POINTS OF INTEREST
Some say dull scrub; others, pinnacle of romance. Stretching a full 3 km (2 miles) south of the Royal Palace, the Jardin de l'Aguedal comprises vast orchards, a large lagoon, and other small pools, all fed by an impressive, ancient system of underground irrigation channels from the Ourika Valley in the High Atlas. The entire garden is surrounded by high pisé (a mixture of mud and clay) walls, and the olive, fig, citrus, pomegranate, and apricot orchards are still in their original raised-plot form. The largest lagoon, the grandiose Tank of Health, is said to be the 12th-century creation of an Almohad prince, but, as with most Moroccan historic sites, the Agdal was consecutively abandoned and rebuilt—the latest resurrection dates from the 19th century. Until the French protectorate's advent, it was the sultans' retreat of choice for lavish picnics and boating parties. If you're here on a clear day, don't miss the magic and majesty of a 180-degree turn, from facing the Koutoubia Mosque (northwest) to facing the Atlas Mountains (southeast).