The El Mokri Palace is located south inside the medina of Fes, on a hill in the Oued Fès valley and just north of the medina’s south gate, Bab Did.
The new palace was built around 1906 by Si Taybe El Mokri, Pasha of Casablanca and son of the Grand Vizir (Prime Minister) of the king. The palace covers approximately 22.000 m2 of which 2.000 m2 of buildings and 20.000 m2 of garden.
Nowadays the palace is divided into the “old palace” (which is in quite a dilapidated state) and the “new palace”. The old palace was recently bought by a project developer. Unfortunately they have run out of money and are now looking for investors to develop this extraordinary example of Moroccan architecture into a profitable venture. Members of the El Mokri family still live in the new palace, but they are considering selling this part too: the upkeep of buildings of this size and grandeur is extremely expensive, even in Morocco. To generate income the new palace has been used as the décor for many mega movies, like “Jewel of the Nile”, and is still used as a venue for traditional music spectacles.
Through and with the owner of our riad in Fes we were allowed to visit both the old and the new palace. The old palace is uninhabited and not open to the public. There are local guards at the entrance door, a door that would never even let you dream of the treasure that is behind it until you see it with your own eyes! As said it is in quite a state of dilapidation, but the beautiful works of stucco, zellij painted wooden ceilings and carved cedar wood that still remain soon give the idea of the impressive grandeur this beautiful and grand palace once used to boast.
We were shown around the new palace by the owners themselves. As impressive as the new palace is with its huge inner court, beautiful staircases and stunning Murano windows, to us the old palace is the winner. I sincerely hope that the right investors can be found soon so this gem can be restored to old glory and shown to the public.