Meknes

Cultural

Mansour’s gate

The first thing you notice, before you enter Meknes, is its gates. Bab Mansour, in particular, is one that takes people’s breaths away. A giant gate decorated in ancient carvings that symbolised the exquisite talent of carvers then. The same style is used nowadays in luxurious settings, hotels, and riads.

If you’re visiting Meknes, expect to witness many huge gates that usually lead in and out of Medinas as well as older parts of the city. Since Meknes is embellished as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you’ll get the opportunity to discover many Moroccan treasures.

Moulay Ismail’s last important project was the Mansour Gate. Christian convert to Islam, and renowned Moroccan architecture, Mansour Laalej, was responsible for this gate. It was named after him. 

El Mansour was executed after the Sultan had asked him if he could’ve done a better job on the gate, to which Mansour replied with “Yes”. Given the conscientious soul he was, the Sultan felt that it was the right fit for someone who squanders the Sultan’s time, investment, and effort.

The Sultan’s royal stables

The Moulay Ismail Stables was the Sultan’s proudest possession. A massive stable yard that was constructed to please over 12,000 royal horses. The Sultan had great admiration for these animals - even more so than he did towards his fellow human beings. 

His horses were groomed and taken exceptional care of. Today, everyone can visit the stables, not just the caretakers. In addition, you won’t need the Sultans permission, instead, you’ll have to pay a 10dh fee.

Preservation, horses, and Christ

In order to store food and grain, Moulay Ismail had granaries built. These make for amazing monuments. The way these granaries are lined gives a sneak-peek into Moulay Ismail’s intentions and way of thinking.

The food was well-conserved during his reign. The attic has ten rooms with extremely thick walls. Fresh temperature is in effect and the food is preserved for longer periods of time.

Meknes has the largest stud farm in all of North Africa. Many movies were shot there due to the vast land and abundance of hay - to feed the 450 horses he owned. The movies “Jesus of Nazareth” and “The Last Temptation of Christ” were shot in these farms.

Jewish Heritage

Meknes The Imperial

The sixth-largest by population in Morocco, and one of its imperial cities. Meknes was founded by the Almoravids as a military settlement. Combining both Islamic and European styles, Meknes is now close to a whopping 1,000,000 in population. 

During Moulay Ismail’s reign, Meknes was the capital of Morocco, and it was turned into a wholly different city, thanks to its diversity in architecture and design.

El mellah

Jews from different ethnicities lived in Meknes. Spanish exiles and other Jews have been living near the mausoleum of Moulay Ismail and at different parts of Meknes. Moulay Ismail introduced us to great monuments and palaces. 

Jews were ordered by the Sultan to regroup in a new district that he sold them. At the end of the 19th-century, there were about 260 houses, providing a home to 1152 families. 

Although gleeful when it’s sunny, the old Mellah used to get disgusting and stinky when it rained. Mud formed and an unpleasant odour roamed the streets. The new Medina is different - as expected. Between 1926 and 1930, the new Mellah was built. The streets are wider with lesser houses and a better management system.

The old Mellah had 19 synagogues, and the new one has 17. Luxury and lavishness were not on their minds when they built theses synagogues. However, it does not lessen their distinct appeal. The Mellah quarters are still vital parts of Morocco’s culture, and they’re still architecturally breathtaking.

Wine

Meknes the imperial

Meknes, the Imperialically accommodating

An imperial city with a northern touch. Meknes was founded in the 11th-century. The Almoravids’ history is still roaming Meknes’ paths; given that they were the original founders, their history never wavered.

The Alaouite dynasty founder, Moulay Ismail, transformed Meknes into a new city. Spanish and Moorish styles were emphasised heavily, and that’s one of the many reasons that make Meknes appealing to foreigners. 

Nobody, least of all Moroccans, would have thought that the Islamic and European styles would go so well together. This blend has made Meknes a unique city, with a unique appeal.

June 2004, Marks Les Celliers De Meknes’ latest major achievement. The first Moroccan chateau was introduced. Les Celiers De Meknes are the owners of winemaking equipment. Their favoured trait happens to be the excellent mix of modernity and ‘good old traditions’

More than 605 of Morocco’s wine production is distilled in Meknes’ centre, and that was a more than convincing reason for Les Celliers De Meknes to settle within. 

Nestled within the foothills of the Atlas, Meknes makes for a perfect vineyard host. Its gleaming sunshine and mild temperature have turned the city into an accommodating host for winemakers. 

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