Meknès, Morocco

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Meknès, Morocco

Region: Meknès-Tafilalet

Geographic Coordinates: 33.895000, -5.554700
Temperature Range: 10.0°C to 40.0°C (50°F to 104°F)
Climate: Seasonal.
Population: 520428
Language: Arabic

Meknès is a city situated in the northern region of Morocco. It is known for its rich history and stunning architecture, Having been founded by the Almoravids in the 11th century and later serving as the capital of the Moroccan empire under Sultan Moulay Ismail during the 17th century. The city boasts impressive monuments such as Bab Mansour, One of North Africa’s largest gates. One of Meknès’ most famous landmarks is Heri es-Souani, A granary constructed during Sultan Moulay Ismail’s reign.

This structure consists of massive underground chambers that were utilized to store grains and other goods while also serving as a cooling system for food items during hot summers. Another notable attraction is Dar Jamai Museum, Which showcases traditional Moroccan art and crafts including pottery, Textiles, Jewelry, And carpets. Visitors can also admire beautiful Moorish architecture at this museum which was once a palace belonging to wealthy merchants. The medina (old town) of Meknès offers an authentic glimpse into traditional Moroccan life with narrow streets lined with shops selling spices, Leather goods and ceramics.

The Place el-Hedim square located here serves as a hub for local activities like festivals or events with food vendors serving delicious local delicacies. For those interested in religious sites, Meknès has several mosques worth visiting including Bou Inania Madrasa Mosque which dates back to 1350 AD featuring intricate tile work on its walls that are simply breathtaking. visitors should not miss out on exploring Volubilis; an ancient Roman city located just outside Meknes that dates back over two thousand years ago!

This UNESCO World Heritage site boasts well-preserved ruins such as bathhouses and temples where visitors can learn about ancient Roman life while enjoying picturesque views from atop hillsides overlooking surrounding countryside. Meknès offers something for everyone whether you are interested in history, Architecture, Culture or simply exploring the local markets and cuisine. Its grand monuments and ancient ruins make it a destination worth visiting for anyone looking to experience Morocco’s rich past and present.

Important Landmarks

  1. Bab Mansour Gate is a renowned landmark in Meknès, Morocco, and considered one of the most exquisite gates in the country.
  2. The Moulay Ismail Mausoleum is a famous attraction in Meknès that houses the tomb of Sultan Moulay Ismail, who ruled Morocco from 1672 to 1727.
  3. Heri es-Souani comprises vast underground granaries and stables constructed by Sultan Moulay Ismail to store food and horses.
  4. The Dar Jamai Museum showcases traditional Moroccan art pieces such as ceramics, textiles, jewelry, and furniture.
  5. Bou Inania Madrasa is an elegant Islamic school built during the 14th century by Sultan Abu Inan Faris.
  6. The Royal Palace of Meknès was erected by Sultan Moulay Ismail and serves as a residence for the king when he visits Meknès today.
  7. Place El-Hedim is an extensive square situated at the center of the old city surrounded by numerous cafes, restaurants, and shops selling traditional crafts.
  8. The Agdal Basin is a massive artificial lake created during Sultan Moulay Ismaïl’s reign for irrigation purposes.
  9. The Mausoleum Of Sidi Mohamed Ben Aissa holds significant religious importance where many Moroccans visit to pay their respects to this holy man who passed away over four centuries ago.
  10. Bab Berdaine gate acts as one of several entry points into medina (old town) area.

Primary Industries

  1. Meknès, a city in Morocco, boasts of a diverse economy that comprises several major industries and businesses.
  2. The city is renowned for its fertile land that makes it an ideal location for agriculture.
  3. Meknès produces various crops, including olives, citrus fruits, cereals, and vegetables.
  4. The textile industry is another significant sector in Meknès.
  5. The city has several textile factories that produce clothing items like traditional Moroccan garments.
  6. Additionally, Meknès is home to several historical landmarks such as the Bab Mansour gate and the Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail which attracts many tourists every year.
  7. Various manufacturing companies located in Meknes produce goods such as ceramics, furniture, and food products.
  8. With its large student population from around Morocco and neighboring countries studying at Moulay Ismail University; education-related services are also important to the local economy.
  9. Restaurants & cafes are popular spots with locals enjoying traditional Moroccan dishes like tagine or couscous while coffee shops offer an escape from busy streets where people can relax with friends or work on their laptops over coffee or tea.
  10. Overall these industries contribute significantly to the economic growth of Meknes by providing job opportunities for locals while attracting foreign investment into the region’s economy through trade fairs and other business initiatives aimed at promoting economic development within Morocco’s interior regions like Fes-Mecknes region where it belongs too.

Noteable History

  1. The city was founded in the 11th century by the Almoravids dynasty.
  2. Moulay Ismail, a sultan of Morocco during the 17th century, made Meknès his capital and built many grand structures there including the famous Bab Mansour gate.
  3. In 1912, Meknès became part of French Morocco after the Treaty of Fez was signed between France and Morocco.
  4. The city played an important role in Moroccan resistance against French colonization during the early 20th century.
  5. Abdelkrim El Khattabi, a prominent leader in Moroccan resistance against both Spanish and French colonization, was born in Meknès in 1882.
  6. The city has a rich cultural heritage and is known for its traditional music, cuisine, handicrafts, and architecture.
  7. Notable landmarks include Dar Jamai Museum (a former palace turned museum), Agdal Basin (an ancient water reservoir), Heri es-Souani (an underground granary), Moulay Idriss Zerhoun (a sacred town nearby), among others.

