Historically, Meknes has been known as Versailles of Morocco, but the grand system for a royal palace was never accomplished. Today the city is a hub of productivity, producing olives, wine, cereal crops and citrus.
The palace in Meknes was erected throughout the regime of Sultan Moulay Ismail, who held the throne for 55 years from 1672 to 1727.
Among the most remarkable aspects of the imperial city was the El-Mansour grand gate which was fulfilled five years after the Sultan died in 1732. The design of the gate is dominated with Almohad patterns. The zellij mosaics are of excellent class while the columns made from marble were taken from the Roman ruins of Volubilis. The gate itself is now used as an arts and crafts gallery.
There are several royal palaces constructed, but the one which has outlasted the challenge of time is the Dar el-Makhzen which is still being used as a royal palace at present, even though the king rarely visits to Meknes.
Meknes boosts in beautiful decorations, both in wood as well as stucco. Details are elaborate, and reflect a number of Moroccan Islamic decorative patterns. Writings are engraved in many places like short religious invocations and about the history and purpose of the building.
The stone-lined lake of Agdal was both a reservoir and a recreation lake. It serviced by 25 kilometer long irrigation canals. The basin still functions as a local haven, and families still regularly visit the area for picnics.
The medina of Meknes is just dynamic and big enough to accommodate traditional type of shops and businesses. Meknes has large areas of covered markets known as qissariya,
The quality of work is generally better and prices of the products are among the more affordable. Visitors who love to collect souvenirs should consider getting them from Meknes, especially those who have good skills in bargaining.
Meknes is an attractive Imperial capital and a pleasant place to live in. In spite of its rich historic heritage, it has preserved the simplicity of its origins.
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