Fez Fancy Tours


Meknès is one of Morocco’s four Imperial cities, alongside Marrakech, Fes, and Rabat, known for its historical significance, architectural wonders, and cultural heritage. Located in the heart of Morocco, Meknès is often overshadowed by its more famous neighbors but offers a quieter, more relaxed atmosphere with equally rich historical sites and a less touristy feel.

Founded in the 11th century by the Almoravids as a military settlement, Meknès rose to prominence in the 17th century under the rule of Sultan Moulay Ismail, one of Morocco’s most powerful rulers, who made it the capital of his empire. The Sultan embarked on an ambitious project to build a grand city to rival Versailles in France, which left a lasting architectural legacy that includes massive walls, monumental gates, and beautiful palaces.

Key attractions in Meknès include:

  • Bab Mansour: This magnificent gate, adorned with impressive zellij (mosaic tile work) and inscriptions, serves as the entrance to the old city and is one of the most beautiful gates in Morocco.
  • Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail: Open to non-Muslim visitors, this is one of the few religious sites in Morocco that can be visited by non-Muslims. It is the final resting place of the sultan who transformed Meknès and is known for its stunning decoration.
  • Medina of Meknès: The historic heart of the city, with its narrow streets and bustling souks, offers a more laid-back shopping experience compared to other Moroccan cities. It’s a great place to buy local crafts, spices, and textiles.
  • Royal Stables and Granaries: Sultan Moulay Ismail’s royal stables were said to house up to 12,000 horses, and the nearby granaries were ingeniously designed to store grain and feed the Sultan’s army. Though partly in ruins, they offer a glimpse into the grandeur of Moulay Ismail’s reign.
  • Volubilis: Though not within Meknès itself, this ancient Roman city is a short drive away and is one of the most significant archaeological sites in Morocco. It offers well-preserved mosaics and remnants of Roman architecture amidst a picturesque landscape.

Meknès is also known for its agricultural produce, including olives, wine, and mint, which contribute to its vibrant culinary scene. Traditional Moroccan dishes, as well as some specialties unique to the region, can be savored here.

Meknès’ blend of historical depth, architectural beauty, and cultural richness, combined with its more laid-back atmosphere, make it a fascinating destination for those interested in exploring the diversity and history of Morocco without the hustle and bustle found in larger cities.

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