Located just west of the Medina lies the Menara Gardens: a 12th Cent garden consisting of rows of olive groves, tall palm tree and beautiful flowers. These tall trees are occasionally accompanied by a modern addition to the park: the planes flying into the nearby Marrakech Menara Airport. However, far from being a disruptive distraction, these planes fly high above the gardens, merely acting as a reminder of the busy, bustling streets outside this oasis of peaceful serenity.
The centre-point of the Menera Gardens is a green tiled pavilion beside a large pool basin. This large expanse of water, supplied with water directly from the mountains, generates a microclimate that is noticeably cooler than the surrounding streets. We talked to some locals who told us that you can swim in the basin, but no-one ever does. This knowledge perhaps answers the mystery of the rows of benches that face the pool on the opposite side of the pavilion.
On a very clear day, if you are lucky, you can see the Atlas Mountains rising above the gardens. This, however, is not as common as the postcards would have you believe; but that is not to say that the Menara gardens still holds one of the city’s prettiest sights and, as it is just a short distance from the Medina, it is easy to see why the gardens are a popular local spot for picnics or romantic afternoons.
The Menara Gardens are open every day form 8.30am until nightfall and is perhaps best reached via a short taxi ride or a celeche trip. Entrance to the garden themselves is free, but there is a small 10dhs charge for access to the pavilion.