Clockwise from top: Bab Mansour, Bab El Khemis, Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail, Imperial Royal Stables, Volubilis ruins
The Ismaïlian Capital
The médina with 100 minarets.
|o Mayor||Abdellah Bouanou|
|o Prefect||Abdelghani Sebbar|
|o Total||370 km2 (140 sq mi)|
|Elevation||546 m (1,792 ft)|
|o Rank||6th in Morocco|
|o Density||1,700/km2 (4,400/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|o Summer (DST)||WEST (UTC+01:00)|
Meknes (Arabic: , romanized: M?knas; Berber languages: , romanized: Amknas; French: Meknès) is one of the four Imperial cities of Morocco, located in northern central Morocco and the sixth largest city by population in the kingdom. Founded in the 11th century by the Almoravids as a military settlement, Meknes became capital of Morocco under the reign of Sultan Moulay Ismaïl (1672-1727), son of the founder of the Alaouite dynasty. Moulay Ismaïl turned Meknes into an 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. The city recorded a population of 632,079 in the 2014 Moroccan census. It is the seat of Meknès Prefecture and an important economic pole in the region of Fès-Meknès.
|UNESCO World Heritage Site|
|Inscription||1996 (20th Session)|
The Almoravids founded a fortress in Meknes during the 11th century. It resisted the Almohads rise, and was thus destroyed by them, only to be rebuilt in a larger size with mosques and large fortifications. Under the Merinids it received further madrasas, kasbahs and mosques in the early 14th century, and continued to thrive under the Wattasid dynasty. Meknes saw its golden age as the imperial capital of Moulay Ismail following his accession to the Sultanate of Morocco (1672-1727).
Meknes is located in a strategic position in the heart of Morocco. To its south and south-east are the rich cedar forests and mountains of the Middle Atlas mountains with the cities Ifrane and Azrou; and more to the south are the rich oases of Tafilalt. To the west are the two largest metropolitan areas of Morocco: Casablanca and Rabat. To the north is the mountainous north of Morocco with the cities of Tangier and Tétouan. Oujda and Fes lie east of Meknes.
Meknes has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csa) with continental influences. Its climate is similar to some areas of southern Spain and inland southern Portugal. The temperatures shifts from cool in winter to hot days in the summer months of June-September. Afternoon temperatures generally rise 10-14C above the low on most days. The winter highs typically reach only 15.5 °C (59.9 °F) in December-January, whereas night temperatures average 5 °C (41 °F). (see weather-table below).
It rarely snows in Meknes.
|Climate data for Meknes (1961-1990, extremes 1919-1993)|
|Record high °C (°F)||26.9
|Average high °C (°F)||15.3
|Daily mean °C (°F)||10.2
|Average low °C (°F)||5.2
|Record low °C (°F)||-4.2
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||89.4
|Average precipitation days||10.5||10.1||9.9||10.3||7.3||3.5||0.9||1.4||3.4||7.6||9.8||9.6||84.3|
|Average relative humidity (%)||75||78||76||75||72||68||57||57||62||70||72||77||70|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||174.3||176.2||226.6||236.9||283.4||305.5||347.8||328.4||264.4||227.7||176.5||165.8||2,913.5|
|Source #1: NOAA|
|Source #2: Deutscher Wetterdienst (extremes and humidity)|
The following map depicts some of the monuments in the old Medina and a general view over the old and new parts of Meknes.
The ruins of the Roman town of Volubilis (Oualili) are about half an hour to the north.
Some of the historic mosques in Meknes include:
Néjjarine Mosque built in the 11th century by Almoravids, located in the old city(médina). Actually the mosque is closed due to some maintenance work.
The Grand Mosque built on a surface of more than 2,700 square meters, founded in the 11th century by the Almoravids. It has 11 gates and 143 arcades, a very old and historic library was established by the Marinids that actually still opens for readers. The Grand Mosque is situated in front of the Madrasa Bou Inania.
This is a very old mosque, built during the reign of Sultan Moulay Ismaïl in the 17th century.
This tower was built in the 17th century as a part of the Ismailian walls built by Sultan Moulay Ismaïl. Since 2003 this tower holds the museum of pottery.
The Museum houses pottery collections of the Rif and the anterior Rif regions arranged in both chronological and thematic groupings and the fabrication procedures of Rif pottery from the prehistoric period to the present.
The visit starts on the right of the entrance with archaeological ceramic finds in order to better appreciate the current pottery in the museum. It finishes with a reconstruction of a pottery workshop.
The permanent collection is composed of pre historic, vintage and Islamic pottery, and of pottery from different geographical zones of Morocco.
The first section presents the history of the ceramics of the Rif and the pre-Rif periods distributed in three halls. The visitor has the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the characteristics of prehistoric ceramics, through the observation of several shapes, modelled or crafted and enriched with decoration.
A second hall displays the pottery of ceramics that date back to the pre-Islamic period, and a third hall houses Islamic ceramics, especially green ceramics.
