As compared to neighboring Fes, the imperial city of Meknes receives lesser footfalls but that doesn’t take away the shine from this historic neighborhood which was once home to Moroccan sultanate. Founded in the 11th century by the Almoravids as a military settlement, Meknes went on to become Morocco’s capital under the reign of Sultan Moulay Ismaïl. This city will enchant its visitors by remnants of fortifications, ingeniously incorporated into the city’s road networks. The king’s tomb sits at the heart of the city flanked by an almighty royal granary and the magnificent Bab El Mansour.
Visit to Meknes is a must on your trip to Morocco, and its impressive Spanish-Moorish style architecture with harmonious blend of Islamic and European culture will leave you mesmerized.
- Heri Es Souani
This historic ruins of Moulay Ismail’s gigantic granaries and stables are one of the key places to visit in Morocco. With massive walls and tiny windows, effectively creating cool storage conditions, it stored grains and hays to feed 12,000 royal horses during its glorious days. The giant volts and original cedar wood doors impresses every shutterbugs. At 10 dirham as entrance fees, you can witness this piece of historic remains in Meknes.
- El Hedim Square
Built in 16th century after demolishing half of Old city of Meknes, this famous square lies in the heart of Meknes. Facing Bab El Mansour, this historic place was earlier used for royal announcements and public executions, and now it’s a good place to sit and watch the world go by and a meeting point for the locals.
- Bab El Mansour
Known to be world’s most impressive doors, this iconic gateway is famous for its geometric ornamentation, devotional inscriptions and impressive marble columns. Definitely one of those places to visit in Morocco, this grand gate is intensely adorned by green and white zeillij tiles and engraved Koranic panels. Don’t forget to capture the marvel of this architectural wonder in your camera.
- Dar Jamai Museum
Built in 1882 by Jamai family, this museum overlooks Place El Hedim and is an ornate palace surrounded by lush gardens, displaying traditional crafts and textiles. It houses colorful exhibits of painted wood panels, decorated chests and amazing pottery pieces. Get astounded at the detailed and elaborate effort that is evident in every piece of wrought iron, brass, ceramics, woodcarving, metal work, coppersmith items and leatherwork. Your Morocco vacation is incomplete without this museum in your itinerary.
- Medresa Bou Inania
This marvelous Islamic architecture is a distinguished Marinid monument and is Meknes’ pride. Visit this madrasa on your trip to Morocco. The monument has a prayer hall, a place for ablution, classrooms and a large patio, with a well-designed courtyard that displays the zellige base, delicate stucco midriff and carved cedar wood ceiling.
- Palais Al Mansour
This 17th century palace was once Moulay Ismail’s summer residence, having similar architectural elements as that of Bab El Mansour. This historic palace is being restored currently. A visit to this historic structure would give you an idea of their grand past.
- Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail
This 18th century Mausoleum is the final resting place of the sultan who made Meknes his capital. Bearing the symbol of Moroccan craftsmanship, this structure with opulent design is partially allowed to the non-Muslims to explore.
- Agdal Basin
North of Heri Es Souani granaries lies this serene lake which is a visual delight to the travelers of Meknes. Don’t forget to take a stroll along this enormous stone lined lake on your Morocco vacation. Originally served as a water reservoir for sultan’s gardens and Pleasure Lake, today it is a common place frequented by local families and visitors around the globe.