28 March 2011

Ennejma Ezzahra - Centre for Arabic and Mediterranean Music (The Baron's Palace)

Yesterday we were in Sidi Bou Said and we visited Palais Ennejma Ezzahra which was once the large palatial home of Baron Rodolphe d'Erlanger who had it built between 1912 and 1922 on five hectares of land on the undulating hills of Sidi Bou Said.  The architecture of the house afforded stunning sea views from every room.  The Baron was a keen painter and musicologist.  He wrote music himself and also had a private collection of musical instruments.  His wife was an ornithologist.  The house is tastefully decorated with no expense spared.  It is possible to see the finest marble from Italy and Spain, intricately detailed plaster work made by Moroccan craftsmen, cedar wood ceilings from Lebanon, Turkish and Persian carpets, the delicate use of alabaster in the interior design of the house.  Photography is not allowed in the interior of the house but a hardback book can be purchased there for those wishing to savour the splendours of the interior design.

Following the Baron's untimely death at the age of 60, his family gave the property to the state and it is now a museum with guided tours around the former home of the Baron as well as having a dual purpose of housing musical instruments and being the Centre for Arabic and Mediterranean Music.  Several times a year, concerts are held here in this magnificent setting. 

Our guide informed us that is was the Baron who first introduced the quaint blue and white colour scheme to the little seaside village of Sidi Bou Said.

 From the Baron's Palace, it is possible to see other large villas nestled in the hills on either side. 

 View from the Baron's Palace looking onto other villas in Sidi Bou Said.

The Persian garden, with two lions guarding the door which leads out into the courtyard.

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