The imperial city, Moroccan Versailles, was built as the Moroccan capital on a fertile plain north of the Middle Atlas, near Fez by Sultan Moulay Ismail, one of the first rulers of the Alawite dynasty that governed Morocco.
Moulay Ismail came to power in 1672 at age 26 and reigned for 55 years. When a French princess refused his hand in marriage , the young Sultan swore that he would build a palace that would rival Versailles in splendor. He pressed 50,000 workers into service building a series of palaces, mile after mile of walls, battlements and ramparts and a vast marketplace.
The imperial city was completed by Moulay Ismail's son Moulay Abdallah (1727-1757) and his grandson Sidi Mohamed ben Abdallah (1757-1790).
When, in the early 19th century, Meknes ceased to be an imperial capital, it became neglected. It was not until the reign of Moulay Hassan at the end of the century that Meknes was restored and revived.
Meknes is connected to the coastal cities by rail, while paved roads lead to mountain resorts. The surrounding region is fertile and the city produces many agricultural products including fruit, grain and vegetables, as well as metalwork, carpets, woolen fabrics and cement.
Bab Al Mansour
Dar Jamai Museum
Museum of Morrocan Arts
Boulevard Al Massira, Meknes, Morocco
00212 (0)5 35 51 41 47/48/49