Morocco's exotic city of Marrakesh has everything you could possibly want or need in a vacation destination whether you're looking for romance or planning your yearly family retreat. However, Marrakesh also offers a little something that most people wouldn't associate with a city that is surrounded by desert, and that's an exquisite garden space. In fact, Marrakesh is home to the famous Majorelle Garden, which is one of the most visited sites in all of Morocco with some 700,000 visitors each year.
About Majorelle Garden
The creative genius behind this wonderful garden space is French painter Jacques Majorelle. Beginning in 1923, he spent a full 40 years working to bring his vision to life, and he beautifully combined his love of art with his passion for nature with an emphasis on plants. He sought out plant life from every area of the world to create a living artwork of every shape and color in his ever-growing garden around his home, and it was officially opened to the public in 1947.
The garden eventually grew far more famous than any of Majorelle's paintings, and it was considered his greatest masterpiece. Unfortunately, the garden was abandoned after his death in 1962, and it would have been bulldozed to make way for a hotel if it hadn't been for Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge. When these two gentlemen learned of the garden's grim fate, they quickly purchased the property in 1980, restored it to its former glory and made the commitment to continue to add great beauty to Majorelle Garden.
A Visit to the Garden
This popular site is open every single day of the year, and you are welcome to come spend as much time as you like on the 2.5 acres of sheer beauty that make up the garden. These are just a few of the many natural highlights that you'll discover during your stroll through Majorelle Garden.
- The Entrance Fountain: Before you even make your way into the garden, you'll be met at the entrance by a wonderfully artistic fountain that perfectly sets the tone for your peaceful visit. It's surrounded by benches, and you're welcome to sit and enjoy the sights and sounds of the fountain.
- The Cactus Garden: This portion of the garden showcases Majorelle's passion for this spiky desert plant, and you'll see around 30 different types of cactus. These plants are found locally as well as imported from other areas of the world.
- The Water Lily Pool: The Asian lotus flower is definitely the star of the show in this lovely pool, but you'll also see an abundance of water lilies and other thriving aquatic plants. Don't be surprised by the sights and sounds of the many frogs that call this pool home.
- The Palm Tree Garden: If you think that one palm tree is just like the next, you'll be in for a lovely surprise in this section of the garden. A wonderful selection of palm trees grow nicely here, and you'll see all sorts of different shapes and sizes with palm trees that have come from India, the South Pacific, the United States and the Canary Islands.
- The Bamboo Garden: To be more specific, the southeast Asian bamboo actually makes a lovely forest that is carved out with a little path for visitors to stroll through. It's quite lovely and reminiscent of magical places right out of a fairy tale.
- Birds Galore: A great many bird species call the garden home, and you may expect to see oriental nightingales, Eurasian collared doves and the bulbul, which boasts a wonderful singing voice. Other birds that stop to rest and drink from the fountains include robins, house sparrows, blackbirds, turtledoves, warblers and gray wagtails.
The Berber Museum
As you meander through the paths of Majorelle Garden, you'll eventually come to this popular museum. It's dedicated to the area's indigenous tribes, and you'll see some 600 ancient artifacts that include woven textiles from the early Berber culture, leather goods, weapons, baskets and jewelry. Also available are an interesting selection of audio and music tapes, films and photographs that vividly open up the world of the Berber people throughout history.
The Museum Bookshop
In addition to books, this museum offers a wonderful art gallery that features works from the 18th and 19th centuries. Expect to see a great many excellent engravings, photographs, drawings and watercolors. Books are offered on the subjects of Berber art, woodworking, architecture, artistic landscaping and photography.
You may stop in here at any time during your visit for a refreshing drink, and seating is available at the outdoor tables or in the comfy covered area. The cafe is open beginning at 8:30 a.m. each day, and you'll enjoy a tasty selection of both breakfast and lunch dishes.