With so many Marrakech tourist attractions to choose from, what reason is there for you to want to visit the Museum of Mouassine Douiria Derb el Hammam?
After all, in Marrakech, Morocco’s Red City, it seems as though there is a museum waiting for you around every corner. While that may, in a sense be true, one cannot deny the fact that Marrakech has some really nice museums.
What sets the Museum of Mouassine Douiria Derb el Hammam apart from most of the other museums in the city, is the fact that this particular one is not really centered around showing a vast array of artifacts.
Instead, it is the actual building which is on display. Yes, you will see a relatively small collection of artifacts on display, but it is the building itself, along with many of its features that continue to draw hordes of tourists.
No amount of words can do this site justice. The interior of the ground-floor douiria (guest apartment), along with the upstairs salons are the best surviving example of Saadian architecture in Marrakech, and perhaps even in all of Morocco.
Museum of Mouassine Douiria Derb el Hammam
Museum of Mouassine Douiria Derb el Hammam was built during time of the Saadian Dynasty (c 1560) and it miraculously managed to survive successive dynasties, unlike many other buildings of the same period.
As a general rule, each new dynasty would try to destroy all traces of the previous dynasty, but the Museum of Mouassine Douiria Derb el Hammam somehow managed to avoid such an ending.
When it was originally built in the 16th century, it would have served as an elegant riad (traditional Moroccan home). After the Saadian Dynasty was overthrown, and the building fell into the hands of new owners, attempts were made to conceal the building’s Saadian appearance.
It is believed that successive owners also contributed to this process over the years, until it reached a point where there was virtually no indication of the building’s Saadian past.
However, in 2012, Patrick Manac’h, the owner of Marrakech’s House of Photography museum, was in the medina in search of a home to buy when he stumbled across this particular building.
After close inspection, he realized all too well what he was looking at, and he immediately bought the property from one of the locals in Marrakech.
After acquiring the property, he set about restoring it to its original state.
At first, to the untrained eye, the building looked no different to any other smooth plastered riad, but as countless layers of paint and plaster were removed, the building’s true Saadian beauty began to shine through, revealing exquisitely carved woodwork; intricately decorated plaster, and the abundant use of brightly colored paint; colors which were as vivid as they would have been when they were first applied.
Restoring the Museum of Mouassine Douiria Derb el Hammam to its original beauty meant that the new owner had to hire highly skilled craftsmen who were familiar with traditional techniques and traditional materials, most of which had to be sourced from Ourika.
After years of painstaking restoration, Mouassine Douiria Derb el Hammam was finally ready to welcome visitors.
Visiting the Museum
While the Museum of Mouassine Douiria Derb el Hammam may not house a substantial number of artifacts, it is the building itself that gives people all the reason they need to visit this strikingly beautiful 16th-century Saadian masterpiece.
This building has been restored to the very highest of standards, and we would certainly recommend this site to anyone who has an interest historical Moroccan architecture, and particularly that dating back to the time of the Saadian Dynasty.
Museum of Mouassine Douiria Derb el Hammam is located at 5 Derb El Hammam, Marrakesh, Morocco, and entrance to the museum costs Dh30 (about $8.00). It may also be worthwhile noting that no more than 25 visitors are allowed in the museum at any one time.
However, at Egypt Tours Plus, our Morocco private tour packages can be customized to meet your own individual needs, so if you would like a visit to the Museum of Mouassine Douiria Derb el Hammam added to a particular itinerary, we will be happy to oblige.