In the 8th century, the province of Meknes saw the birth of the first dynasty of Morocco, the Idrissids (786 to 917), founded by Moulay Idriss the 1st, descendant of the Prophet Mohammed.
In the 11th century, the Almoravids fortified the city, previously conquered by the Almohads who set up there mosques, hammams (Moorish baths) and kasbahs.
Meknes then lived a period of prosperity which will be relayed by the emergence of the Merinid dynasty.
Many monuments will also be built during the reign of this dynasty, including the royal palace and the famous Bou Inania madrassah (traditional school).
To the Marinid, succeeds the wattasid dynasty in the 15th century
The arrival of the Alawite dynasty marked a turning point in the history of Meknes. In 1672, Moulay Ismaïl associated Meknes with his destiny and decided to make it the most beautiful of the imperial cities and the capital of Morocco.
Known also as the “Moroccan Louis XIV”, for 50 years, he built palaces, mosques, attics, stables, pools, gardens and kasbahs to give it an extraordinary growth and make it a world-renowned capital.
The walls surrounding the ancient city are pierced by majestic doors richly carved and decorated with constellations (earthenware and mosaics).
Bab Mansour gate is the largest and most beautiful edifice of the Arab-Moorish architectural building styles.
During the reign of his son, Sidi Mohammed bin Abdallah (1757-1790), Meknes was endowed with several monuments: mosques, mausoleums and the palace of Dar Beïda, the current seat of the Royal Military Academy.
During the French presence in Morocco (1912-1956), Meknes carries other nicknames such as «the Versailles of Morocco», or «the little Paris», highlighting the beauty of the city, offering it the title of the most beautiful imperial city of the kingdom. It was for a time the seat of the french resident, Marshal Lyautey, who chose it as his headquarters. The most popular area is the ancient medina known as “Mdina kdima”, where Moulay Ismaïl used to live.