The Historic City of Meknes was one of the kingdom’s imperial cities. The name Meknes, was derived from the Miknasa, which was a Berber tribe. The Historic City of Meknes was inscribed as a World Heritage Site 1996, and is one of the World Heritage Sites of Morocco.
Meknes, together with Fez, Rabat and Marrakesh, is a significant historical monument and one of the four Imperial cities of Morocco.
Meknes is Morocco’s third imperial city. This old city dates back to the 11th century,founded by the Almoravids as a military settlement.
The city reached its golden age in the 17th century. Meknes became a capital of Sultan Moulay Ismail empire when he ruled it (1672-1727). Sultan Moulay Ismail is the founder of the Alawite dynasty. In 1728 the capital was moved to Marrakesh.
Sultan Moulay Ismail redesigned the city into an impressive city (in Hispano-Moorish style. He built a large prison under the old city to jail the Christian sailors that he captured at sea. In addition, he also built new structures, with great monumental six gates and doors such as Bab El Berdaine, Bab El Khémis, Bab El Mansour (its columns were looted from the Volubilis archaeological site ) and Bab Jemaâ En Nouar. Over 80 monuments are enlisted including mosques such as Sidi Saïd mosque, (Meknes was known as the City of a Hundred Minarets), gardens, many medersas (Islamic schools) , kasbahs, hammams and fondouks. As well as great monuments like the Royal Palace (Dar El Makhzen), the Moulay Ismail Mausoleum and the Kouba El Khayatine. Surrounded by 2,5 kilometers of ramparts. This impressive city of the 17th-century Maghreb in the Spanish-Moorish style with it’s harmonious blending of
the Islamic and European styles are still evident today. Not far from Meknes, the ancient town of Moulay Idris, and the Roman city the Archaeological Site of Volubilis , one of the World Heritage Sites of Morocco, is an unforgettable treat for the tourist.