Everyone that visits Marrakech wants to enjoy some time at the city’s famous souk and medina. In fact, many people would even place the medina in the top spot as far as Marrakech tourist attractions are concerned, but sometimes, you really do need souk “time-out” in order to get away from all the hustle and bustle, and there is no better place to escape to than Le Jardin Secret.
Some online guides may describe Le Jardin Secret as being a centuries-old palace dating back more than 400 years, but in reality, Le Jardin Secret is nowhere near as old as that.
Nonetheless, it remains a spectacular historical complex, and modern day travelers should consider themselves fortunate because the site has now been opened up to the public.
Le Jardin Secret is more of a garden than what it is a museum, so don’t expect to see a vast collection of artifacts on display. There is still plenty to see at this stately complex, and the site’s two huge gardens alone are reason enough to visit Le Jardin Secret.
A Brief History of Le Jardin Secret
It is true that the history of Le Jardin Secret dates back to the middle of the 16th century, during the reign of Saadian Sultan Moulay ‘Abd-Allah. During this period, the sultan set about urbanizing the area which is today Marrakech.
During his reign he had a large and opulent palace built on the grounds where Le Jardin Secret is now located.
Unfortunately, when the Saadian dynasty was ousted, the palace, along with everything else that stood within its grounds, was destroyed. Virtually all important building lefts behind in Marrakech by the Saadian Dynasty were also met by the same fate.
Later, during the mid 19th century, a powerful kaid from the High Atlas Mountains, known as al-Hajj Abd-Allah U-Bihi, managed to acquire the land on which the original palace had once stood. Having acquired the land, he immediately ordered a new palace to be built, following the same sort of layout as the original Saadian complex.
Shortly after the new palace had been completed, Sultan Muhammad IV who was ruler at the time, became suspicious of al-Hajj Abd-Allah U-Bihi, and plotted to have him killed, a goal which was hastily achieved with the help of some poisoned tea.
Following his death, the palace was then given to qadi Moulay Mustapha who enjoyed very close ties with the ruling family.
Later, the palace once again changed hands, and became the private property of Muhammad Loukrissi who served as chamberlain under Sultan Moulay ‘Abd-al-Hafiz.
However, Muhammad Loukrissi only moved into the palace in 1912 when the sultan was exiled, and he continued living there until his death in 1934.
Following his death, the property was all but forgotten, and it rapidly began falling into a state of decay. Fortunately, in 2008, a decision was made to fully renovate the palace and its grounds, with the aim being to return the entire property to its former splendor.
After eight years of effort and hard work, Le Jardin Secret finally opened its doors.
Even the complex underground water transport system was fully renovated so that the lush gardens could once again be irrigated with water carried from the High Atlas Mountains some 30 km away.
Visiting Le Jardin Secret
Apart from the palace itself and its beautiful gardens, Le Jardin Secret also has a place where you can sit down for a meal and some refreshments. There is also a shop on the site and even a bookshop as well. Entrance for Le Jardin Secret is Dh50 for adults and free for children 6 years or under.
There is also a reduced price of Dh30 which applies to visitors between the ages of 6 and 18, while students between the ages of 18 and 24 can also get in for the reduced price. Handicapped visitors get in for free, along with the person who is taking care of them.
However, tour itineraries may or may not include a visit to Le Jardin Secret, but since our tours are private and flexible, we can easily amend any of our itineraries to include a visit to this wonderful site.
Most of our tours that feature Marrakech include some free time at the medina, so this would also make it possible for you to visit Le Jardin Secret considering that the two venues are so close.
Simply let us know what your wishes are, and we will work with you to make those wishes come true.