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Travel: Marrakesh Gardens, Morocco Last Guided Group Day. 4/20/2023

Continuation of a Guided Group Trip. which started on:

4/10 - From Tangier to Casablanca (part 1) 4/15 - Atlas Mt (part 6)

4/11 -Rabat- Imperial capital (part 2) 4/16 - Oasis & Desert (part 7)

4/12/Meknez - Imperial Capital (part 3). 4/17 -Essaouira (part 8)

4/13 Fez -1st Imperial Capital (part 4) 4/18 - Marrakesh Medina (part 9)

4/14- Atlas Mt. (part 5). 4/19 - Ourika Valley (part 10)

On this last day of the group's tour, just before heading to breakfast, my dear friend Madelaine, told me on the phone that she got realty sick and summoned me up to her hotel's the Kenzi Roze Garden where we stayed in Marrakesh, for the last 3 nights of the group's trip to Morocco

Considering that Madelaine was in great shape, spirit and fitness for care-free dancing

during, just the previous night's outing (4/19th) )at the Restaurant Palais Jad Mahal,

it was hard to detect, what triggered this mal situation or decipher her symptoms.

She felt so bad and fatigued that she couldn't get out of bed.and indeed she looked very miserable and quite out out of it.

Since it was important that she could make it to the flight back to Israel, scheduled that evening with the rest of the group, I asked the hotel to call on a doctor for her. and to extended her check-out time, so she stayed in bed for the entire day...

I promised to be in touch with her throughout the day, to return in time to help her pack her suitcases and to get her ready for the bus's special pickup of her,from the hotel to the airport,

All other group members checked out from the hotel with their luggage loaded into the bus in that morning early hours.

On the way to Marrakesh Gardens

The touring plan on this last shortened day, was a visit to famous garden sites, museums, a madrasa and roaming/shopping freely at the old medina alleys

Koutoubia Gardens

Stretching out behind the Koutoubia Mosque, are the palm-tree-dotted swath of greenery garden, alos known as Lalla Hassna Park,

It can be found right next to Jemaa el-Fna, at the heart of the Medina and within a short walking distance .The park is free and open to the public at all times,

The park itself spreads across two hectares and provides a pleasant green paradise of immaculately trimmed rose bushes, perfectly symmetrical walkways and plenty of shade-covered benches; It is a favourite spot for strolling, relaxing and resting for many local Marrakchi . and there are great views of the Koutoubia Mosque's minaret.

A large fountain shoots its water along a wide path towards the minaret

At the center of the park is a Koubba (a white dome) which is the tomb of Lalla Zohra, a daughter of a liberated slave. Legend tells that she was a women during the day, but transformed into a dove at night to escape from the unwanted affections of her old master.

The Minaret of the Koutoubia

The iconic minaret is visible from every rooftop of the city of Marrakech and no structure can be constructed higher then it. With a height of about 67.5 m, the Koutoubia minaret has the same perpendicular (not round) shape as the western Islamic minarets.

Considered a true jewel of Islamic architecture it alos served as a model for the minaret of the Giralda in Seville

Inside the minerat tower there is a ramp on which a mule with the Muslim can climb to the top to make the calling. for praying

Leftover of the old destroyed mosque with colonnade passages

Kuoutoubia mosque which was founded in 1147 was in the past a Book Market area

(more is mentioned also in the post from 4/18)

Jack Majorelle Garden (here)

The street leading to the entrance into the gorgeous garden is named in honor of Yves Saint laurent.

The street was mobbed with visitors and long line trailed toward the entrance. of

this botanical and artist's landscape garden in Marrakech.

Originally created by the French artist Jacques Majorelle over a period of 40 years, and later restored by Yves Saint-Laurent, it is one of the most beautiful gardens in Morocco.

Jack Majorelle (1886 – 1962)

Majorelle a French noted Orientalist painter, (son of the celebrated Art Nouveau furniture designer Louis Majorelle),who is most remembered for constructing the villa and gardens that now carry his name, the Majorelle Garden

Majorelle is recognized as one of the early modernist Orientalists. During his lifetime, many of his paintings were sold to private buyers and remain in private collections

In 1923, Jacques Majorelle and his wife Andrée Longueville (whom he married in 1919) bought a four-acre plot, situated on the border of a palm grove in Marrakesh after living for 4 years in an apartment near the Jemâa el-Fna Square (then at the palace of Pasha Ben Daoud).