As for the second section, it is entirely devoted to the current and old workshops of pottery.the pottery and ceramic pottery comes from five regions (Zerhoun and Meknes, Oued Laou, Ouazzane and Sless, Kariat Ba Mohamed and Tsoul), are displayed.
Meknes is an economic centre in Morocco with various products from three sectors (agriculture, industry and services), which makes the city economically competitive and attractive for investment.
Meknes is considered to be the capital of agriculture in Morocco. And the Saïss plain is one of the most fertile and rich plains in Morocco and Meknes is the centre of this plain. 
Each year Meknes holds the International Agriculture Show in Morocco(French: Salon International de l'Agriculture au Maroc) since April 2006. This agriculture show has an area of more than 250000 square meters, with more than 60 countries participating, and more than 1200 exhibitors. The lands around Meknes area are known to be fertile and productive. The high elevation, fertility and the fresh water of those lands favor the cultivation of fruits and vegetables, most notably: peaches, nectarines, prunes, apples, potatoes, onions and garlic. Meknes is also known for its olives and olive oil. Livestock raising, particularly sheep and cattle, is widespread. Meknes has large industrial units for milk and dairy production that fulfill the most of the needs of the region.
Industry in Meknes is of light type, most of it is related to food processing especially in the Commune of Mejjat, and chemical and para-chemical industry in other industrial zones like the Agropolis industrial and agribusiness zone. Add to those the textile and metallic manufacturing which are old industries in the city. The year 2016 marks a new era of new industry in the city of Meknes, it includes electrical wire, embedded systems, and automotive parts production companies.
Agropolis is Morocco's first competitive. cluster dedicated to agribusiness. Its unique geographical location in central Morocco, together with its agricultural potential, makes it an attractive, rapidly developing platform. Agropolis welcomes investors in a first-class environment offering infrastructure that meets international norms as well as a wide range of real estate services, notably equipped plots of land and delegated management possibilities at competitive rates. Meknes Agropolis is the ideal ecosystem to implement a project focused on agribusiness, logistical activities and marketing, packaging units, tertiary activities, training and R&D.
The first phase of the project has a land surface of 130 ha. The Agropolis Zone is 12 km from Meknes and 2.5 hours drive from Casablanca. Casablanca Port is 246 km far from Agropolis and Tanger-Med Port is 382 km away.
Most of the services products in Meknes are related to Tourism due to the history of the old city district -Meknes Médina-. Of Morocco's four Imperial Cities, Meknes is possibly the least well-known - not as large as Rabat, as fashionable as Marrakech, or as famous as Fez - and you might say that this is to its advantage as you will find this historic place quieter and more laid back than its sister cities. It is an enchanting place to visit, with winding narrow streets, a classic medina and grand buildings that hail back to its time as the capital of Morocco. Nearby are the Roman ruins of Volubis and the tomb of Moulay Idriss - two of the most important historical sites in the kingdom. But Meknes is also a modern, lively city with a vibrant nightlife, plenty of bars and a welcoming attitude towards visitors.
The geographical location of the city of Meknes makes it one of the important transport hubs in Morocco. The city is accessed via the A2 expressway with two exits, one to the east of the city and another to the west.
Two train stations are located in the new city district (French: Ville Nouvelle) of Meknes, with trains each hour to the east, west, and north of Morocco. Operated by ONCF, the following table lists destinations reachable via Meknes railway stations (round-trips):
|West||Fez - Meknes - Kenitra - Rabat - Casa Voyageurs||Every 2 hours|
|West and South West||Fez - Meknes - Sidi Kacem - Sidi Slimane - Kenitra - Salé - Rabat - Mohammedia - Casa Ain-Sebaa - Casa Voyageurs - Casa Oasis - Berrechid - Settat - Ben Guerir - Marrakesh||Every 2 hours|
|North||Fez - Meknes - Sidi Kacem - Ksar el-Kebir - Tangier - Ksar es-Seghir||6 trains a day|
|East||Casa Voyageurs - Casa Ain-Sebaa - Mohammedia - Rabat - Salé - Kenitra - Sidi Slimane - Sidi Kacem - Meknes - Fez - Taza - Guercif - Taourirt - Oujda||Two trains a day|
|West||Meknes - Sidi Kacem - Sidi Slimane - Kenitra - Salé - Rabat - Mohammedia - Casa Ain-Sebaa - Casa Port||3 trains every Sunday PM|
As mentioned above, Meknes city has two train stations, and their names are: Meknes Railway Station (French: Gare de Meknès) and Meknes Amir Abdul Qadir Railway Station (French: Gare de Meknès Amir Abdelkader). All the mentioned trains cited in the previous table stop by the former station; and except the first row of the table, all the remaining trains stop by the latter station.
Otherwise, Mohammed V Airport in Casablanca, with more international flights and destinations, is conveniently accessible by train.
Public transport in Meknes is managed by the urban commune and it consists of:
In addition to Moulay Ismail University, numerous private institutes for higher education exist in Meknes.
Meknes is twinned with: