Meknes, Morocco, September 30, 2007

Trip Start Sep 19, 2007
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Trip End Jan 05, 2008


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Flag of Morocco  ,
Sunday, September 30, 2007

North-central Morocco is chock full of sights and ruins, three of which - Meknes, Volubilis, and Moulay Idriss - are within a very short distance of each other just west of Fez.  Meknes is the fourth (along with Fez, Marrakech, and Rabat) and probably least known of Morocco's imperial cities and perhaps a bit off the tourist circuit because it might be characterized as "Fez light".  Like Fez it has a huge royal palace and walled old city (medina) with narrow streets and souks.  The city is much less ancient than Fez and was made a capital under Moulay Ismail, a ruthless king in the late 1600s and early 1700s who regained much territory in northern and coastal Morocco from the Spanish and Portuguese. 
I was pleased we stopped in Meknes, so I was able to see and get a feel for the fourth of the Moroccan imperial cities.  Our early Sunday morning visit, though, was a bit anti-climatic after the enormous medina and packed souks of Fez.  On the contrary, I wandered the medina's deserted streets nearly alone, noticed only by the stray cats, the doors to the homes, shops, and mosques all still closed and the market squares eerily empty.
 
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