Meknes Tourist Attractions
The imperial city, Moroccan Versailles, was built as the Moroccan capital on a fertile plain north of the Middle Atlas, near Fez by Sultan Moulay Ismail, one of the first rulers of the Alawite dynasty that governed Morocco.
Moulay Ismail came to power in 1672 at age 26 and reigned for 55 years. When a French princess refused his hand in marriage, the young Sultan swore that he would build a palace that would rival Versailles in splendor. He pressed 50,000 workers into service building a series of palaces, mile after mile of walls, battlements and ramparts and a vast marketplace.The imperial city was completed by Moulay Ismail's son Moulay Abdallah (1727-1757) and his grandson Sidi Mohamed ben Abdallah (1757-1790).When, in the early 19th century, Meknes ceased to be an imperial capital, it became neglected. It was not until the reign of Moulay Hassan at the end of the century that Meknes was restored and revived.Meknes is connected to the coastal cities by rail, while paved roads lead to mountain resorts. The surrounding region is fertile and the city produces many agricultural products including fruit, grain and vegetables, as well as metalwork, carpets, woolen fabrics and cement.
The holy city of Moulay Idriss was established in 788 A.D.. The city is built upon the rocky spurs of the Khiber and Tazga with houses clustered around the hillsides. The town and mausoleum are named after Moulay Idriss - the founder of the first Moroccan State and the country's most venerated saint.In August, a mouseem attracts thousands of pilgrims who pitch their tents around the town.
Bab Al Mansour
Bab al Mansour is the main gate, and one of the finest in Morocco, that opens to the immense mechouar where stands the moving mausoleum of Moulay Ismaïl.
Dar Jamai Museum
Dar Jamai was built in 1882 as the residence of the illustrious Jamai family, which included two of Moulay el-Hassan's ministers. It was used as a military hospital after 1912 and was converted to The Museum of Moroccan Art in 1920. The museum retains the rich traditional decor of painted wood and sculpted plaster and features an exquisite Andalusian garden. The museum is devoted to the arts and crafts of the region, including wrought ironwork, wood carving, weaving, leather-work, brass and coppersmithing, and other metalwork.
The main festivals and cultural events in Meknes are the El Haboul Festival, Regional Fair, Moussem Sidi Ben Aissa, Moussem Moulay Idris I and World Theater Day.
Museum of Morrocan Arts
The Museum of Moroccan Art is now housed in the Palace of Jamaï. It is rich with collections of porcelain, embroidery, carpets, wood carvings and jewelry.
Map of Meknes Attractions