Koubbat As Sufara


Moulay Ismail's reception hall for foreign ambassadors is a lovely show of zellige (patterned tile) work. It's here that Unesco officially inscribed Meknes in the World Heritage Site registry in 1996. In front of the building, small windows provide light for a 40-hectare crypt below. Descend via stairs to the right of the reception hall; the entrance fee covers both.

The dark and slightly spooky network of rooms below ground was a mystery when discovered; historians now believe it was used for food storage. In the absence of anything much to see, tour guides often delight in recounting the erroneous but far more colourful fable that it was a dungeon for Moulay Ismail's slaves, and it's commonly labelled as a prison on maps.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Meknes attractions

1. Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail

0.09 MILES

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…

2. Bab El Mansour

0.13 MILES

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…

3. Place Lalla Aouda

0.15 MILES

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. Place El Hedim

0.16 MILES

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…

5. Musée de Meknès

0.17 MILES

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…

6. Dar Jamaï Museum

0.21 MILES

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…

7. Medersa Bou Inania

0.29 MILES

Opposite the Grande Mosquée, this religious school, completed in 1358, is typical of the exquisite Merinid interior design. Although it is not as lavish…

8. Lahboul Gardens

0.44 MILES

These gardens just outside the medina were being renovated on the last visit. When finished, they should be a tranquil place to stroll after a busy…