Meknes once yearned to have the reputation as the Versailles of Morocco and much of the monuments of today reflect the regality of its past. It used to be the capital city of Morocco during the early 19 th century and impressed many, including the artist Eugene Delacroix, whom painted exotic pieces reflecting Meknes’ elegance as well as raw and savage underbody. Now a days, the city has earned a reputation as a strong agriculture and trade base; it produces olives, wine, cereal crops and citrus. It is one of the four imperial cities in Morocco and with .5 million people, it is the 5 th largest in Morocco. Since it is not one of the most touristed places, it is also a nice gem to visit if one has an extra day in Morocco.

 

While the old city, called Medina, is not the biggest or grandest in Morocco, the royal palace of Moulay Ismail is impressive. In fact, this part of the city was named by UNESCO a World Heritage site in 1996 and the government has worked to preserve its features. Meknes also has a newer edge as well, seen in the Ville Nouvelle (which translates as “new town” in French), with its trendy and modern hotels and restaurants. Meknes has a certain calm about it that some of the other more bustling cities in Morocco lack.