History and museums
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.
Since the reign of sultan Muhammad ibn Abdallah, the Alaouite sultans and kings have maintained a palace in Rabat. The current building was built in 1864, to replace the older palace, by Muhammad 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. The sultan chose the French architects Louis-Paul Pertuzio and Félix-Joseph Pertuzio to design the palace, and Jean-Claude Nicolas Forestier to design the extensive palace gardens.
Although kings had many residences at their disposal, when independence was declared in 1956, they chose to keep the Dâr-al-Makhzen palace as the main palace of the monarch.
Some monarchs, particularly Muhammad 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.
Several important events in the lives of a number of Moroccan royals have taken place in the palace, including Hassan II in 1929 and the marriage ceremony of Mohammed VI and Salma Bennani in 2002.
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 Muhammad 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, a cookery school, and a ground floor library built to contain the manuscript collection of Hassan II.
There are extensive gardens and grounds surrounding the palace, which were designed with French formality, traditional Arabic motifs and local horticulture in mind.