Red walls, Moorish architecture, and historical museums are arguably the best way to describe the imperial city of Meknes. Its lush valleys and blissful winds provide the city its unique charm. Getting immersed in its maze of alleys and mysterious ruins is the best way to know Meknes.
The city's amazing culinary scene also causes it to be a hub for tourists worldwide, thanks to its fresh Moroccan dishes. Listed here are the 8 top-rated activities to savor in Meknes.
8 Admire The Mausoleum Of Moulay Ismail
The sacred mausoleum features a spectacular interior with decorated backyards that lead to the sanctuary where the locals buried the Sultan. To most visitors' delight, the Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail is one of the few religious sites where non-Muslims are allowed. Although only Muslims are permitted into the actual tomb, the shrine is visible in the anteroom with its eye-catching plasterwork and zellij mosaics.
- Location: At the Centre of Meknes Old Town
- Cost: Free
- Recommendation: Modest dressing is suggested as it is a religious site
7 Discover The Mysterious Habs Qara
Although rumors vary as to the duration of its use, The Habs Qara is believed to become an underground prison built for over 6,000 slaves. A majority of the slaves were political dissidents and Christian prisoners of war who also helped construct the underground quarters. Visitors are certain to get goosebumps as they descend the eerie steps to underground chambers. Habs Qara prison is one of the most interesting places in Meknes.
- Location: Ismaili Qasba, Meknes
- Cost: $1 or 10 Dirhams
- Recommendation: Tailor's Pavillion, Bab Filala, and also the Royal Stables
6 Take Pictures At The Bab El-Mansour Gateway
Built in the 18th century as a tribute to Sultan Moulay's rule, travelers always pause and marvel at this famous monument rich in a cocktail of architectural designs and patterns. 16 meters high and 8 meters wide, the gate is adorned with green and white zellij tiles. The gate also has three keyhole-looking arches and columns considered looted from Volubilis and El Badi Palace
- Location: Walls of Medina, El Hedim Square
- Cost: Free
- Recommendations: Shop for souvenirs at El Hedim Square
5 Tour Around Town In A Majestic Caleche
For tourists who share Sultan Moulay's love for horses, an excursion in a horse-drawn carriage is the greatest way to have a memorable experience in Meknes. Referred to as Caleche by the locals, horse-drawn carriages act as an excellent option to the traditional taxi rides on the street. Because of the fabulous curtains and awnings, all of the carriages seem like they're completely from a story book. This fabulous work of art makes it perfect for an intimate experience.
- Location/Route: Through Medina City Gates and across famous landmarks
- Cost: $10 or 100 Dirhams each hour
- Recommendation: Take an evening group tour for a refined experience
4 Marvel At The Great thing about The Dar Jamai Museum
Also known as the Museum of Moroccan art, the museum was previously a Century historic palace and residence of the Jamai Family until 1920. Inside, the Andalusia-style pavilion radiates an enchanting ambiance. The museum's richness in culture is a haven for history lovers eager to learn about Morocco's past cultures, language, and architecture. Expect to be amazed by the museum's display of artifacts like cooking utensils, carpets, clothes, and carvings owned by Sultan Moulay Ismail.
- Location: Place El Hedime
- Cost: Free entry, $14 an evening in nearby hotels
- Recommendation: Dar Meknes Tresor, Riad Safir, and Riad Yacout
3 Sample Moroccan Dishes In Restaurants
Foodies love to explore what every city provides, and Meknes doesn't fall short when it comes to cuisine. Local restaurants offer tantalizing meals like tangine, pastille, and couscous which make visitors' mouths begin to water before there is a seat. For any world-class dining experience, the Bistrot Art & Le Wine bar provides a comprehensive menu of French dishes and floor-to-ceiling windows that provide tourists a splendid view of the gorgeous Meknes.
- Location: Rue Haroun Errachid, Marrakech
- Hours open: 12 P.M. to at least one A.M
- Recommended: Bistrot Art & Le Wine Bar
Year after year, tourists flock to this well-preserved archeological site north of Meknes. Volubilis is littered with private houses containing preserved mosaic floors and historical treasures such as the Decumanus Maximus or the Triumphal Arch of Caracalla. While walking through the ruins, it's impossible to think the Roman City has been up and strong for around 24 centuries.
- Location: Fes-Meknes
- Cost: $12 or 120 Dirhams
- Recommendation: Book a trip in the mornings or evenings to avoid the blistering heat of the area
1 Quench Your Curiosity In the Royal Stables
Located a bit far from the town center, the ruins of the Royal Stables are worth the visit. As the name suggests, the area housed over 12,000 horses, much to the taste of Sultan Moulay Ismail, who was fond of horses. The city was built to rival Versailles in architecture, making its vastness in structure almost impossible to understand. The now-ruined stables function as a beautiful granary for fodder and grains.
- Location: Near Agdal Basin, Meknes
- Cost: 70 Dirhams, local cash only
- Recommendation: Ibin Meknes Hotel, Riyad Yacout, and Riad Mama H & K