Idea #427 – Exploring the city of Meknes in Morocco
Meknes was founded in 711 by the tribe amazighe Meknassas, which gave him his name. Almoravides makes uneplace serviceman in the XIth century. Almohades destroys the city, accused of rebellion, and rebuild her, building of new public buildings as the Big Mosque between 1199-1213, enclosing the set in powerful fortifications. At the beginning of the XIVth century, Mérinides seizes it and adds to it médersas, as Médersa Bou Anania whose construction begins with the beginning of the reign of Abû Hasan in 1331, kasbahs and mosques.
During the Wattasside period, the city prospers. Moulay Ismaïl, at the origin of the dynasty of the Alawi ones, declares the royal city and places the capital of his kingdom there. He assures the pacification of the country, having led a series of military expeditions against undefeated tribes, the Ottomans and Christians. And allows the city to prosper thanks to the activities of rançonnage, accumulating wealth pulled of the resale of the Christian sailors captured at sea and kept in an immense underground prison situated under the medina of Meknes, which we can even visit today. He builds buildings, gardens, triumph gates, gigantic bulwarks of more than forty kilometers in length, and numerous mosques adorned with beautiful minarets, which is worth in the city of Meknes the nickname of “The city in hundred minarets”.
During the French presence in Morocco from 1912 till 1956, Meknes carries other nicknames such as “Versailles of Morocco”, or “small Paris”, underlining the beauty of the city, what was worth him his title even more imperial city of the kingdom; it was a moment the seat of the residence of Marshal Lyautey which had its headquarters there. The city remains an example exceptionally well kept of urban fabric and monumental buildings of a capital of the XVIIth century in the Maghreb. The most popular district is the one of the former said medina “Mdina Kdima”, based by Moulay Ismaïl. The site is registered on the UNESCO world heritage list.
Where is it ?