Meknes

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Meknes (مكناس) is a city in the Middle Atlas region of Morocco.

33.894171 -5.549144
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Cities

  • Metropolis over 100 hotels
  • Big city 50-100 hotels
  • Medium city 20-50 hotels
  • Small city 5-20 hotels
  • Village below 5 hotels

Points of Interest

  • Beach Beach
  • Business object Business object
  • Casino Casino
  • Civic property Civic property
  • Education Education
  • Entertainment Entertainment
  • Golf course Golf course
  • Green space Green space
  • Harbor Harbor
  • Historic site Historic site
  • Interesting place Interesting place
  • Medical Medical
  • Monument Monument
  • Museum Museum
  • Shopping Shopping
  • Skiing Skiing
  • Sports facility Sports facility
  • Theater Theater
  • Winery Winery

Points of Interest in Meknes

  • Bab Mansour: Bab means "gate" or "door" in Arabic, and Bab Mansour is the largest and most striking of Meknes' many gates (27 gates). It's directly across from Place Hedim, the medina's main square. The gate is nowadays used for art exhibitions.
  • Place Hedim: Recently redone with new brickwork, this square once rivaled Djemaa el Fna in Marrakech but is now significantly less exciting (though there are a few nice cafes and snack spots in which to people-watch).
  • Heri es-Souani: You can catch a glimpse of the grandeur of Moulay Ismail at these enormous granaries and horse stables, and sit beside the large Agdal Basin.
  • Meknes Royal Golf Course: The former palace gardens, now converted into a golf course. This place is absolutely marvelous. The gardens are beautifully kept and it is entirely surrounded by palace walls. They have opened it to the public since September 2007 so now it's possible to slip in to have a peek. There is also a public cafe on the grounds. It's possible to eat on the terrace overlooking the course but you need to book in advance.
  • Medersa Bou Inania: A beautiful Qur'anic school; you can explore all floors including the roof.
  • Dar Jamai: Now a museum (Musèe Dar Jamai in French), this old palace is located at the back of Place Hedim. It now houses the Museum of Moroccan Arts, which is currently exhibiting artifacts, jewels, and old copies of the Qur'an. Dar Jamai is a gorgeous museum with exqusite gardens on the outside. Closed on Tuesdays.
  • Habs Qara: A huge underground prison where Moulay Ismail allegedly kept prisoners.
  • Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail: Although non-Muslims are not permitted to enter, they can view the tombs, which hold the body of Moulay Ismail and other relatives, from the entrance.
  • Al masjid AlAdam: Meknes' largest and oldest standing mosque (note: Non-Muslims are not permitted entry).
  • Medina of Meknes Mosque: A mosque that is built near a Qur'an school, which was built in 1350.

Bab el-Mansour

Dar Jamai Museum

Bou Inania Medersa

Great Mosque

Kobt Souk

Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail

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About Meknes

Background

Fez driving you nuts? Nearby Meknes is a vibrant, modern city bustling with nightlife, restaurants and an impressive imperial city created in the 17th century by King Moulay Ismaïl, with numerous historical monuments and natural sites; it is also the nearest city to the Roman ruins of Volubilis (Oualili). Since it's relatively ignored by most tourists, it's also free of the usual hassles (touts, faux guides, etc.) that plague the other tourist centers. The prices in Meknes are among the most reasonable in Morocco and the people are much more polite and nicer than in the other cities.

Activities

  • Savor Morocco Cooking School, 27 Quartiere Berrada (across the valley from McDonalds),  0663.13.16.45. 9AM-7PM. With your own hands, you will prepare several dishes with the aid of our national teacher. 450 MAD per person.

Food

Ville Nouvelle

There are dozens of restaurants and snack bars lining the main road, Rue Antsirape offering the staples of harira, tagine, cous cous and of course rotisserie chicken. A few restaurants on Rue Ghana, just off Rue Antsirabi, are popular with travellers and offer Dh 40 set menus.

  • Le Pub, Avenue Allal Ben Abdellah. Open daily until midnight. Excellent, if slightly experimental, takes on French cuisine. Reliable pizza and alcohol license. 50dh-120dh.
  • Athenos, Avenue Mohammed V. Open for lunch only. Delicious Moroccan staples, such as tajine, as well as fabulous desserts. 25dh-70dh.
  • Mo Di Niro, Rue Antsirabé. Open daily until midnight. Popular with Meknassi teenagers, this restaurant serves good American-style burgers, pizza and pasta dishes. 20-100dh.
  • La Fine Bouche, Avenue Allal Ben Abdellah. Open daily until 10:00. Translating as "The good mouth," this hole-in-the-wall serves up delicious chawarma and other specialties. 15-50dh.
  • Ibis Hotel. Open daily until midnight. This chain hotel has a decent French-inspired menu, but the real draw is that they serve alcohol. 50-150dh.
  • Label' Gallery. Restaurants vary; some open past midnight. The closest thing Meknes has to a shopping mall, this food court is the only place to find international cuisine, with Mexican, American, Thai, and Lebanese all on the menu. Prices vary greatly.
  • Restaurant Marhaba: the most popular Meknassi restaurant, offers local menu of Ma'aqouda and Harira.

Medina

  • Les Colliers de Colombe, 67 Rue Driba (Follow the signs; it's located behind Place Lalla Aouda near the medina). Open daily. Delicious Moroccan staples, including the must-try pastilla. Prices vary (Most dishes are over 100dh).
  • The market near the main place in the medina (at the Bab El-Mansur) has incredible fresh products. Lots of different kinds of olives, sweets, pickles, etc.

Drinks

Those looking to find a watering hole in Meknes have come to the right place - in Morocco, anyway. For some strange reason, Meknes seems to have more bars than people. Only a few are suitable for the average traveler, however.

  • Le Pub, Avenue Allal Ben Abdellah. Open daily until midnight. One of the only places in Meknes where women will feel comfortable finding a drink, this lively pub has two floors; the bottom is where the music and "scene" happens. 15-45dh bottle beers only, 50dh cocktails (Try the local wines; Guerrouane and Amazir are particularly tasty. Shisha (hookah tobacco) costs 50dh).
  • Novelty, Top of Rue de Paris. Open daily until midnight. This recently renovated pub is rumored to be owned by Italians, which would explain the lovely wood decor. It's also the only place in Meknes to drink draught beer. 15dh-45dh draft/bottle beers, 50dh cocktails (Wine is served by the bottle only).
  • Hotel Zaki. See restaurant listing. Open late. The only place to drink outdoors in Meknes - 'nuff said. 17dh-50dh, 50dh-100dh cocktails.

Shopping

Meknes isn't a shopper's paradise, but it's certainly cheaper than nearby Fez! The medina is chock full of traditional Moroccan clothing and rugs, as well as the popular Moroccan shoe, bilgha.. it's also known for it's iron made articles; the local artisanal speciality. The best way to enter the medina is at the back of Place Hedim, next to Dar Jamai. Herein you can find many shops catering to tourists. If you sojourn a bit deeper into the medina, you'll find plenty of unique shops selling jewelry, household goods, and other treasures.

Be sure to bargain! Don't accept the shopkeeper's first offer - not only does it ruin it for tourists who come after you, but it also goes against Moroccan custom. The easiest way to bargain, particularly without knowledge of French or Arabic, is to offer exactly half of the given price (or 75% for expensive or large-scale items). From there, the shopkeeper will go down a bit; you are expected to raise your price slowly until you come to an agreement.

If you can't agree on a price, try walking out of the store - this will generally lower the price significantly. And try not to be too stingy - the value of an item is your appreciation of it, not its ticket price.

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Meknes on Wikivoyage.

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