Le Jardin Secret, or Secret Garden Marrakech, is a historical garden in Marrakech, Morocco, that features both an exotic garden and an Islamic garden. The garden’s design and layout seem to have been inspired by historical influences and traditional Islamic principles of garden design.
The exotic garden in Le Jardin Secret seems to reflect the diverse and experimental nature of gardens in Marrakech throughout history. These gardens have often been described as ”rose among the palm trees” ”oasis in the desert” or city of peace and open air.
They have embodied the concept of a garden city, with the gardens of Agdal and Menara being notable examples. These gardens were experimental in the sense that they brought together plants from different parts of the world, creating a rich and diverse botanical landscape.
The Islamic garden in Le Jardin Secret, on the other hand, appears to have been restored based on a layout that was common in the nineteenth century. This type of garden is closely associated with riad structures, providing an oasis of tranquility and contemplation.
The enclosed space and the shade of trees offered a sense of privacy and calm, allowing people to engage in leisure and reflection. The four-part layout of the Islamic garden, which is reminiscent of ancient Persian gardens and was present in Morocco since at least the twelfth century, serves both practical and symbolic purposes.
The design facilitates irrigation and water distribution, a critical aspect in arid regions. Additionally, this layout is often linked to the description of heaven in the Quran, where the garden is depicted as a sacred and ordered place. The geometrical arrangement reflects a sense of Muslim order imposed on the natural disorder of the landscape.
Overall, the Le Jardin Secret seems to capture the essence of historical Moroccan gardens, with their experimental and diverse characteristics in the exotic garden, and the symbolic and ordered nature of the Islamic garden that provides a space for contemplation and reflection.
This combination highlights the cultural, architectural, and horticultural heritage of Marrakech and its historical connection to both the broader Islamic garden tradition and global garden design influences.
Le Jardin Secret’s beginnings can be traced to the second half of the sixteenth century, when the urbanization of what is now the Mouassine area was started by the Saadian Sultan Moulay Abd-Allah. The palace, which was located on the grounds of Le Jardin Secret, was like many other significant Marrakech buildings, demolished towards the end of the seventeenth century, following the fall of the Saadian monarchy.
The property was eventually acquired by the kaid al-Hajj Abd-Allah U-Bihi in the middle of the nineteenth century, and a new palace was constructed there while meticulously adhering to the original complex’s design. During this time, Marrakech experienced significant development, which encouraged the development of lavish houses and gardens. The famous judge and qadi Moulay Mustapha, who had a close relationship with the ruling dynasty, eventually came into ownership of the property.
He exchanged the palace for al- Hajj Muhammad Loukrissi’s property in Fez in 1912. The latter, formerly in charge of the Marrakech watchmakers’guild, had been chosen in 1908 to serve as Sultan Moulay Abd-al- Hafiz’s chamberlain.
Al-Hajj Muhammad Loukrissi moved into this palace following the exile of the Sultan in 1912, where he remained until his passing in 1934. The property stopped being adequately maintained after that and quickly went into disrepair. Le Jardin Secret was established in 2008, eight years after the concept of repairing the building complex and making it accessible to the public first emerged.