Dar al-Makhzen (Rabat)

Rabat Geographic coordinate system Kasbah of the Udayas
Royal Palace, Rabat.jpg
Alternative namesPalais Royal
General information
LocationAvenue Mohammed V, Rabat[1]
Coordinates34°00′05″N 6°50′30″W / 34.00135°N 6.84173°W / 34.00135; -6.84173Coordinates: 34°00′05″N 6°50′30″W / 34.00135°N 6.84173°W / 34.00135; -6.84173
Current tenantsRoyal family of Morocco
Construction started1864[1]

Dâr-al-Makhzen is the primary and official residence of the king of Morocco. It is situated in the Touarga commune of Rabat, the national capital. Its official name is the El Mechouar Essaid Palace, which means the venue of happiness palace.


Since the reign of sultan Mohammed ben Abdallah, the Alaouite sultans and kings have maintained a palace in Rabat.[1] The current building was built in 1864, to replace the older palace, by Mohammed IV. Morocco had been formerly under the control of the French since 1912, and they wanted the sultan to be largely stationed in one place, near their own administrative headquarters, in order to show his acceptance of the new regime.

Although kings had many residences at their disposal, when independence was declared in 1955, they chose to keep the Dâr-al-Makhzen palace as the main palace of the monarch.[2][3]

Some monarchs, particularly Mohammed V, preferred the smaller and relatively secluded palace of Dar es Salaam, further out of centre of the city, maintaining the Dâr-al-Makhzen as their official and administrative residence.[2]

Several important events in the lives of a number of Moroccan royals have taken place in the palace, including the birth of Hassan II in 1929[4] and the marriage ceremony of Mohammed VI and Salma Bennani in 2002.[5]

Design and Construction

The front of the palace, facing on to the mechouar

The palace sits at the end of the mechouar, a large parade ground also containing a small mosque. The mechouar is used for large public assemblies, such as the return from exile of Mohammed V in 1955.

As well as living space for the king and the royal family, there is accommodation for the Moroccan Royal Guard. The palace complex also contains the Collège Royal, a school for senior members of the royal family,[6] a cookery school,[1] and a ground floor library built to contain the manuscript collection of Hassan II.[7]

There are extensive gardens and grounds surrounding the palace, the design of which was influenced by French formality, traditional Arabic motifs and local horticulture.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d Honnor, Julius (2012). Morocco Footprint Handbook. Footprint Travel Guides. p. 276.
  2. ^ a b Searight, Susan (1999). Maverick Guide to Morocco. Pelican Publishing Company, Inc. pp. 169.
  3. ^ Davies, Ethel (2009). North Africa: The Roman Coast. Bucks, UK: Bradt Travel Guides Ltd. p. 145.
  4. ^ Reich, Bernard (1990). Political Leaders of the Contemporary Middle East and North Africa: a biographical dictionary. Westport, CT, USA: Greenwood Press, inc. p. 221.
  5. ^ Howe, Marvine (2005). Morocco: The Islamist Awakening and Other Challenges. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. p. 21.
  6. ^ "أسرار المدرسة المولوية". Nichane. Archived from the original on 27 December 2013. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
  7. ^ Pinault, David (1992). Story Telling Techniques in the Arabian Nights. Leiden, Netherlands: E. J. Brill. p. 139.
  8. ^ Wright, Gwendolyn (1991). The Politics of Design in French Colonial Urbanism. Chicago, USA: The University of Chicago Press. p. 95.