• Registration Year


  • Registered Sector

    Historic City of Meknes

  • Historical Function


  • Administrative Status

    Provincial county town.

Location and site

Meknes, which is dominated by the Zerhoum jebel, was set up in the northern part of the country on the fertile plain of Saïs about 60 km from Fez. The city is located at the junction of the roads linking Rabat to Oujda, east to west, and Tanger to the Tafilalet oases, north to south.

Urban Morphology

The old city includes the medina and the imperial city partly built on the site of the medina and that of the former merinide casbah. The massive high walls with their complex layout surround these two urban components and contain several monumental doors, the best-known being the Bab Mansour, which gives access to the imperial city. Wide gardens spread out between the successive fortified walls. The street network, which is irregular in the medina, is far more orderly in the spacious imperial city.

Many monuments go back to the reign of the sultan Moulay Ismaïl (17th century). Minarets with their small decorative arcades dominate this landscape rich in religious foundations. Plaster, sculpted wood and wrought iron emphasize unity. The imperial city itself has a Spanish Moorish style while other monuments and vestiges, like the arcades of the Almoravids’ fountain as well as the mosques, the library and the Merinides’ fountain, reflect previous historical periods.

Registration Criteria

(iv) to be completed.

Historical Reference

  • Founded by the Almoravid dynasty (1053-1147) on the site of former villages, Meknes was fortified in 1069 and integrated into the network of fortresses of the new empire. The en-Najjarines mosque (restored in 1756) and the firearms souk (which no longer exists) were built in the city and high walls were erected.
  • The Almohades (1147-1269), a new Berber dynasty, took Meknes in 1147. The city was provided with various monuments and facilities such as mosques, fountains, hammams and the ablutions place. The water from the Tagma spring, captured at the time, would supply the city for six more centuries.
  • After a series of fights, the Almohaves were dethroned by the Merinides (1269-1374). The urban development that followed caused the arrival of Andalusian refugees. Many religious, educational and social public buildings were erected.
  • Under the Alaouite dynasty (in power since the 17th century), the sultan Moulay Ismaïl (1672-1727) turned Meknes into an imperial capital and gave new glamour to the Moroccan civilization. An imperial city including the big palace (Dar-el Kebira), mosques, a military school as well as silos, stables, basins and gardens was created. The palace, the imperial city and the medina were shut in by imposing high walls. After the sultan died, Meknes declined.
M. Mohamed Bourhim
Président de la Communauté urbaine de Meknès
Mairie de Meknès
Communauté urbaine
Meknès, Maroc
BP 585