Palais Bahia Fes

Meknes: Unveiling Morocco's Untamed Imperial City

Shrouded in the rolling hills of northern Morocco, just 50 kilometers from Fes, lies Meknes,

an imperial city whispering tales of a bygone era. Often overshadowed by its grander neighbors, Meknes offers a captivating blend of historical intrigue, vibrant culture, and a relaxed charm that allures travelers seeking an authentic Moroccan experience.

Founded in the 11th century, Meknes rose to prominence under Sultan Moulay Ismail (1672-1727). This ambitious ruler envisioned a magnificent imperial city rivaling Fes and Marrakech. He constructed a sprawling palace complex adorned with intricate tilework, soaring gates, and sprawling gardens. Today, remnants of this legacy form the heart of Meknes' allure.

Delve into the UNESCO-listed medina, a labyrinthine maze where the cacophony of the marketplace explodes with color and sound. Vendors hawk an array of spices, Berber crafts, and traditional wares. Be sure to visit the monumental Bab Mansour, an ornately decorated gate considered one of the most impressive in Morocco.

History buffs will be captivated by the Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail, a testament to the sultan's power and architectural prowess. Explore the Dar Jamai museum, housed in a former palace, to delve deeper into the city's rich heritage.

But Meknes offers more than just historical grandeur. Take a break in a traditional cafe, sipping steaming mint tea and soaking in the lively atmosphere. In the evening, lose yourself in the enchanting sounds of Gnawa music, a genre with roots in sub-Saharan Africa.

Meknes is also a gateway to the surrounding beauty. Hike through the nearby Volubilis, the captivating ruins of a Roman city, or explore the verdant Middle Atlas Mountains.

So, if you seek an untamed imperial city brimming with history, culture, and natural beauty, step off the beaten path and discover Meknes.