Nestled amid the bustling city of Marrakech, renowned for its vibrant souks, architectural wonders, and tantalizing cuisine, lie verdant pockets of tranquility: its gardens. These lush spaces, ranging from carefully curated botanical landscapes to expansive royal grounds, serve as the city’s green lungs, offering visitors a serene escape from the busy urban life.
Our Marrakech travel guide will take you on a journey through Marrakech’s most beautiful gardens, each one a testament to the city’s deep-rooted affinity for nature and exquisite design.
History of Marrakech Gardens
The Almohad Dynasty and the Irrigation System
Marrakech, also known as the Red City, has a rich history of gardens that dates back to the Almohad Dynasty in the 12th century. During this time, the irrigation system was developed to provide water to the city’s gardens, including the famous Menara Gardens and the Agdal Gardens.
The irrigation system was based on the use of underground channels called khettaras, which brought water from the Atlas Mountains to the city. They irrigated orange trees and palm trees in the palace gardens.
Jacque Majorelle and the Majorelle Garden
Jacque Majorelle, a French Orientalist artist, created the Majorelle over a period of almost forty years, starting in 1923. The garden features a Cubist villa designed by the French architect, Paul Sinoir in the 1930s. The property was the residence of the artist and his wife from 1923 until their divorce in the 1950s. The garden is famous for its vibrant blue color, known as Majorelle Blue, which is used extensively throughout the garden.
Perhaps the most famous garden in Marrakech, the Majorelle Garden is a must-visit for anyone interested in stunning botanical displays. The garden was designed by Jacques Majorelle, a French painter, and was later purchased by Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé.
The garden features a variety of exotic plants, including cacti, bamboo, and water lilies, and is home to a beautiful blue villa that now houses the Museum of Islamic Art. The blue building contrasts beautifully with the many plants, making it known as the green lungs of Marrakech.
Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé purchased the Majorelle Garden in 1980, saving it from destruction and restoring it to its former glory. The garden is now home to the Yves Saint Laurent Museum, which showcases the designer’s work and his love for Marrakech.
The museum is located in a new building designed by the French architectural firm Studio KO, which blends seamlessly with the garden’s lush vegetation.
Pierre Bergé and the Jardin Secret
Pierre Bergé, the co-founder of Yves Saint Laurent, was a passionate collector of Berber art and culture. He opened the Jardin Secret in 2016, which is a restored 19th-century palace that houses a museum dedicated to Berber culture. The garden is located in the heart of the Medina, and it features a traditional Islamic garden with a central fountain, fruit trees, and fragrant flowers.
The Jardin Secret is a hidden gem in the heart of Marrakech. This garden was originally built in the 16th century and was recently restored to its former glory. Visitors can enjoy a mix of traditional Moroccan and contemporary garden designs, including a sunken garden and a rooftop terrace with stunning views of the city. The garden also features a small museum that showcases the history of the site.
The Anima Garden
The Anima Garden is a newer addition to Marrakech’s garden scene, but it has quickly become a popular destination for visitors. The garden was designed by Austrian artist André Heller and features a mix of plants, sculptures, and art installations. Visitors can stroll through the garden’s winding paths and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.
The Menara Garden
The Menara Garden is a historic garden located just outside of Marrakech’s city center. The garden features a large central pool surrounded by olive trees, as well as a pavilion that was built in the 16th century. Visitors can enjoy a peaceful stroll through the garden and take in the stunning views of the Atlas Mountains.
The Agdal Gardens
The Agdal Gardens, located south of Marrakech’s Royal Palace, are a historic and expansive example of Islamic garden design. Established in the 12th century during the Almohad Caliphate, these gardens span around 400 hectares, featuring a complex network of water channels, pools, and basins for irrigation.
The landscape is primarily agricultural, dotted with various fruit trees such as olive groves, orange, lemon, fig, apricot, and pomegranate and small paths to walk amongst them. The centerpiece is a large water reservoir, offering stunning views of the Atlas Mountains. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a testament to the architectural prowess and love for nature in Moroccan culture, a truly peaceful place.
FAQS on Gardens in Marrakech
Are there any sunken gardens in Marrakech?
While Marrakech is known for its most beautiful gardens, there aren’t any notable traditional “sunken” gardens in the sense of gardens placed in a recessed landscape. However there are the ruines of the The Sunken Gardens of El Badi Palace which are a short walk from Bahia.
What is Le Domaine de la Roseraie?
Le Domaine de la Roseraie is a luxurious resort and spa located in the heart of the Atlas Mountains, about an hour’s drive from Marrakech, Morocco, North Africa. Nestled in a lush valley, it’s famed for its beautiful rose bushes that bloom from April to June, from which it derives its name “Roseraie,” meaning “rose garden” in French.
What is the most important garden in Marrakech?
The most important and arguably the most famous garden in Marrakech is the Jardin Majorelle. This two-and-a-half-acre botanical garden and artist’s landscape garden is named after its creator, the French painter Jacques Majorelle.
What is the Saffron Garden located in the Ourika Valley.
The Saffron Garden, also known as Le Paradis du Safran, is a beautiful organic saffron farm located in the Ourika Valley, approximately 40km outside Marrakech. Surrounded by the majestic Atlas Mountains, it’s not just a farm but also an aromatic garden and a peaceful haven for visitors.
This unique garden is home to a variety of medicinal and aromatic plants, but the star attraction is the saffron crocus, which blooms in the cooler months of October and November. Here, visitors can learn about the meticulous process of harvesting and drying the saffron threads, which are often referred to as “red gold” due to their high value.