He began planting a luxuriant garden which would become known as the Jardins Majorelle or Majorelle Garden.

Initially, he built a house in the Moroccan style but in 1931, he commissioned the architect, Paul Sinoir, to design a Cubist villa within the grounds.

In 1937, he painted the villa in a special shade of the blue, which Majorelle had developed after being inspired by the blue tiles prevalent in southern Morocco.

This color was used extensively in Majorelle's house and garden, and now carries his name; Majorelle Blue. He gradually purchased additional land, extending his holding by almost 10 acres. He continued to work on the garden for almost forty years and it is said to be his finest work

The garden proved costly to run and in 1947, Majorelle opened the garden to the public with an admission fee designed to defray the cost of maintenance.

He sold the house and land in the 1950s, after which it fell into disrepair. It was rediscovered in the 1980s, by designers, Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé who set about restoring it and saving it.

Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé, who were keen art collectors, also acquired paintings by Majorelle. the Collection is held in the complex villa.

Majorelle was sent to France for medical treatment in 1962 following a car accident, and died in Paris, later that year of complications from his injuries. He is buried in Nancy, the place of his birth, alongside his father.

The gardens and buildings form a complex, where specific buildings are dedicated to various museums and exhibits. Majorelle's former studio workshop previously housed the Islamic Art Museum of Marrakech, featuring a collection of North African textiles from Saint-Laurent's personal collection as well as ceramics and jewelry.

the villa is now home to the Berber Museum (Musée Pierre Bergé des Arts Berbères), exhibiting objects of Amazigh (Berber) culture

A Memorial pole in the garden to

Yves Saint Laurent (1936-2008)

Pier Berge (1930 - 2017)

Yves Saint Laurent ashes were scattered in the gardens.

The garden also hosts more than 15 bird species that are endemic to North Africa

The museum- founded in 2017 was designed by Studio KO and built by the Moroccan subsidiary of Bouygues. is entirely devoted to the work of the legendary fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and is located on a street named after the designer, Yves Saint Laurent Street, near Majorelle Garden

Best Ice Cream in town

in the same Yves Saint Laurent street

across from the entrance to the garden

the best ice-cream in town shouldn't be missed

Back at the Marrakesh medina Old Town

Dar el Bacha Street

Rue Dar el Bacha is a street which starts at Pasha's palace, close to the Medersa Ben Youssef. at the northern edge of Marrakech’s Central Medina — the city’s heart and soul. and at which we were dropped, as to proceed to the touring sites planned for the day.

It is at the part of the commercial area, frequented by lots of tourists because of all the traditional top shops, and boutiques in its narrow alleys that are better maintained and consist of more upscale specialized expensive merchandise. as well as a number of restaurants specializing in Moroccan cuisine and many old houses and inns/ fondouks and hammams

Though still one needs to watch for one life, when walking the allies making sure to veer to sides of the narrow busy road, as not to be run over by the zooming motorized cycleres

Palace Donab Maison D"hotes

This very sumptuous Riad/guesthouse with a typical Moroccan architecture: Zellij, basin, traditional fountain is In the center of Marrakesh's Medina, by the Dar Bacha. entrance and a brief walk from the Jamaâ El Fna Square, and was noticed each time we passed

it on our way.

Dar el Bacha - 'House of the Pasha" Museum of Confluences

An iconic landmark beautiful palace that was built in 1910 and is a symbol of the city’s rich history architecture and culture. by which we only passed

This symmetrical Riad, consisting of a garden surrounded by six rooms on all four side. is a complex of several outbuildings, It also contains a traditional hammam, the douiria which was a space reserved for palace servants, the library, and the private “harem” area reserved for the Pasha’s family..

It was once the home of Thami El Glaoui,, who was appointed as the Pasha/Goveroner of Marrakech in 1912 by Sultan Moulay Youssef

.In 2017, the building was renovated by the NFM and transformed into a museum that serves as a prime example of traditional Moroccan architecture. This is evident from the fountains, the traditional salons, and the courtyard filled with orange trees.

