Meknes, Meknes, Morocco, North Africa, Africa

Getty Images/Lonely Planet Images

Bab El Mansour

Top choice in Meknes

The focus of Place El Hedim is this huge gate, perhaps the grandest of all imperial Moroccan gateways. The gate is well preserved, if a bit dulled by soot, with intricate mosaic tilework and inscriptions across the top. It was completed by Moulay Ismail’s son, Moulay Abdallah, in 1732. You can't actually pass through, though the front door is sometimes open to host exhibitions. Otherwise, there's a little foot passage through the wall to the left of the gate.

The two white columns either side of the gate are marble, thought to have been originally installed at Volubilis (given their Italian source). Along the top of the gate, the Arabic inscription is a boasting poem in the voice of the gate itself, praising its own beauty and, by extension, the might of Moulay Abdallah.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions