Agdal Gardens are one place you really need to visit if you are going to be in Marrakech for a few days, particularly if you start feeling a little bit overwhelmed by the non-stop hustle and bustle of this lively city. Marrakech really is a charming place, but sometimes it is nice to take a short break so that you can enjoy some quiet time. If you need to escape the craziness of the city, but you don’t want to actually leave Marrakech, then make your way to Agdal Gardens.
Agdal Gardens are essentially located within the grounds of the royal palace, to the south of Marrakech’s famous medina.
There are a few places in and around Marrakech where people can go to enjoy some beauty and serenity, but none of them are as historically fascinating and as beautiful as Agdal Gardens.
One can literally spend hours and hours strolling around in the vast and fragrant groves of oranges, figs, olives, pomegranates, apricots and lemons.
The vast groves are irrigated with water which is supplied from a number of ponds, the biggest of which is called the Tank of Health. The only buildings located in the gardens are two pavilions, one of which once served as a harem, and it is located next to the Tank of Health.
Agdal Gardens – From Creation to the Present Day
The creation of Agdal Gardens was started in 1157 by an Almohad Caliph called Abd al-Mu’min who reigned from 1130 to 1163.
The name “Agdal” is derived from the Berber language, and means “Walled Meadow” which is quite interesting because there were initially no walls surrounding the gardens.
Abd al-Mu’min is credited as being the founder of Marrakech, and during his reign, he commissioned a number of significant projects, including the popular Menara Gardens.
Several years after the Almohads had lost control of Morocco to the Saadi Dynasty, Agdal Gardens where beautifully renovated, but it was only later during the reign of Moulay Abderrahmane that the gardens were enlarged and then enclosed by protective pisé (rammed earth) walls.
Like Menara Garden, Agdal Gardens are also irrigated with water sourced from the High Atlas Mountains many kilometers away. The water is transported by means of an ingenious network of underground channels, and is then fed into several large holding ponds and other large ditches.
The largest such pond at Agdal Gardens is called Sahraj el-Hana (Tank of Health) and is located beside a small pavilion called Dar El Hana.
According to historical records, the Tank of Health was also once used for teaching troops how to swim. In 1873, Sultan Mohammed IV who was ruler at the time, died when his steam-powered boat capsized in the Tank of Health.
A few years after his tragic death, Sultan Moulay Hassan, his successor, had a second pavilion built in the gardens which he used as a harem for his concubines. Both pavilions are still standing, and definitely worth visiting when you are at the site.
In 1985, Agdal Gardens, along with Menara Gardens and the old medina were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Visiting Agdal Gardens
Agdal Gardens are typically open to the public twice a week, on Fridays and Sundays, but we recommend making enquires before you visit because opening times can change, and also, the gardens are not open when the king is staying at the Royal Palace.
If you have never been to Marrakech before, and you only have two or three days to spare, then you would probably be better off using your time to visit some of the other more exciting Marrakech attractions.
Bear in mind that there is essentially nothing for you to do at Agdal Gardens, other than to stroll around the vast groves.
Agdal Gardens is a place where tourists and locals go in order to have some peace and quiet; to escape the chaos of daily life in the city. If you have some time on your hands and you just want to get away from it all, then we believe that these gardens may be exactly what you are looking for.
At Egypt Tours Plus, a great deal of care is taken in order to create a wide selection of high quality Morocco tour packages to suite all tastes and budgets. We cannot include every attraction in our tours, but we can tailor any one of our tours specifically for you.
If you do not see Agdal Gardens mentioned in your preferred tour itinerary, just let us know, and we will work with you in order to ensure all your exact needs and requirements are met.