Jardin Jnan Sbil, the oasis of peace in Fez, Morocco
Perhaps the culinary experience at the Ruined Gardens must have inspired the visit to Jardin Jnan Sbil. I’d already been to a public garden in Marrakesh. The experience was underwhelming to say the least, therefore, it came as a comforting sign when my host at the riad started singing the praises of Jardin Jnan Sbil. Apparently the garden, which is just outside the medina walls is one of the oldest and grandest in Fez. Little surprise given that the garden was part of the Royal Palace. It was donated to Fes in the 19th century by Sultan Moulay Hassan and had been restored a few years.
We headed to the Bab Boujloud (Blue Gate) which we knew would give us access to the Jardin Jnan Sbil, a mere 10 minute walk away. The coconut cart man’s wares briefly served as a pit stop.
As we got close to the gardens the Merenid Tombs which are the ruins of monumental tombs on a hill overlooking Fes al-Bali, the old city of Fez came into view. As attractive as visiting the old toms were perhaps for some, we gave it a wide berth. Let the dead look after their own. The orange cart on the square opposite the Merenid Tombs held far more attraction.
Finally we gained entrance to the gardens, which surprisingly was free to enter. We strolled around the garden’s shady pathways, whilst admiring the many towering palms, bushes, lakes, and fountains. A much welcome escape indeed from the hustle of the medina.
If you are a keen gardener or have an interest in “plant spotting” then you’d enjoy this a bit more. The greatest feature of the garden is the use of what is native and plentiful in Morocco. I don’t think I’ve seen as many orange trees in a garden. The palm trees, I expected to see in abundance but not the orange trees.
Our visit to the Jardin jnan Sbil was unnaturally short. We should have had lunch first then gone in there to relax. However, as it happened we had walked past an interesting restaurant that had offered us a deal on tagines we simply couldn’t say no to. After about half hour we strolled out back to the Bab Boujloud for our lunch