arranged in three rooms, including the magnificent Hall of Twelve Columns, with lower-ranked notables resting in the garden. The site was sealed at around the same time that El Badi Palace was destroyed and was only rediscovered in 1917. Faithful restoration ensures this jewel of Moroccan architecture continues to delight, and it is one of the most visited sites in Marrakech.
The tour of Marrakech was exceptionally well-organized with knowledgeable guide. The morning tour included the Koutoubia mosque, the Saadian Tombs, the Bahia Palace and Berber museum. After an excellent lunch of traditional Moroccan foods, we visited the areas medina, an herbalist and finished at the Djemaa el Fna square with free time. It is a walking tour, but a bus brought us from place to place as we were a large group (50 people). Transport from hotel was a great plus!
The Saadian Tombs can be reached on foot from Djemaa el Fna (allow 15 minutes) or by horse-drawn carriage (calèche).