Meknes is a small magnificent city in Morocco that is full of delightful surprises, including the architecture, people and historical background. Many who plan their trips to Morocco do not pay much attention to this Northern city but I can assure you that it punches quite the wanderlust blow when you visit. Surprisingly, many people visiting Meknes do not know that it used to be the capital of Morocco, an interesting tidbit that pulls in visitors to this city who want to feed their curiosity and learn more about it. Apart from being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, largely because of its strict endeavor to preserve its 17th century European and Islamic architecture, Meknes has a slew of other endearing attractions such as the royal palace, monuments that hold a lot of history, great food served in great restaurants, nightlife to be enjoyed and many more. Let us look at some of the best things to do when you visit Meknes.
1. Visit the Dar Jamai Museum
Take about half an hour to walk through this museum which was designed, built and decorated by the very powerful Jamai family in 1882 and used as their home in Meknes. With their immense wealth, they had a knack of putting up beautiful structures with the most intricate details and imperial beauty such as the Palais Jamai found in Fez, Morocco. Head up to the second floor to the reception area and admire the artisanal work done using plaster and wood to create a masterpiece of a room. Peer down from one of the ornate windows and take in the Andalusian garden foliaged with lemon trees, papyrus, cypress trees, palm trees, banana plants and other flowering plants. The architect of Dar Jamai featured a lot of crafted material from its surroundings that were made out of wood, wrought iron, woven materials and metalwork. Fun fact: It was adapted into a military hospital in 1912 and eight years later, it became a museum.
Dar Jamai Museum
Address: Sahat El Hadim, Meknes, Morocco
Website: Dar Jamai Museum
Relax and Take it Easy
1. Sherazade Center & Spa
After a long day of touring the historical monuments and walking in the sun, make an appointment at the Sherazade Spa for great and relaxing Meknes hospitality. They offer great packages for women and men.
Sherazade Center & Spa
Address: Lotissement Hafida, Immeuble 33, Mag. 1، Meknes 50000, Morocco
Website: Sherazade Center & Spa
As the name suggests, AquaSpa is a professional spa that offers various treatments for women. You will get a variety of massage options from skilled masseurs. They also offer great pool fitness options.
Address: bloc central C2 RDC complexe dawliz, Morocco
Historical Ruins, Buildings and Landmarks
These ruins were once upon a time a Roman Empire base and built with all the intricacies of Roman fineness and features. Visit this historical landmark and try to recreate or imagine a time when hot baths and towering Roman columns were a permanent feature in Meknes. The Romans made quite the choice to build in this area as the land was fertile for agricultural activities.
Address: Route de Volubilis, Morocco
2. Bab Mansour Gate
The Imperial City in Meknes was surrounded by walls and had gates built for entrance. One of those gates is Bab Mansour, a magnificently grand and imposing figure on the wall fittingly decorated with mosaic details that are tortuously designed with a lot of color. These intricate details are still present today. A little more on the history of Bab Mansour, the design of the whole structure was a reworking of Almohad’s work. The very visible marble columns on the gate were brought in from Volubilis.
Bab Mansour Gate
Address: 17, Rue Ain El Anboub et Rue Lalla Aicha Adouia | Quartier HAMMAM JDID, Meknes 52000, Morocco
Website: Bab Mansour Gate
3. Bab El-Khemis Gate
Faultlessly hugging the Bab El-Khemis Gate is the prehistoric wall that still stands majestically in Meknes. The name Bab El-Khemis is Arabic for Thursday’s Door and behind the walls it serves as an entrance to the space used as a flea market in Meknes. You are bound to find treasures and other odds and ends in this space. You just have to be an ardent treasure hunter. You can buy merchandise ranging from antiqued wooden doors as big as a gate to ornately styled wooden doors to all types of Moroccan doors you come across. If you are redecorating your home and in search of unique doors and gates, I would suggest you book a ticket to Meknes and get yourself to Bab El-Khemis.
Bab El-Khemis Gate
Address: Meknes 50030, Morocco
Website: Bab El-Khemis Gate
4. Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail
A pride of Meknes, you cannot visit the city and not make a stop at this mausoleum. Situated a few minutes’ walk from Bab Mansour, you can combine your visit to check out this historically symbolic monument. The mausoleum is the resting place of Moulay Ismail who was the creator and leader of Meknes. Affluently set up and displayed, the mausoleum is plain looking and quite drab from the outside. You will cross a few brightly decorated courtyards as you walk inside to get to the crypt. Before walking in, you will be required to remove your shoes to walk around the mausoleum and peer into Ismail’s final resting place.
Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail
Address: Rue Palais, Meknes, Morocco
Website: Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail
5. Heri es-Souani Granaries
Also in close proximity to Bab Mansour, Heri es-Souani is where Moulay Ismail had his stables. Ismail had his stables built and divided into two parts, the interior part large enough to store a lot of grains and the exterior part used to keep the royal horses, a prestigious symbol of wealth. There is a fee to enter the stables.
Heri es-Souani Granaries
Address: Ville Imperiale, Meknes, Morocco
Website: Heri es-Souani Granaries
Visit a Winery at Meknes
1. Volubilia-Domaine De La Zouina
The French settlers established this wine estate in the 20th century and produces world-class wines for many years. Taken over by Philippe Gervoson and Gerard Gribelin in 2002, they have added two more brands to the estate known as Epicuria and Volubilia, after the Roman settlement just outside Meknes. You can visit this wine estate for some wine tasting and probably buy a few bottles to take home with you.
Volubilia-Domaine De La Zouina
Address: Commune d'Aït Bourzouine,، BP63 Boufekrane، Meknès 51000, Morocco
Website: Volubilia-Domaine De La Zouina
The Imperial City, Meknes
Highly discussed as an imperial city, you will enjoy walking in all the glory that is Moroccan royalty. From the gates to the mausoleum, the decadently decorated monuments and city will have you awestruck at how opulent the wealthy dwellers of this city were.
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