Historic City of Meknes (1996)

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Founded in the 11th century by the Almoravids as a military settlement, Meknes became a capital under Sultan Moulay Ismaïl (1672–1727), the founder of the Alawite dynasty. The sultan turned it into a impressive city in Spanish-Moorish style, surrounded by high walls with great doors, where the harmonious blending of the Islamic and European styles of the 17th-century Maghreb are still evident today. 

French Morocco 1917. Bab el Mansour, Meknes. French Morocco 1949. Meknes Gardens. French Morocco 1949. Postal Administration Building of Meknes

Meknès is the capital of Meknès Province in northern Morocco, on a fertile plain north of the Middle Atlas, near Fès. A former residence of the sultan, the city is on a railroad that links it with the coast, and roads lead to nearby mountain resorts.  

The city, called the Moroccan Versailles, contains the sultan's palace and grounds and a large marketplace; it is surrounded by a triple tier of walls. The Roman ruins of Volubilis and the holy city of Moulay Idriss, founded in 788 AD, lie to the north. An Almohade citadel of the 11th century, Meknès served as capital of the country from 1675 to 1728. 

  • Bab el Mansour in Meknes, photographed by the webmaster in 1967. See also stamp above left. 

Bab el Mansour in Meknes, photographed by the webmaster in 1967.

In its justification for inscription the UNESCO states that it represents in an exceptionally complete and well preserved way the urban fabric and monumental buildings of a 17th century Maghreb capital city which combines elements of Islamic and European design and planning in a harmonious fashion.

Sources and links:

Other World Heritage Sites in Morocco (on this web site). Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, Morocco section, for further information about the individual properties. 

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Revised 20 jul 2006  
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