Friday, February 21, 2014

Day 12 // Meknes (مَكناس)

Lodging
Riad Zahraa, like the night before.

Sights


Heri el-Souani, or the royal granaries, was one the works commissioned by Moulay Ismaïl. It was built in order to store 20 years' worth of grains for all of the royal horses, and today it stands as an architectural wonder that tourists enjoy visiting. Entrance is 20 dh.

c/o Low Cost Morocco Travel
c/o Low Cost Morocco Travel

Habs Kara Prison was originally a diplomat site under Moulay Ismaïl, but it turned into a prison for 60,000 (mostly Christian) slaves. For just 10 dh, you can see where Ismaïl greeted ambassadors and kept his POWs, as well as the horrible conditions that these prisoners faced.

c/o Brendon and Keryn Doran

For those of you art and thaqaafa (culture) lovers, so hopefully all of you, check out the Musée Dar Jamaï. In English, it's known as the Museum of Moroccan Art, but it was actually Hassan I's palace. It only costs 10 dh, and in addition to highlighting Moroccan art and luxury goods, you get a glimpse of the sultan's former living quarters.

c/o Hôtel Meknès
This courtyard...! I have no words.
c/o Hôtel Meknès

In case you haven't seen enough beauty today, go to the Lahboul Gardens, which are near the medina. Like the Majorelle Gardens in Marrakech, the Lahboul Gardens were built in the 1900s by Frenchmen, and they're a zoo as well as a botanical garden! Unfortunately, I can't find any good pictures that aren't watermarked and/or copyrighted, so just look at them on Google yourself!

Again, there is no such thing as a visit to a Moroccan city without exploring the medina! The souks are low-priced and relaxed (compared to the souks in other cities) and have lots of authentic food items for sale, but Bab Mansour gate is the real attraction. (Quick fun fact: bab was one of the first words I learned in Arabic! It has the first two letters of the alphabet, and no short vowels.) This was another public work under Moulay Ismaïl, who reportedly had the architect executed, believing that he could do better. There isn't much to do at the gate other than marvel at its intricacy, but it's a landmark of Meknes nonetheless.

c/o Cooking in Tongues
c/o Cooking in Tongues
There are gates, and then there's this.
c/o OK Voyage

Vocabulary (French // Arabic // English)
  • la culture // thaqaafa (ثَقافة) // culture
  • une porte // bab (باب) // door

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