The Ourika valley is a little bit of Paradise on earth. Bab Zouina (Door of Beauty in Moroccan) is located at the foot of the Atlas mountains, three hours by camel from the hustle and bustle of Marrakesh. This enchanting place, surrounded by olive trees, still lives with the rhythm of nature. The purity of the air, the invigorating smells, and the ochre soil interspersed with varied hues of green provides a wonderful opportunity to enliven the senses and to facilitate contemplation. The magic of this wonderful site is enhanced by the changing light during the day and the clarity of the starry sky at night.
Bab Zouina is a traditional riad, a gorgeous Moroccan villa, located on a beautiful piece of land planted with fruit trees, palm trees and a vegetable garden. The house is spacious and has many nooks and corners for the different times of the day. Bab Zouina has various terraces and peaceful places that allow visitors to relax.
The amazing Swedish artist and landscaper, Catharina von Unge, conceived and designed the sumptuous ornamental garden surrounding the property of Bab Zouina. She managed to combine a British aesthetic taste with the rusticity and simplicity of the place. By using the plant and mineral forms, she managed to enhance the alternation of light and shadow depending on the time of the day. Earthen and ocher stone trails, framed with thyme and lavender hedges, meander among lantana bushes, rose trees, agave families, and exotic flowers.
Imposing stones from underneath the earth were laid in the manner of Breton menhirs throughout the garden in order to stress the curves of the iron arches adorned with jasmine or bougainvillea. The benches, deckchairs, umbrellas, and Moroccan zellij tile tables offer an authentic and local character to the terraces and places of relaxation. Finally, with the Mexican corner and its incredible varieties of cactus, Catharina dares to hint at the Majorelle garden by Yves Saint Laurent and the neighboring garden by André Heller. To discover various aspects of Catharina’s artwork: https://catharinavonunge.com/
During the Spring, flowers of all colours blossom everywhere. The Summer gives the fields a beautiful golden colour. Autumn is punctuated by olive picking and pressing the precious oil. Finally, Winter allows the earth to regenerate and to regain its vitality and the Atlas looms over the valley often covered in snow.
Struck by the calmness of the surrounding countryside, our ears start listening to the continuous chirping of the birds, the braying of the donkeys, the crowing of the cock and the call of the cuckoo, the croaking of the toads and the frogs, the laughter of children playing in the distance, the call to prayer by the muezzin from the neighbouring mosque, the refrain of sounds from the farmers in their fields…