Meknès occupies a plateau overlooking the Bouefekrane River, which divides the medina from the Ville Nouvelle. Meknès’s three sets of imposing walls, architectural Royal Granaries, symmetrical Bab Mansour, and spectacular palaces are highlights in this well-preserved imperial city. Less inundated with tourists and more provincial than Fez, Meknès offers a low-key initiation into the Moroccan processes of shopping and bargaining. The pace is slower than Fez and less chaotic. Whether it was post–Moulay Ismail exhaustion or the 1755 earthquake that quieted Meknès down, the result is a pleasant middle ground between the Fez brouhaha and the business-as-usual European ambience of Rabat.
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