May 21, 2019: Meknes: Versailles of Morocco

 

Located 70 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, Meknes, Morocco is one of four imperial cities along with Rabat, Fez and Marrakesh. When Moulay Ismail ruled in the late 17th century, he built palaces and mosques that earned Meknes the moniker “Versailles of Morocco.”

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The original city wall surrounds the old quarter and has 27 gates including Bab Mansour, the largest and most striking of the gates. It is located directly across from Place Hedim, the medina's main square.

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You can better understand this grandeur by visiting the Moulay Ismail granaries build to store food and grain for up to 20 years. Next to the granaries are the palace stables which housed 12,000 horses. Each horse had its own groom and a slave who made sure that all of its needs were met and that the stable was kept clean.

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Make sure and take time to explore Place Hedim and the adjacent spice market for a chance to talk with local merchants.

My visit to Meknes was part of the Exodus Travels Highlights of Morocco - Premium tour.

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