Riad La maison d'a cote
25 derb Lakhouaja, Meknes, 50000, Morocco
More about Meknes
entrance to Moulay Ismail mausoleum
a close up
Travel Tips for Meknes
Bab Berdayin: A Forgotten Gem
If you walk to the northern part of the Medina, leaving the usual touristic
areas behind, the souks will get poorer and muddier. Beyond the
Mosque El Berdayin there is the Place El Berdayin, that looks rather like
a large parking-lot, with some small shops and an internet-café.
At the upper part of the Place El Berdayin you will find the Bab Berdayin
("Gate of the saddlers"). It was built at the times of Moulay Ismail at the end
of the 17th century. With just one arch, it is not as large as the famous
Bab Mansour, but on the outside it is beautifully decorated with green inlays.
Unfortunately there have been no restauration works yet, so the gate starts
From the outside of the Bab Berdayin you have a great view upon the plains
of northern Meknès with the Oued Boufekrane and the mountains behind.
A way leads down to the Boulevard Circulaire.
Place el Hadim
The main square in the medina is Place el Hadim, on whose northern end lies the entrance to a vast network of souks and streets in the medina. The square is the usual starting point for a tour of the medina or the Imperial City and most visitors to Meknes will see the square at some point The western side of the square is lined by shops and cafes, while the opposite side has a series of decorated arches. The vast Bab el Mansour dominates the southern end and leads on into Moulay Ismail’s Imperial city. In size Place el Hadim resembles Djemaa el-Fna in Marrakech, but it has nothing of the atmosphere.
"First Visit to Meknes"
We had only the briefest stop at Meknes on the way to Rabat from Fes. Our original plan was to stay here for a whole day but we couldn't find anywhere to leave our bags while exploring so had to carry them around with us and hence only stayed for the morning. I certainly wouldn't advise carrying a backpack around the medina in Meknes!
We tried both train stations and the CTM bus station but none of them would take our bags. In the CTM place, they would only take them if we could prove we had a bus booked, at the main train station which was under renovation there was no left luggage, while at El-Amir station there was a left luggage but apparently it was closed. Never mind that there was four people sitting in the office doing nothing!!
By this point I was fed up of Meknes and we almost hopped on the next train to Rabat. Instead we decided to have a quick look around the medina. We took a petit taxi to Bab El-Mansour and began our tour. Maybe the museum would take our bags? But it being Monday, the museum was closed, so we had to carry them around the tiny streets in the medina. Apologies to all the people and donkeys I bumped into...
Despite all our bad luck, I really liked what I saw of Meknes and would have liked to have seen more. Fes is probably the most similar Moroccan city in terms of history and culture, but Meknes was more relaxed with much fewer tourists.
"Seeing Meknes Again"
In 2007 we returned to Meknes and finally got our chance to see the city properly. Having hired a car in Fes and driven to Moulay Idriss and Volubilis, we drove on to Meknes and stayed overnight. The following day we explored the Imperial city and the medina. It was so much easier without those backpacks!