Museums and Things To See

  1. Bab Mansour Gate: This impressive gate is a major attraction in Meknès, known for its intricate tile work and grand archways.
  2. Dar Jamai Museum: This museum displays traditional Moroccan art, including ceramics, textiles, jewelry, and woodwork.
  3. Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail: The final resting place of the powerful Moroccan sultan Moulay Ismail features intricate tile work and a peaceful garden.
  4. Heri es-Souani: These massive underground granaries were built by Moulay Ismail to store food for his army and are an impressive feat of engineering.
  5. Bou Inania Madrasa: One of the most beautiful madrasas in Morocco, Bou Inania features stunning tile work and intricate carvings.
  6. Meknès Medina: The old city center of Meknès is a labyrinthine network of narrow streets lined with shops selling everything from spices to leather goods.
  7. Royal Stables Museum: Once used to house over 12,000 horses belonging to Moulay Ismail’s army, this museum now displays artifacts related to horse breeding and training in Morocco.
  8. El Hedim Square: This bustling square is home to many restaurants and cafes as well as a weekly souk (market) where locals come to buy fresh produce and other goods.
  9. Agdal Basin Gardens: These beautiful gardens were once part of Moulay Ismail’s palace complex and feature tranquil pools surrounded by lush greenery.
  10. Dar El Makhzen Palace Museum: Built in the 17th century by Sultan Moulay Ismaïl as his residence during his visits to Meknes; it has been converted into a museum showcasing traditional Moroccan artistry such as mosaics, woodwork, pottery, carpets etc.

Sports Teams

  • Meknès has a few local football clubs that compete in lower divisions of Moroccan football leagues.
  • The oldest club, Union Sportive Meknès (USM), was founded in 1933 and currently plays in the third tier of Moroccan football.
  • Club Omnisports de Meknès (COM) is a multi-sport club that includes a football team and was founded in 1946; it currently plays in the fourth tier of Moroccan football.
  • Ittihad Zemmouri de Khénifra is not based in Meknès but has played some home matches at Stade d’Honneur de Meknes, winning promotion to the top tier of Moroccan football for the first time ever during the 2019-2020 season.
  • While there are local sports teams based out of Meknès, they do not have significant histories or achievements compared to other cities or countries with more established sporting cultures.

  • Cultural Events

    1. Meknès International Festival of Music: This is an annual event that takes place in June and features a range of musical performances from local and international artists.
    2. Moulay Idriss Zerhoun Festival: This festival celebrates the life and legacy of Moulay Idriss, the founder of the city. It takes place in August and includes traditional music, dance, and food.
    3. Meknès International Agricultural Fair: This fair is held every year in April and showcases local agricultural products such as olives, dates, and citrus fruits.
    4. Festival of Roses: The nearby town of El Kelaa M’Gouna hosts this festival every May to celebrate the harvest of roses used to make rose water, perfumes, and cosmetics.
    5. Eid al-Fitr: As with all Muslim countries, Eid al-Fitr is a major holiday celebrated at the end of Ramadan with feasting, gift-giving, and family gatherings.
    6. Independence Day (November 18): A national holiday commemorating Morocco’s independence from France in 1956 with parades and other festivities throughout the country including Meknes.
    7. Mawazine World Rhythms Festival: While not technically located in Meknes (it’s held annually in Rabat), this week-long music festival draws hundreds of thousands each year to see world-renowned musicians perform on multiple stages throughout Rabat’s historic sites including some who may also perform concerts or shows elsewhere around Morocco including nearby cities like Fes or Marrakech depending on their schedules).


    • Mechoui Alley – a street lined with stalls selling roasted lamb, a famous dish in Meknès.
    • La Maison de la Poule – a restaurant specializing in chicken dishes such as tagines and grilled chicken.
    • Restaurant El Mansour – serves traditional Moroccan dishes like couscous, tagine, and harira soup.
    • Chez Yassine – offers authentic Moroccan cuisine such as pastilla (a savory pastry), lamb tagine with prunes, and mint tea.
    • Cafe Maure at Dar Jamai Museum – located inside the museum, this cafe offers panoramic views of the city while serving traditional Moroccan tea and pastries.
    • L’Atelier du Couscous – specializes in couscous dishes served with meat or vegetables cooked to perfection.
    • Le Riad Meknes Restaurant & Lounge Bar – serves modern Moroccan cuisine with a fusion of international flavors in an elegant setting.
    • Le Zerda Café-Restaurant – offers traditional Moroccan food like tajines, couscous and pastillas along with live music performances on weekends.

    • Parks and Recreation

      1. Agdal Gardens is a large public park with beautiful gardens, fountains, and pavilions.
      2. El Hedim Square is a public square in the heart of Meknès that hosts various events and festivals throughout the year.
      3. Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail is a historic site that includes a beautiful garden and tomb of the famous Moroccan ruler.
      4. Royal Golf Course Meknès is an 18-hole golf course located on the outskirts of Meknès.
      5. Bab Mansour Gate is a historic gate located in the old city with a beautiful plaza for people-watching and relaxation.
      6. Dar Jamai Museum is housed in a beautifully restored palace showcasing Moroccan arts, crafts, and artifacts from different eras.
      7. Horseback riding tours are available through several companies offering guided tours through the surrounding countryside and hillsides around Meknes.
      8. Hammam Zerhouni Spa & Wellness Center offers traditional Moroccan hammam treatments as well as other spa services like massages, facials, etc., for relaxation after exploring Meknes or its surroundings!


      Adventure Awaits!

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