Roman ruins and imperial city

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Africa » Morocco » Meknès-Tafilalet
July 14th 2015
Published: July 14th 2015
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I’m not sure that I could recommend to anyone to stay Meknes, it’s a town that seems to have grown but not developed. The pavements are filthy, the roads narrow and full of the fumes from the old vehicles everyone has. But having said all of that we’ve ended up having an enjoyable two days here. The reason for stopping here was to visit the Roman ruins 30km away at Voubilis. The ruins are in a beautiful rural setting, on a low hill just high enough above the surrounding countryside. There were a good number of well-preserved mosaics, an impressive grand arch and waterworks system.

A few kilometers from here is the town of Moulay Idris. From a distance a pretty whitewashed town covering two hills and with a mausoleum to Moulay Idris in the centre. As non-Muslims we are not allowed inside but walked up through the steep maze of stepped streets and had great panoramic views to the other town covered hill. Donkeys were the only means of transporting goods up and down the steep steps.

Meknes itself has an imperial city at its centre with thick city walls. Beautiful gates into the city, particularly lovely in the late afternoon light when they look golden. The palace itself is not an option to visit but there is a pretty mosque with a mausoleum, old stables and parade ground and the big city wall.

I’m sure we could have done these few things in a one day visit but we enjoyed spreading the sights over two days, relaxing with mint tea in a rooftop terrace and people watching in the busy square below.

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