Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Al Badi Palace

Badi means "marvelous, magnificent". In 1578, the Sultan Sa'adian Ahmad-al-Mansur (1549-1603) was enthroned, and he started to build this huge palace with open courtyards. Very quickly after his death the palace went into disrepair, and was destroyed, in 1710, by the Alaouite Sultan Mawlay Ismail who used the Italian marble and the gold from Sudan for his palace in Meknes. Last year, returning from India, I developed an interest in Islamic gardens. Gardens are a great path to learn about the history and customs of different cultures. Al- Badi is very interesting, as it has not yet been restored. Therefore, it was easy to observe the traditional watering system. The sunken beds, would have been planted with scented plants, with utilitarian values. In this case, I believe, orange and lemon trees (Citrus sp) were planted in array, so the top of their canopies would just reach the level of the paved walkway. The basins were fitted with a split water channel, which arms would be blocked to divert the water in the beds requiring the irrigation. This system is clever, as the moisture is longer conserved by the canopy of the trees. Max found the noise of the stokes much more interesting than my explanations.

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