Collection of primitive and antique artifacts that were compiled by Patti Birch, an American philanthropist, can be found there.

Medersa Ben Yousssef - A Religious School

The Islamic madrasa which was the largest Islamic college in the Maghreb at its height., functions today as an historical site

it is named after the adjacent Ben Youssef Mosque built by the Almoravid Sultan Ali ibn Yusuf in the early 12th c, and was commissioned by the Saadian Sultan Abdallah al-Ghalib in the 16th c

the layout of the Ben Youssef madrasa centers around the main courtyard, which is surrounded by east and west galleries and student dormitories on the upper and lower levels.. consisted of 130 student rooms and housed up to 800 students; making it the largest madrasa in Morocco

The courtyard is itself centered around a large shallow reflective pool, measuring approximately 3 by 7 m

Closed down in 1960, the building was beautifully refurbished and reopened to the public as a historical site in 1982, and is definitely worth the visit

Museum of Marrakesh

Housed in the Dar Mnebhi historic late 19th-c Palace, by Mehdi al-Mnebhi. the museum is located in the old center and is notable for its Moroccan architecture built by wealthy elites during this period,,and collection of various historic art objects and contemporary art from Morocco, like weapons, carpets, costumes, pottery from Fez, Berber jewellery, and Jewish liturgical objects.

The structure and its traditional decorative art is more impressive then the objects' colection

The palace was seized by the family of Pasha Thami El Glaoui, the autocratic ruler of southern Morocco under French rule, while Mnebhi was out of the country and serving as ambassador in London. and after Morocco regained its independence (1956), the palace was seized by the state and in 1965 it was converted to a girls' school.

After a period of neglect, the palace was carefully renovated by the Omar Benjelloun Foundation and converted into a museum in 1997

The palace consists of a large central courtyard, which was originally an open riad garden planted with trees,but today is fully paved and roofed over

The courtyard is centered around several fountains and surrounded by roofed galleries and wall fountains, all decorated with stained-glass windows, intricate painted door panels and, of course, lashings of beautiful colorful zellijtile work geometric mosaic being the highlight, as well as painted and carved cedar wood, It also contains a huge, central chandelier made up of brass pieces cut into ornate geometric and arabesque motifs. and off the courtyard, there is the palace's hammam

As this museum tour, was over, my own group participation, came to an end,

The group was detached to roam freely, shop and explore the medina alleys

Shops selling antiques, Oriental rugs, Berber jewelry and housewares, as well as a handful of fondouks — a sort of Middle Eastern caravanserai — dealing in artisan wares like bags, tapestries, hand-painted tile can be all found here

Traditional wood figures carving

I returned to the Kenzi Roze Garden hotel to help my friend Madeline get ready to depart. She was a real trooper pulling her self out from bed dressing up and getting ready, for the bus pick up, while I finished packing and closing her suitcases.

Only on the following day and after safely landing in Israel and being picked up by her daughter, Madeline shared, with me and the rest of the group that she was diagnosed positive for Covid..... Few others in the group, apparently were also contaminated ...

luckily I was spared and so was David... "Wondrous are the way of the Lord.."..

Yet, still with this unexpected ending to otherwise a marvelous most educational trip

to one of most exotic countries of the world, I had a great time , thanks to the great operational logistics of Kishrai Tarbut Tevel tour operator, to the fantastic guides who illuminated the experience, and the wonderful people who made this group and experiences special

So my heartfelt thanks are given to all the stuff

And the lively group members

I was going to stay in Marrakesh, for 4 more nights, with David,. (more posted ( here)

Later that afternoon, and after saying God-By-s to the departing group members, David and I moved into the amazing Es Saadi Palace hotel

And after being fed for 10 days in a row by traditional Moroccan Tagine and Cuscus dishes, I was relieved and delighted to have a great meal at a French retardant , popular by the many Europeans who flock to the city

L’O a La Bouche Restuarant in the Gueliz area

4 Rue Badir 0666483233

More read on my experienced at French Marrakesh (here)

To be Continued,,,,,,