What to See and Do in Meknes, one of Morocco’s Grandest Ancient Cities

a city with many buildings


Meknes is one of Morocco’s grandest ancient cities, boasting a rich history and a wealth of cultural treasures. Founded in the 11th century by the Almoravids, Meknes quickly became an important regional capital. The city’s golden age came under the rule of Sultan Moulay Ismail, who transformed Meknes into a magnificent imperial city.

Meknes is bursting with grandiose architecture and rich cultural heritage. The city’s vast size is a testament to its longtime status as an important center of trade and power, and today it remains a popular destination for travelers seeking to experience the best of Morocco.

You can explore the city’s lavish palaces, mosques, and gardens, which have been meticulously preserved. The old city is surrounded by walls and gates, and its narrow streets are lined with shops and stalls selling everything from spices to souvenirs. Whether you’re interested in history or simply looking for a unique travel experience, Meknes is sure to impress.

Here are some of the best things to see and do in Meknes:

The Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail

The Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail is one of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring buildings in Morocco. Located in the city of Meknes, it is the final resting place of the country’s greatest ruler, Moulay Ismail. The mausoleum is an imposing structure, built entirely of marble and adorned with intricate Moorish carvings. Visitors can wander through the halls and marvel at the elaborate tomb of Moulay Ismail, as well as the many other tombs of members of his court. The mausoleum is also home to a Museum of Islamic Art, which houses a collection of rare and priceless artifacts. The Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail is a must-see for anyone visiting Morocco.

Walk amid the Roman Ruins of Volubilis

As you meander through the winding streets of Volubilis, it’s hard to believe that this was once a thriving Roman city. Established in the 3rd century BC, Volubilis was an important outpost of the empire, sitting at the crossroads of two major trade routes. Today, the city is best known for its ruins, which provide a fascinating glimpse into Roman life. The most impressive of these is the Basilica, a massive brick structure with soaring columns and elaborate mosaics. But there are plenty of other highlights to explore, from the House of Orpheus to the Temple of Bacchus. With its rich history and well-preserved ruins, Volubilis is an essential stop for anyone interested in Roman culture.

Admire the Artistry of Bab al-Mansour

The city of Meknes is home to many beautiful examples of Moroccan architecture, but one of the most impressive is the Bab al-Mansour gate. Built in the 18th century, this magnificent structure is decorated with intricate patterns of tilework, stucco, and carved wood. Visitors to the city often stop to admire the gate’s sweeping arches and intricate details. But what many don’t realize is that the Bab al-Mansour is more than just a pretty face. The gate’s design was actually inspired by the architecture of the Alhambra palace in Granada, Spain. And like the Alhambra, the Bab al-Mansour was built to be both a defensive structure and a work of art. Today, the gate is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Meknes and a reminder of the city’s rich history and cultural heritage.

Enjoy the local vibe at Place Hedim

As soon as you step into Place Hedim, you can feel the vibrant energy of the local community. This popular gathering spot is always abuzz with activity, whether it’s people chatting over a cup of coffee or kids playing in the park. The laid-back atmosphere is perfect for spending a leisurely afternoon, and there’s always something new to see or do. During the day, the square is bustling with activity, as people stroll through the shops and stop to admire the fountain. In the evening, the square comes alive with music and dance, as local performers take to the stage. Whether you’re looking to soak up the local atmosphere or simply enjoy some time in the sun, Place Hedim is the perfect spot to while away an afternoon. Whether you’re exploring the shops and stalls, enjoying a meal at one of the local restaurants, or simply taking in the sights and sounds of the city, Place Hedim is an essential part of the local experience. So next time you’re looking for a place to relax and enjoy the vibes of Marrakech, be sure to head to Place Hedim.

Explore the beauty of Dar Jamai Museum

Dar Jamai Museum is one of the most beautiful places in all of Morocco. The museum is located in the heart of the Old City of Fes, and it is surrounded by stunning architecture and Islamic art. The Dar Jamai Museum was founded in 1882 by Mokhtar ben Arbi el Jama’i, and it houses a collection of over 8,000 Moroccan artifacts. The museum is divided into two sections: the Artistic Section, which contains a variety of paintings, sculptures, and jeweled objects; and the Historical Section, which contains a wealth of information about Morocco’s history and culture. Visitors to the Dar Jamai Museum can enjoy a wide range of exhibits, including a life-size replica of a traditional Moroccan house, and a scale model of the city of Fes. The Dar Jamai Museum is an essential stop on any visit to Morocco.

Photograph the Pastel-Painted Alleys of Moulay Idriss

Moulay Idriss is a small town in Morocco with a big photographic history. In the early 1900s, it was a frequent subject of postcards and travel photography. Today, it remains a popular tourist destination, known for its pastel-painted buildings and alleyways. Many of these alleyways are too narrow for cars, making them the perfect place to explore on foot. As you wander through the town, you’ll be able to photograph charming doorways, colorful walls, and glimpses of everyday life. Whether you’re a professional photographer or a hobbyist, Moulay Idriss is sure to inspire you. So next time you’re planning a trip to Morocco, be sure to add this town to your itinerary.

Visit Heri es-Souani

The city is home to a number of spectacular historical sites, including the Heri es-Souani, a vast complex of stables, storage rooms, and baths built by Sultan Moulay Ismail. It originally had up to 12,000 horses stabled. Today, the site is open to the public as a museum, and it’s well worth a visit. The Heri es-Souani is an impressive example of Moroccan architecture and just one of the many reasons to explore Meknes. So whether you’re interested in history, culture, or simply want to enjoy a beautiful city, be sure to add Meknes to your travel list

Final Thoughts about Meknes

Meknes is a city with a rich history and culture. It is truly a city with something for everyone. From its vibrant square to its stunning historical sites, there’s always something new to explore in Meknes. It’s home to a number of impressive historical sites, including the Heri es-Souani, and it’s known for its pastel-painted buildings and alleyways. If you’re looking for a place to explore on foot, Moulay Idriss is the perfect spot. And no visit to Meknes would be complete without a stop at the Dar Jamai Museum. So whether you’re interested in history, culture, or simply want to enjoy a beautiful city, be sure to add Meknes to your travel list.  So whether you’re looking to soak up the local atmosphere or simply want to enjoy some time in the sun, be sure to add this city to your travel list. Thanks for reading!

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