The Arabic word Riad means garden and some of the most beautiful gardens in Marrakech are to be found in the medina providing shade in traditional houses. There are also a number of public gardens which are well worth a visit.
Established in the 1920’s by French painter Jacques Majorelle and made famous as the Marrakech residence of the late Yves St Laurent. This garden is located in the New town of Guiliz and is very much a City Garden screened by high walls and very much an African garden with its splendid cacti, palms and bougainvillea. The artist’s studio is now a museum of Islamic art which also exhibits some works by Majorelle himself.
Outside the medina about a mile and a half from the Koutoubia mosque, a pleasant walk but as there is very little shade on the route it is best avoided in the heat of the day. The focal point of the garden is an immense lake with an elegant royal pavilion sitting behind it. The perfect backdrop to this tranquil scene is provided by acres of fields which have been olive groves since the twelfth century.
The ‘Jardin Agdal’ cover more than 30 acres and like the Menara gardens were laid out at the time of the twelfth century Almohad dynasty. Agdal contains a great variety of plants as well as a number of pavilions some of which are open to the public and some of which are kept for the private use of the Moroccan Royal family. The gardens are located behind the Royal Palace to the south of the Medina.