"The Menara Gardens" Morocco Things to Do Tip by traveldave

Morocco Things to Do: 725 reviews and 1,654 photos


The Menara Gardens were built sometime after 1147 by the Almohad sultan, Abd al-Mouman. It was one of several massive building projects he instituted between 1147 and 1163 after he had captured Marrakech from the Almoravids and made it his capital. The gardens served both as a productive fruit orchard and a personal pleasure garden for the sultan. The gardens are situated on 220 acres (90 hectares), and contain mainly olive and cypress trees, as well as fruit orchards. The trees are planted on a 33-foot (ten-meter) grid, giving a strict geometric symmetry to the gardens.

The basin was built as an irrigation reservoir for the trees in the garden. It was part of a sophisticated system of underground channels, called qanat, which relied on gravity to distribute water throughout the orchards. The water that fills the basin is supplied by pumps that transport it from aquifers 19 miles (30 kilometers) away in the High Atlas mountains. Nowadays, the basin is full of carp, and vendors sell bags of fish-food pellets so visitors can feed the fish.

The pavilion beyond the pool was constructed in the sixteenth century during the Saadi Dynasty, and was used by the sultans for their romantic meetings. The pavilion, called a minzah, eventually fell into disrepair, but was renovated in 1869 by sultan Abderrhamane.

The Menara Gardens lave been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

Directions: The Menara Gardens are located on Avenue de la Ménara, about one mile (two kilometers) west of Marrakech.

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  • Updated Dec 27, 2010
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