“Meknassa al-Zitoun” (“Meknes of the olives” as it was originally known), is one of the four Imperial cities of Morocco. Steeped in the history of Morocco but unspoilt and hassle-free unlike its illustrious companions, Meknes is proud of its friendly, relaxed atmosphere and its famous heritage.
A visit to Meknes guarantees an authentic insight into Morocco and leaves the visitor with an almost dream-like impression of the ancient meeting the modern and an undeniable sense of spirituality.
Meknes was founded in the 10th Century AD by members of the Berber “Meknassa” tribe but became famous when the Emperor Moulay Ismail choose it as his Imperial capital in 1672 and made it his life’s mission to build Meknes into a city worthy of his Cherifian dynasty.
Moulay Ismail is compared by historians to his contemporary, Louis XIV of France.
This is due to his reputation as a warrior king and his love of grandeur in general. This love shaped the architecture of Meknes and led to parts of it being named the “Versailles of Morocco”. The city has recently enjoyed a renaissance in the restoration of its architecture and investment.
Meknes can be divided into three parts; the Medina (old town), the Nouvelle Ville (new town) built by the French colonialists at the beginning of the 20th Century and the Imperial Qasbah (the old Imperial Palace) that is next to the Medina, behind the famous gates of Bab Mansour.
The New Town “Hamriya” was built by the French on what was at the time, the largest olive growing plateau in Morocco. The surrounding area of Meknes still has a huge olive growing tradition and is part of the important agricultural activities of the city.
Meknes is a World Heritage Site.
One of the many famous monuments to visit in Meknes
Setting out the stalls and restaurants for the evening's entertainment in the main square L'Hdim