We come to the Imperial City of Meknes, the capital of Morocco under the reign of Moulay Ismail (1672-1727), to see Le Greniers de Moulay Ismail. To enter the city you drive through four thick ramparts and huge thick gateways. Mousy Ismail built 25 km of protective walls for his city within a city and the enormous granaries were constructed to store food for his 12,000 horses. They were ingeniously designed with tiny windows, massive walls and a system of underflow water channels keeping the temperatures cool and air circulating; a fresh water canal provided a constant water supply for the horses. Some of the vaults have been restored but most are in ruin.
Also of note in Meknes, overlooking El-Hedim Square is Dar Jamaï, a palace built in 1882 by the powerful Jamaï family, two of whom were viziers to Sultan Moulay al-Hassan I. The palace now houses a museum of traditional ceramics, jewelry, textiles and cedar-wood craft dating from the 14th century, we didn’t go in but did stroll through the square.
The Archeological Site of Volubilis was recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1997 and even though this wonderful site has been looted for granite and marble to build structures in the nearby towns of Moulay Idris and Meknes, the remaining structures and mosaics tell the tale of a city that once thrived and are beautifully preserved relics of the Roman era. A beautiful landscape and a fertile farming area surround the setting.
Upon returning to our riad, we’ll regroup for a stroll down Hassan II Avenue, a palm-lined boulevard in the French-influenced Ville Nouvelle district. Your Trip Leader will be happy to provide you with recommendations as you seek out dinner on your own.