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Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
November 1, 2004
Designed initially as a resort where the sultans could escape the scorching summer heat, it was rebuilt for Sultan Adu Rahman in the 19th century, for his other, more risqué misadventures. Complete with a fruit orchard, date palm plantation, and olive grove, it is a place to take a breather and time off to smell the flowers.
The Menara Gardens cover an area of about 250 acres. In the middle of the park is a large lake, which dates from the 12th century and is fed by a network of irrigation channels flowing from a nearby basin.
And floating on the water's edge is the Sultan's small, reddish-coloured pavilion. Offering a breathtaking sight mirrored on the serene lake, especially in the evenings, as it catches the golden rays of the setting sun, it looks like the pavilion is set ablaze.
The building was used by the Sultan for his romantic rendezvous. And it was rumoured that he used to throw his companion of the previous night into the lake at dawn. The young wooing Moroccan couples usually make their way to the park just before it closes, at around 5pm, for a stroll around the menza. Being a Muslim country, only married couples can be seen holding hands.
The gardens are open to the public from around 9am for visitors who sometimes like to jog in the gardens. And in the evenings, you will find some hawkers peddling the local sweets made of sugar and nuts.
From journal Memories of Marrakesh
December 22, 2002
The postcard view of the central pavilion faces north upon a vast rectangular reflecting basin that contains rather brownish water. Walking along its north edge, you may get some nice photos of the pavilion fronted by the pool and backed by the High Atlas Mountains. Alas, the north facade of the minzah is not hit by sunlight in Marrakesh, as discriminating photographers may notice right away.
Originally the grounds were the sites of buildings from the 12th to the 16th Centuries. The current pavilion was rebuilt for Moulay Sulieman in the early 19th Century and has a stylized European appearance. The design includes arched openings and faux red bricks trimming them. The effect is a small country villa retreat, slightly removed from the congestion of the city.
To enter the minzah for a look there is a fee of 10 dirham (about one US dollar), but the grounds are free for a pleasant stroll or even a picnic.
From journal Bill in Morocco - MARRAKESH