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Out of the four imperial cities, Meknes is the most modest but nevertheless still packs a punch with its history, grand buildings and winding narrow streets in the medina, but manages to remain laid-back and hassle free. Often overshadowed by the capital Rabat, Fez with its famous medina and tanneries, and the trendy tourist hub Marrakesh, we feel that Meknes is a bit of gem that is worth exploring properly with an overnight stay, if your itinerary allows it. It is also a great base for discovering the nearby Roman ruins of Volubilis and the charming hilltop town of Moulay Idriss (a great lunch stop).

Surrounded by rich plains, Meknes is blessed with land abundant in olives, grapes (perfect for wine tasting!), citrus fruit and other agricultural products that are vital to the city’s economy. The Oued Bou Fekrane valley divides the city into the old medina (west) and the French-built Ville Nouvelle (east). The imperial city, Jewish quarters (Mellah) and Sultan Moulay Ismail’s tomb (the architect of Meknes’ glory days) are in the south.

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