The Garden Guide

Book: History of Garden Design and Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 5: Gardens in Asia, America, Africa, Australia

Tetuan Garden in Morocco

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817. The gardens of the palace of the sultan at Tetuan are situated without the town, and contain a summer palace, and a banqueting-room thirty feet high. The fruits are oranges, citrons, and grapes. The ornamental fountains and basins of water are very fine; and the gardens command varied and extensive views of the distant scenery, (Ibid.) A valley in the neighbourhood of Tetuan is described by Capel Brooke as 'rich and highly cultivated, consisting chiefly of a succession of luxuriant gardens, surrounded by lofty fences of cactus and aloe, overtopped by the towering cane, which presented so thick a barrier, that it was difficult to get even a peep at the beautiful retreats within. The luxuriance of the vegetation, and the appearance of some maize and barley, which were already several inches high, gave a look of spring to the season; and as we passed along, our senses were regaled with the delicious fragrance of orange blossoms, large jasmines, and white roses. Having crossed a river, which, during the rainy season, is very dangerous to ford, we arrived at the gate of the sultan's gardens ; and, without dismounting, rode up a delightful trellis walk, shaded by vines, and loaded with grapes, which hung down in the most tempting manner possible. Having reached a second gate, or door, we dismounted, and entered a kind of alcove, before which was a spacious basin filled with water as clear as crystal, supplied by a stream which is conducted by a small channel through the gardens. This delightful spot is the retreat of the sultans of Morocco when they visit Tetuan. The view from the gardens is very beautiful, the mountains rising abruptly close to them; and, being well wooded, present a dark, wild, and striking contrast to the golden hues which meet the eye. The Tetuan oranges are celebrated as the best in Morocco; and the exportation of them is a considerable source of revenue to the governor, large quantities being sent over to Gibraltar. A good sweetmeat is made from the blossoms preserved. The Tetuan apples are good, and are superior even to those of Ronda, in Spain, their flavour being sharper than what might be expected from the climate, and resembling more the English apple. Both white and red wine is made by the Jews ; the former somewhat resembling a light Malaga wine. The gardens of Kitain were laid out by the great and powerful pacha, Hamet, who built a summer palace, and a banqueting-room fifty feet in height, with arched galleries above, and a dome at top, surrounded by fountains and basins of water, the sides of which were shaded by orange and citron trees.' (Travels, &c., vol. ii. p. 233.) [Editor's Note Tetuan, or TTtouan, is in Rif Mountain region of Morocco]