Meknès was chosen as an UNESCO world legacy of civilization, for its medina and the ruins of the royal palace. A crowd of merchants, fire-eaters and acrobats gather together at dusk, in Place El-Hedime with its huge market.
The city has an unforgettable and easy-going medieval ambience. In addition, Meknes has several palaces, spectacular mosques and madrassas behind its fortified walls that feature many grand entrances, and the world famous Bab Mansour.
Meknes’ exquisiteness broadens past its walls onto the periphery, where the Roman archeological location of Volubilis and the imperial stables of Moulay Ismail can be visited. Today, Meknès is the fifth biggest city in Morocco and has a great economic center that prospers on wine, mint tea and olives.
The city’s style lends an indisputable charisma, enhanced by the beauty of adjacent countryside. Travelers may appreciate its striking gates, parapets, palaces and mosques.
The city of Meknes located in Northern Morocco, is 130 kilometers from the capital city Rabat and 60 kilometers from Fes. In fact, Meknes was the capital of Morocco under the regime of Moulay Ismail (1672–1727); prior to it, it was moved to Rabat.
The name Meknes comes after a Berber tribe that was known as Miknasa according to medieval Arabic sources. The land upon which Meknes is founded and the surrounding provinces came under Roman Empire domination in AD 117.
The original population from which Meknes can be traced dwelt in an 8th century fortress or Kasbah.
History of this fascinating city
Meknes became the capital under the rule of Sultan Moulay Ismail (1672-1727), who was the founder of the Alawite Empire.
The sultan went on to turn Meknes into an attractive city in the Moorish-Spanish style, surrounded by great doors and high walls. Even today visitors can come across the harmonious mélange of European and Islamic styles of the 17th century in Meknes.
What to do in Meknes?
The most alluring facet of Meknes tours is that travelers normally don’t crowd the area. The shopping, nightlife, sightseeing activities and enthralling places of interest make the city of Meknes very enjoyable.
The city is also home to several historical monuments and natural locations. Meknes lies in close proximity to the remains of Volubilis. The Roman ruins of Volubilis have been acknowledged as a UNESCO world legacy location.
Meknes is also renowned for other attractions such as Heri es-Souani, Place Hedim, Bab Mansour, Medersa Bou Inania Meknes Royal Golf Course, Dar Jamai, Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail, Habs Qara and Al masjid AlAdam.
The magnificent Bab Mansour is the biggest of the gates in Meknes. On visiting Heri es-Souani, one can come across the attention grabbing granaries. It’s also an ultimate delight to sit by the sides of Agdal basin.
The Dar Jamai museum is a home to Moroccan arts and one can take pleasure in the exhibit of ancient copies of the Quran, and several other artifacts and jewels.
The Al masjid AlAdam is the most ancient and biggest standing mosque in the city. Meknes is also famous for its wonderful souks where one can shop for anything and everything. Here one can shop for Moroccan conventional clothing and rugs.
Also, the souks have exclusive Moroccan shoes and other items that are truly alluring for any buyer. The interior areas of the markets have jewelry, household items and many other interesting goods. The shoppers are invited to haggle over the goods and there’s no fixed rate.
What’s more, the rates in Meknes city are very reasonable in comparison to the other cities of Morocco.