In the 1920s, prominent San Diego architect Richard Requa visited Europe. During his extensive tour, he carefully observed a Moorish king’s garden in Ronda, Spain. A book that he later authored stated: “In my travels about the world, I had found three gardens of outstanding interest and beauty… The finest of these is in a small town in southern Spain called Ronda. Viewing it for the first time, there came instantly to mind the spontaneous exclamation, ‘I hope to die before I see anything more lovely.'”
Inspired by what he’d seen, Requa designed the Casa del Rey Moro garden (House of the Moorish King) for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition in San Diego’s Balboa Park. In 1997 the garden and adjacent House of Hospitality were rededicated after a major renovation. The garden, today a popular wedding spot, includes a replica of the wishing well in the Guadalajara Museum of Gardens.
Balboa Park is an enormous place full of competing attractions. It’s strange how I always feel compelled to walk through the Casa del Rey Moro garden!