Meknes

Beez Neez
Skipper and First Mate Millard (Big Bear and Pepe)
Tue 21 Oct 2008 14:09
MEKNES
 
We left Sale on the 09:25 train that was 20 minutes late at a second class cost of 55 Dirham's each ( £4.00 ).
 
 
   
 
 
The countryside on the way into Meknes, lush olive trees manage in pretty scrubby soil.

Meknes  strangely for once pronounced as it looks, (Arabic: مكناس‎) is a city in northern Morocco, located 130 kilometers from the capital Rabat and 60 kilometers from Fes. It is served by the A2 expressway ( not what you would call the M5 ) between those two cities and by the corresponding railway. Meknes was the capital of Morocco under the reign of Moulay Ismail (1672–1727), before it was relocated to Rabat. The population is 950,322 (2006 estimate). It is the capital of the Meknes-Tafilalet region. Meknes is named after a Berber tribe that settled there in the 10th century, which was known as Miknasa. The land upon which the city is founded and much of its surrounding territory came under the domination of the Roman Empire in AD 117. The original community from which Meknes can be traced was an 8th century Kasbah, or fortress, the town consequently grew around the fortress. Meknes saw its golden age as the imperial capital of Moulay Ismail following his accession to the Sultanate of Morocco.

 

      

 
The beautiful El-Mansour Gate. Bear and Beds in our taxi. 

Among the most impressive elements of the imperial city is the grand gate named after the architect, El-Mansour, a Christian renegade who converted to Islam. It was completed 5 years after Moulay Ismail's death, in 1732. The design of the gate features Almohad patterns. It has zellij mosaics of excellent quality. The marble columns were taken from the Roman ruins of Volubilis. The story tells that when completed, Moulay Ismail inspected the gate, asking El-Mansour if he could do better. El-Mansour felt complied to answer yes, making the sultan so furious he had him executed. Still, according to historical records, the gate was finished after Moulay Ismail's death. The gate itself is now used as an arts and crafts gallery; entry is by a side gate.                                                                                                                              Neighboring cities to the south: Azrou, connecting via the N13 road, is a cedar region with the noted "College d'Azrou" where many members of the post-independence elite derived; and Ifrane (Al Akhawayn University). We saw the Meknes University of Mensa. Volubilis (Oualili) is about half an hour to the north, a ruined Roman town , our next stop.

 

                    

 

Our "Posh" taxi. One window handle between four windows. The seat belts holding up the front seats.

We took a Mercedes taxi - I use the term loosely - more like a Murk. 300 Dirham's for the ride to Volubilis, two hours to explore. Moulay Idriss, one hour to explore, a look round the medina and dropped back to the train station, for just over ten pounds each, not bad eh.

 

                

Some views of down town Meknes.

 

UNESCO awarded Meknes - City of Culture in 1996.

 

One of my gold teeth came out yesterday, half of my gold teeth in fact, well that makes you worth less than 10 camels - See Bear run fast, ducking a two-slice toaster as he flees.