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Meknes

Quieter and smaller than its grand neighbour Fez, Meknes feels rather overshadowed and receives fewer visitors than it should. It’s more laid-back with less hassle, yet still has all the winding narrow medina streets and grand buildings that it warrants as an imperial city and one-time home of the Moroccan sultanate.

Sultan Moulay Ismail, the architect of Meknes’ glory days, might be a little disgruntled at the city’s current modesty, but visitors will find much to be enchanted by. Remnants of no less than three sets of fortifications, ingeniously incorporated into the city's road networks, make it clear how important this city once was. The king's tomb sits at the heart of what remains of the original imperial city, flanked by an almighty royal granary, the magnificent Bab El Mansour – the likes of which even Fez can't compete with – and Place El Hedim, a local mini-me of Marrakesh's popular square Djemaa El Fna.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Meknes.