Menara Gardens – Several Orchards of Palm Trees, Olive Trees and Fruit Trees
In the desert-like heat of Morocco, visitors may often find themselves searching for an oasis where they can not only escape the hustle and bustle of daily life, but also the scorching heat of the day. In Marrakech there is one place that is particularly popular with both locals and foreigners – the Menara Gardens. This great attraction provides a refreshing and welcome respite from soaring Moroccan temperatures and dusty streets and simply has to be visited at least once during your travels.
The original Menara Gardens in Morocco were built during the 12th century during the reign of Abd al-Mu’min, an Almohad ruler who saw fit to create a tranquil oasis that could be used by the people to both grow crops and to relax and escape the heat of the day. The gardens featured a collection of smaller gardens that surround a massive artificial lake. The lake is situated at the spot where several canal systems meet and the water caught in it is used to irrigate the surrounding gardens and orchards. The garden was thus a wise use of existing natural resources. The Menara Garden features several orchards of palm trees, olive trees and fruit trees and a number of pruners and pickers can often be seen hard at work or casually enjoying polite conversation. You may also notice that a number of local woman often come here to fetch water from the nearby stream. According to local folklore, the waters of this stream are said to give ‘baraka’ or good luck, so it is popular with several locals.
Another noteworthy aspect of the Menara Gardens is the pavilion or ‘minzah’, which overlooks the pool. The current pavilion was built during the 19th century in the Alawi style for use by the sultan and his family. It is thought that the structure rests on the remains of an older, Saadian structure that dates back to the 16th century. The pavilion provides a beautiful view of the gardens and surrounding landscape and in winter and spring you may see the snowcapped Atlas Mountains quite clearly from this point. In other months, the green, pink and black of the olive trees may prove to capture your attention more than the mountains.
The Menara Gardens are open daily between 8:00 and 19:00 and can be easily reached by foot or taxi. There is no entrance fee and there is always an enjoyable, pleasant atmosphere where you can unwind and enjoy the gardens at your leisure.