Visit Morocco

Bab Mansour

The Versailles of Morocco. This beautiful city, a mere 60 km from Fes, was capital of Morocco during the 17th century, under the reign of Moulay Ismail. He and his son Moulay Abdallah’s reigns were a golden age for Meknes, when the beauty of Meknes was talked about in many European courts, most notably Louis the XIV‘s. Meknes has numerous palaces, breathtaking mosques and madrassas behind its fortified walls, which feature numerous majestic entrances, including the world renowned Bab Mansour. Meknes’ beauty extends past its walls onto the outskirts where the Roman archeological site of Volubilis and the royal stables of Moulay Ismail can be visited. For tourists, Meknes has long been cast behind its big brother Fes’ long shadow, but conaisseurs know that Meknes is the better looking brother.

Click to enlarge:
Volubilis   Imperial gate     Overlooking the medina   Goats and sheep   Medina  



Bab Mansour

The fortress walls of Meknes feature many impressive entrances such as Bab Lakhmis and Bab Berdaine, but none are more majestic than Bab Mansour. Finished in 1732 under the reign of Moulay Abdallah, it was conceived by a Christian convert to Islam, hence its name Mansour, or The Converted.

Moulay Ismail Mausoleum

The final resting place of the Alaouite dynasty as well as other prominent members of Moroccan society at the time, this mausoleum is one of the architectural wonders of Meknes and one of the finest examples of Moroccan architecture, art and craft. The numerous rooms of this palacial structure are filled with detailed work on wood, brass and beautifully intricate and geometrically mesmerizing mosaics. It is one of the few mosques open to non-muslims (the Hassan II mosque in Casablanca is another, as is the Koutoubia in Marrakech).

El Badi Palace

After King Ahmed El Mansour's victory at the Battle of the Three Kings over Portugal in 1578, he wished to construct a palace even greater than in the fictional tale 1001 Nights. Historians of the time described it as one of the world's great wonders: 360 rooms, an immense courtyard with a large pool, the finest marble, wood and gold for the walls, floors and ceilings. A large part of the palace was torn down in the late 17th century and its precious raw materials were used by Moulay Ismail for his own palaces.



On the outskirts of the city are the ancient Roman ruins of Volubilis. Volubilis was a prosperous Roman outpost during the second and third centuries, thanks to its fruitful olive tree groves and its oil mills which have been remarkably well preserved.

Royal Stables, Dar el Ma and Heri es Souani

The royal stables, of extravagant proportions, used to house twelve thousand pure bred horses.The stable is an enormous room supported by hundreds of pillars. Next to the stable is the Heri es Souani storage facility, used to store food for the city’s inhabitants. Legend has it that Moulay Ismail, fearing a siege, stored twenty years worth of food for the city’s inhabitants. Dar el Ma, or House of Water, features deep wells, extending over 40 meters under the ground. A cafe on its terrace has the most spectacular view of the city.

Dar Jamai Museum

Built in the 19th century by the vizir Jamai, this residence is typical of the homes built by Morocco’s haute bourgeoisie at the time. Today it is a museum which displays some of the finest specimens of carpets, ceramics, embroidery, sculptures and jewels. But the museum which houses the collection steals the show; infinitely detailed, luxurious and extravagant, with a breathtaking Andalusian courtyard.


Copyright, Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco, 2008--Legal and Credits--Contact Us