Meknes, Meknes, Morocco, North Africa, Africa

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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

Nearby Meknes attractions

1. Musée de Meknès

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Housed in the peeling old tribunal building in the imperial city walls, this small museum is long overdue for a refresh, but while the larger Dar Jamaï…

2. Place El Hedim

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Cleared by Moulay Ismail so his populace could better admire Bab El Mansour, this square is the social heart of the medina, and it really livens up at…

3. Place Lalla Aouda

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South of Bab El Mansour lies this public garden and car park that's a popular place with local families in the evening – less raucous than Place El Hedim,…

4. Koubbat As Sufara

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Moulay Ismail's reception hall for foreign ambassadors is a lovely show of zellige (patterned tile) work. It's here that Unesco officially inscribed…

5. Dar Jamaï Museum

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On the north side of Place El Hedim, this museum was under renovation at last visit, with a possible reopening in 2020. Built in 1882 by the powerful…

6. Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail

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Closed since 2016 for a massive renovation, the final resting place of the sultan who made Meknes his capital in the 17th century is ordinarily a must-see…

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8. Lahboul Gardens

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