Sunday, September 08, 2013

A Quiet Stroll in the Gardens of Fez

With the cooler weather making outdoor life enjoyable again, it is time to take a wander through the delightful Jnane Sbil Gardins 

The Jnane Sbil gardens on the north-western edge of the medina were always a favourite place for Fassis, where lovers and retired people could while away the hours among the palms, eucalyptus, weeping willows, citrus trees and bamboo. The park was opened to the public by Moulay Hassan in the 19th century. Two rivers - the Oued Fes with its water wheel - and the Oued Jawahir (river of pearls) flowed through the garden and there were three cafes. On the western edge near Bab Makina, the Nouria Cafe is still open and is a very pleasant place for tea or lunch. A broken-down waterwheel is still visible from the cafe.

But over the years, the gardens fell into disrepair and became not such a good place to go. Then, few years ago, ADER (the Agency for the Dedensification and Rehabilitation of the Fes Medina) was tasked with renovating the Borj and the walls surrounding the gardens. The Borj is now a museum of the natural environment and attracts lots of school groups, and the walls have been completed. Once again the gardens are a delight.

The Borj is now a museum 

Photographs: Suzanna Clarke 

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Amina Moun said...

You must be careful because it adjoins the poorest area of Fes. I was assaulted there a few weeks ago and the 'guardians' of the gardens turned the other way, noone offering any help.

cnishi said...

I'm so happy that they renovated the gardens and that they are kept in good repair. It's a quiet escape from the medina that I always visit when we are in town visiting family.