Explore Morocco’s imperial cities
Explore Morocco’s imperial cities: The Kingdom of Morocco has been in existence for several centuries, with several dynasties succeeding one another down the ages. The accession to power of a dynasty is a major event. Each of the heads of these dynasties sought to perpetuate his reign by building a city. Not only the seat of the dynasty, but also a symbol of the power and prosperity of the kingdom. Morocco’s four imperial cities (Fez, Marrakech, Rabat and Meknes) were thus born of a desire to magnify the Moroccan kingdom. Whether you’re on vacation in Morocco with your family, on your own or with friends, take advantage of your trip to immerse yourself in the discovery of each of Morocco’s imperial cities. Explore them at your own pace and immerse yourself in Morocco’s rich culture.
Fez, Morocco’s imperial citadel and spiritual capital:
The first of Morocco’s imperial cities was founded in the year 789. Its construction was the work of Sultan Idriss I (also known as Moulay Idriss). In a way, the construction of Fez marks the birth of the Kingdom of Morocco.
During your visit to the Queen of the Maghreb, you’ll discover the Fès medina. With almost 1100 alleyways, this medina is not only the largest in Morocco, but also the oldest. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You’ll also have the chance to wander through hundreds of years-old souks, which have managed to retain much of their old-world charm. You’ll also see handicrafts such as pottery, jewelry, ceramics, woodcarving, leatherwork and many other items from artisans brimming with talent and skill.
Exploring the imperial city of Fez also means discovering its palaces and religious buildings: the Dar Batha Palace, the Glaoui Palace, the Mnebh Palace, the Karaouiyne Mosque, the medersas (Bou Inania, Attarine, Seffarine) and, of course, the Royal Palace. Although some of these palaces are not open to the public, you’ll still be able to admire their facades.
Marrakech, Morocco’s imperial city and pearl of the south:
Explore Morocco’s imperial cities: After Fez, Marrakech became Morocco’s new imperial capital. Founded in 1071 by the Berber ruler Sanhadjiens almoravide Youssef ben Tachfine. The red city was the seat of the Almoravid, Almohad and Saadian dynasties.
Many of Marrakech’s remaining sites and monuments bear witness to the rich history of this former imperial capital. Indeed, during your stay in Marrakech, you’ll have the opportunity to visit the Saadian tombs. As the name suggests, these tombs house the graves of former Saadian kings. You can also visit the famous Bahia Palace, a masterpiece of Moroccan architecture.
Other places are also worth a visit. Like the Koutoubia mosque, with its 70-metre minaret. Jemaa El-Fna square, with its snake charmers, souks, labyrinthine medina streets and Majorelle garden, with its diversity of flora, cobalt-blue buildings and fountains.
Meknes, Morocco’s imperial city and city of 100 gates:
Meknes is the third imperial capital of the Moroccan kingdom. Was founded by the Almoravids in the 10th century. Meknes was founded by the Almoravids as a military settlement. It wasn’t until 1672 that the Alaouite sultan Moulay Ismaël decided to make it the kingdom’s capital. A great admirer of the French king Louis XIV, the Moroccan sovereign set about turning Meknes into the Moroccan Versailles.
While in the imperial city of Meknes, you can visit the last residence of Sultan Moulay Ismaël. Although access to the burial chamber is not possible, you can still admire the tomb’s splendid antechamber. Then continue your exploration of Meknes by discovering the city gates. The city boasts a number of gates: Bab Mansour Laalej, Bab Berdaïne, Bab el Khemis, Bab Er-Rih and others. This large number of gates has earned Meknes the nickname of the city of 100 gates. Each of these gates has its own story, which you’ll have the chance to discover once you’re here.
Rabat, Morocco’s imperial and administrative capital:
Explore Morocco’s imperial cities: Rabat is both the fourth imperial city of the Moroccan kingdom and its current administrative capital. A visit to Rabat is the final stop on your tour of Morocco’s imperial cities. Although inhabited since prehistoric times and a citadel since the 12th century, Rabat had to wait until the 20th century to become an imperial capital.
As well as offering a pleasant year-round climate, Rabat is open to the Atlantic Ocean, with a coastline of some sixty (60) kilometers, featuring rocky formations and fine sandy beaches where you can stroll to your heart’s content. The imperial city of Rabat is not to be outdone in terms of culture and history. While you’re there, you’ll visit the Kasbah through the 12th-century Ouyada Gate, then wander through the Andalusian Garden to the National Jewelry Museum.
If you appreciate fine jewelry, the Rue des Consuls offers a wide choice of items. Among others, jewelers and antique dealers will offer you some truly magnificent objects. Continue your exploration of Rabat by discovering the city’s monuments. These include the Hassan Tower, considered by many to be the symbol of Rabat. Opposite the tower is the Mohamed V mausoleum, a monument much appreciated by the people and considered by some to be the symbol of the nation’s liberation.