Although we visited numerous beautiful spots in Marrakech, I wanted to dedicate an entire post to my favourite: the Jardin Secret.
In English, the Jardin Secret means the secret garden. The tale goes that the garden was a peaceful retreat for the most important figures in Marrakech, including the Sultans of the city. In 2008, it underwent a restoration project and since opened the public, yet its hushed atmosphere and beautiful gardens remain a real escape from the higgledy-piggledy streets outside.
The Magic of Water
One of the garden’s main features is its flowing water, from the small fountains to the irrigation system that keeps the plants plush and green. Water holds an real importance in Islam, readying Muslims for prayer and being seen as a sign of life.
In the Jardin Secret, water took us from the entrance and through the first, exotic garden, where we were surrounded by cacti, succulents, and even little turtles in the bigger pond! Then into the traditional garden we went, where the water was being used by little birds to bathe, and kept the wild grasses and palms so green.
A Secret Escape
At the far end of the garden lies a tall tower, with tours for visitors. We were taken from the ground floor to the very top, learning of a certain Sultan’s secret trips to the garden from Bahia Palace, his place of residence. He would sit in the tower and make watches, while his bodyguards stood guard outside, so he could do what he loved! The romantic tale really made me smile, and that coupled with the echoing calls for prayer from nearby minarets are something I’ll always remember!
The Practical Bits
The Jardin Secret is located on Rue Mouassine, 121, Marrakech and makes for a perfect afternoon stroll, with a small café on the terrace and plenty of places to sit and bask in the beautiful views. I picked up a straw hat at the visitor entrance to protect myself in the heat (pictured) which is completely free, along with little hand fans to keep cool.
In the same day, we also stopped at Café Arabe, one of my favourite cafés in Marrakech, which is located directly opposite, as well as wondering round the tiny shops along the streets either side of the garden. Personally, I found the Jardin Secret to be a much better spot than the Jardin Majorelle, which may play home to the Yves Saint Laurent museum but is overcrowded, a little run down, and really a little disappointing after stopping here!