Fez and the Middle Atlas Sights

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Moulay Ismail Mausoleum

Moulay Ismail Mausoleum Review

One of four sacred sites in Morocco open to non-Muslims (the others are Casablanca's Hassan II, Rabat's Mohammed V Mausoleum, and Rissani's Zaouia of Moulay Ali Sherif), this mausoleum was opened to non-Muslims by King Mohammed V (grandfather of Mohammed VI) in honor of Ismail's ecumenical instincts. An admirer of France's King Louis XIV—who, in turn, considered the sultan an important ally—Moulay Ismail developed close ties with Europe and signed commercial treaties even as he battled to eject the Portuguese from their coastal strongholds at Asilah, Essaouira, and Larache. The mausoleum's site once held Meknès's Palais de Justice (Courthouse), and Moulay Ismail deliberately chose it as his resting place with hopes he would be judged in his own court by his own people. The deep ochre-hue walls inside lead to the sultan's private sanctuary, on the left, heavily decorated with colorful geometric zellijtiling. At the end of the larger inner courtyard, you must remove your shoes to enter the sacred chamber with Moulay Ismail's tomb, surrounded by hand-carved cedar-and-stucco walls, intricate mosaics, and a central fountain.

    Contact Information

  • Address: Rue Sarag, near Bab er-Rih Meknes
  • Cost: Free
  • Hours: Sat.–Thurs., 9–noon and 3–6
  • Location: Meknès
Updated: 05-12-2011

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