Things to do in Meknes in Morocco, is still home to remnants of its former splendor despite being regarded as an antiquated provincial town today. Despite being a refuge of peace and quiet, many people refer to this town as the “Versailles of Morocco” or “Little Paris.”
Where is Meknes exactly?
Travelers typically ignore Things to do in Meknes, which is situated 150 kilometers from Rabat and 60 kilometers from Fez. Those who choose to go are just there for a day or two. Given all that Meknes has to offer, this is a grave mistake. Those who want to spend some time here will be charmed by its allure and atmosphere. You may explore and discover the city’s history on foot tours, as well as the history of the entire nation of Morocco.
pictures from the city’s past
Morocco’s Meknes has a lengthy and fascinating history. It is one of the four imperial cities of Morocco. Beginning in the early 10th century, when the Meknassa Berber tribe relocated to the Sais plateau from the Middle Atlas mountains (Sas).
This region was perfect for settlement due to the fertile terrain and simple access to water. It is important to note that the first fortified settlement was founded in this area in the eighth century.
The city expanded during the Almohad and Merynid dynasties (12th–15th centuries), when they constructed an impressive medina and the oldest defensive walls in Morocco.
After Mulay Ismail made Meknes the nation’s capital in 1672, a position it held until 1727, the city saw tremendous change. The most ruthless ruler to rule Morocco ever wasted no money on enlarging and embellishing his capital.
In accordance with custom, if Ismail was unhappy with the laborers’ performance, he would brutally assassinate them and have their blood blended with cement for next building. Additionally, some of the materials used in the construction were looted in Marrakech and Volubilis.
Similar to Agadir, Meknes was severely damaged by an earthquake. It occurred in 1755, tragically halting Meknes’ development and depriving it of its political clout.
Sadly, the outlook for the city remained bleak. Beginning in the 20th century, it was selected as the main headquarters of the French occupying force, which led to it becoming the scene of countless horrific clashes between Moroccans and French.
Only when Morocco reclaimed its independence in 1956 did Meknes in Morocco acquire governmental favor. The city was undergoing major repair and growth during the time.
Moroccan city of Meknes’s Medina
The Medina, which was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996, is Meknes’ pride and joy. Its turbulent past has produced a distinctive fusion of architectural styles. French elements are mixed with Arabic decorating customs to produce a stunning combination.
You could spend all day exploring the intriguing maze of small squares, alleys, and winding streets. Travelers are enthralled by the prospect of solving their secrets.
Things to do in Meknes tourist
- West of the mellah, or Jewish neighborhood, is where the old city’s core is situated. The Mansura Gate (Bab el-Mansour), a magnificent structure in and of itself, leads to it. The gate bears the name of its creator. Five years after Ismail, the person who commissioned it, passed away, the building was completed in 1732. The stunning mosaic decorations are exquisite and create the illusion that the huge gate is an openwork, delicate structure.
- The gate is also embellished with vintage Volubilis columns.
- After passing through the gate, we will stop in Lalla Aouda Square, which served as a meshwar—a location for parades and inspections of the Sultan’s army—in earlier times. At the height of the capital, there were 16,000 black slaves who made up the Sultan’s Black Guard. The structure that housed the Dar el-Kebir royal palace once included the square. It was once split into 24 distinct framed sections, each with gardens and mosques, but Mulay Ismail’s son decided to destroy most of them.
- Ismail’s Tomb: Currently, the Ismail tomb is situated behind the Kubbat el-Khiyatin representative pavilion.
- Despite the ruler’s terrible reputation, visitors come from all across the nation to visit this mausoleum. They most likely come for the barakah, or blessing, in addition to the location’s beauty and the desire to show respect to the former king or queen. Annual mussems are conducted here at the conclusion of the harvest (usually on the last Thursday of August). The festivity features fairs, fancy dress contests, dancing, and singing. Muslims are not allowed in the tomb, and tourists are not allowed in the temple.
- In the heart of the medina is where you’ll find the Grand Mosque. Unfortunately, on February 19, 2010, the green mosaic-covered minaret fell.
- The magnificent Sultan’s buildings are further enhanced by the royal gardens, which are still off-limits to the public, the enormous granaries with an air conditioning system that was exceptional for its day, and the stables for 12,000 horses (unfortunately, the stables are now in ruins).
- The Medresa Bu Inania, established by Abou Hassan Marini, is the medina’s most prized possession (1331-1351). In Arabic architecture, this Koranic school is recognized as a masterpiece. Its walls are built of majolica, a form of ceramic with a lead-tin coating that is opaque and has incredibly brilliant colors. Outstanding features include the stucco, arabesques, and sculptures made of olive wood. A visit to Mulay Idris Madrasa is highly recommended because of its remarkable cylinder-shaped minaret.
- Other points of interest are the Andalusian garden-museum, where you can unwind after a long journey, and the museum Dar Jama, which has, among other things, a collection of Berber kilims and ceramics.
- One of Morocco’s largest mussems is celebrated every year in the marabout of Sidi ben Aissy on the day before
- Mohammed’s birthday. Unfortunately, those who are not Muslims are not allowed admission to the tomb.
- During the French protectorate, the ville nouvelle, or new town, was built on the Bu Fekran River’s opposing bank. The area is kept up and is home to elegant villas and opulent palaces. In the midst of the lush vegetation, banks, posh shops, fine dining establishments, and cafes appear. People come from all over due to the aroma of the coffee known as qahwa bil-halib, which is made with cardamom and cinnamon and served in large cups.
- Coffee pairs well with exotic mango sorbet or almond pastries.
- Meknes, in Morocco, is well-known for its antiquities as well as its wine and olives. These grapes may grow well because of the surrounding hills. Of course, the French were the ones who started the industry, but Moroccan producers have succeeded ever since. The best place to buy local wine is in the ville nouvelle.
- Les Coteaux de l’Atlas, Beni M’Tir Larroque Cabernet Sauvignon, and Comtesse de Lacourtabalise are three excellent red wines. Beauvallon Chardonnay and Medaillon Cabernet Sauvignon are two excellent white wines.
- These wines are worth trying even though they are not cheap. Since Morocco is an Islamic nation, it is unusual for there to be any local wineries, even for this reason.
- Fair or suki? Of course, Meknes boasts a lot of souks, just like other Moroccan cities. There is a carpet market at Dar Jamai’s palace, a jewelry market outside Bab Berrima’s western gate, and a spice and nut market further north. These are but a few illustrations of what can be purchased from nearby vendors.