GLOBAL MOROCCO EXPLORATION SHORT TOURS - MEKNES
Meknes the Magnificent Imperial city
Meknes is one of the greatest imperial cities of Morocco. Its beauty is equaled by its glorious history. Mouly Ismail’s city is blessed by its stunning nature and geographical location branded with astonishing variety. Meknes offers a breath taking national contrasts due it unique location between the Atlantic plains and the highlands of the Oriental region from one hand, from the other the North Middle Atlas and the foothills of the Rif Mountains. Meknes imperial city’s Medina is listed as a world heritage. A stay in a Riad in the medina is a remarkable experience, leaving memories of historical grandeur, good living, and true genuineness.
Meknes is a masterpiece of architectural glory. With its impressive ramparts, glorious palaces, mosques, Kasbahs, museums, madrasas, luxurious garden and gleaming pool, it will always fascinate those interested in its majestic history.
Due to its fertile soil, Meknes region is renowned for its fine wineries and olive grove among others. it is also a land of mountains and mineral springs, of forests of cedar trees and green oaks. Venture out in discovery of Meknes and its many riches is an escapade whisking you away to other worlds and other times.
Transfer from Fes, Chefchaouen or any city of your choice. Check in your Riad and after refreshment, start your journey exploring Meknes rich history.
Visit the magnificent gateway of Bab el-Mansour the main gate between Meknes' Medina and Imperial City districts. Bab el-Mansour is an enormous and highly picturesque edifice with intricate architectural style of zellige tiling and carving work. It is one of North Africa's best examples of persisting gateways. Continue to Place Hedim the main square in the old part of the city.
The Bab Mansour gate faces onto Place Hedim, the main square in the old part of the city. Place Hedim is much smaller than Marrakech’s Jemaa el Fna square and also much less interesting. However, there will likely be a few people selling things, charming snakes and running games
Visit the Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail that is home to the tomb of Sultan Moulay Ismail, who made Meknes his imperial capital in the 17th century. The interiors are truly incredible. It shows the glorious exuberance of Moroccan religious ornament. The actual mosque is not open to non-Muslims, but you can enter the outer parts of the complex and enter the tomb hall itself, with its magnificent decorated interior.
Continue to Meknes Medina (Old Town) an exciting, busy place full of local products. For enthusiastic shoppers Souk Nejarine offers plenty of textile shops. Souk Sebbat is also home to many traditional Moroccan craft shops as well as clothing and Morocco's famous slippers.
The 12th-century Grand Mosque, with its distinctive green-tiled roof, sits right in the medina's center. The medina is still enclosed by its glorious walls built during the reign of Sultan Moulay Ismail.
Visit also The Imperial City area that has plenty of interesting old ruins to explore, most dating from the reign of Sultan Moulay Ismail. The Koubat Al Khayatine is the city's old ambassador building and today, part of the building is open to the public, with a small photography exhibit on Meknes.
Visit the museum The Dar Jamai built in 1882 as the residence of the famous Jamai family and was converted into the Museum of Moroccan Art in 1920. The museum holds the rich traditional decoration of painted wood and sculpted plaster that were popular interior design of the 19th-century Moroccan higher-classes. The museum is dedicated to arts and crafts of the region.
Continue your visit to Bou Inania Medersa that was founded in the 14th century. It is located within the loops of Meknes' souk streets. The Madrasa is still gorgeously preserved with much of its rich zellige tile decoration. The rooftop of the Madrassa has excellent views across the whole Meknes Medina district and the Ville Nouvelle (new town).
Stop for lunch in the Nouvelle Ville of Meknes at a charming restaurant that offers Moroccan cuisine and a variety of local wines from the Meknes region.
Vendor a little bit out of the old town, past the Royal Gold Course (which is protected by a huge wall), and visit the Heri es-Souani granaries. The site is made up of two main areas. The first is the interior part which feels a bit like the Habs Qara prison except not as creepy. It was used to store huge amounts of grain . The exterior part of the complex also has rows of stone arches but it was used to as a royal stable to keep horses and other animals.
Visit Sahrij Souani , built by Moulay Ismail, is located in the imperial city, northwest of the granaries. It is a hydraulic structure that measures 148.75 m by 319 m and has a maximum depth of 1.20 m. The lake was constructed to guarantee the supply of water, in times of siege or drought, to the palaces and mosques of the town, as well as to the public baths, homes, gardens and the orchards that surrounded the town and provided for its daily fruit and vegetable requirements. After the tour go back to your Riad to be prepared for the following day adventure. B&B accommodation in nice Riad in the old medina
After your breakfast your driver will take you visit to Volubilis. Located in the foothills of the Zerhoun Massif, Volubilis takes its name from the Berber word Oualili, the name for the colorful flower of the convolvulus, a plant to be found in abundance in the region. Included on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1997, Volubilis is Morocco’s largest archaeological site, with a full 18 hectares open to the public. The site owes its fame to the countless mosaics that decorate its ancient dwellings including a basilica, temple and triumphal arch. Its prosperity, which was derived principally from olive growing, prompted the construction of many fine town-houses with large mosaic floors.
Volubilis is regarded as the ancient capital of the Roman-Berber kingdom of Mauretania. It developed from the 3rd century BC onward as a Berber and Phoenician-Carthaginian settlement before being the capital of the Berber kingdom of Mauretania.
Continue to Moulay Idriss, the oldest town in Morocco, founded by Moulay Idriss I in 789, having fled Mecca because of religious and tribal conflicts.
It is located at twenty kilometers north of Meknes, set on a rocky peak overlooking the Oued Erroumane Valley and the plain upon which the Ancient Romans built their city of Volubilis. This holy town holds a special place in the hearts of the Moroccan people. It was here that Moulay Idriss I arrived in 789, bringing with him the religion of Islam, and starting a new dynasty. In addition to founding the town named after him, he also initiated construction of Fez, continued later by his son, Moulay Idriss II.
Take your lunch in a local restaurant in Mouly Idriss and end your tour back to Meknes. overnight in a boutique Riad in Meknes Medina
Rise and have your breakfast for today’s excursion to further explore the fertile region of Meknes and taste specialties of this territory. It boasts extensive forest, pasture and farmland, Meknes has made the utmost of its terroir, whose products are sought after throughout the Kingdom and beyond. Renowned for its olive oil, wines and dates, and well as for horse breeding and trout farming, Meknes is a treasure house for tourists looking for something different in their travels.
visit the Hajeb town; cut in two by a line of cliffs that cross it from northeast to southwest, and from the top of which there are unrestricted panoramic views of the Saiss Plain. Troglodyte dwellings have been cut into the foot of the cliffs, in the oldest parts of the town near the covered market. There are numerous drinking-water springs in the region, some of which flow in the very heart of the town and in the midst of the pleasant public garden running up to the cliff. The region is also renowned for its caves. The entrance to one of them is clearly visible from the road and resembles the open mouth of a lion. The El Hajeb cliffs make a great setting for an invigorating ramble in the open air.
El Hajeb's economy is led by agriculture, with its nearby vineyard. Visit the vine estate to savor the specialty of the region at “Domaine Zaouia” where to have a tour around. This tour includes the discovery of a vineyard plot, the wine cellar and ends with a tasting of three wines from the estate.
Return to Meknes, B&B accommodation
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