The great mosque is one of the best known buildings in the medina though we couldn't visit as it, like most mosques in Morocco, is closed to non-Muslims. You do get a good view of the minaret and the roof of the mosque from the Medersa Bou Inania, which is on the same street. At ground level you can see little if the mosque as it's enclosed by the narrow streets and the shops in the souk.
Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail
One of Meknes’ best know sights is the Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail, which is one of the few mausoleums in Morocco open to non-Muslims.
Historians have not looked kindly on Moulay Ismail, who was reputed to be a brutal tyrant but Morocco has given him quite a beautiful final resting place. Perhaps it’s because he’s an ancestor of the current monarch. Or maybe every country venerates on its past leaders, no matter how barbarous they may have been.
The mausoleum is housed in a small room at the back of the building which you reach after walking through a series of courtyards. You must remove shoes before you enter the final room before the tomb. The tomb is closed to non-Muslims though you can look at it from an opening in the wall.
We had picked a bad time to visit as a big bus load of tourists arrived in just after us. It did allow us to listen in on their tour guides descriptions though!
Meknès is one of the Imperial cities. Each of its three main areas has its own charm, and each presents another century in Moroccan history and architecture. The "Medina" is said to have been founded by the Meknessa in the 10th century, the "Ville Impériale" was built by the Alaouite Sultan Moulay Ismail at the end of the 17th century and the "Ville Nouvelle" set up by the French at the beginning of the 20th century.
Meknès is luckily not as overrun by tourists as its sisters Fès and Rabat. It's very modern in lifestyle, compared to the more eastern towns. It has experienced its bloom under Moulay Ismail (1672-1727), who made Meknès his capital. His successors left the town for Fès, and after the great earthquake of 1755 it completely lost its prominent position until the times of the French occupation.
Nowadays Meknès' streets are full of life. Especially in the evening hours the young Meknassi promenade in the streets and populate the cafés and restaurants. You have plenty of possibilites for shopping: traditional arts and crafts at the medina; fashion, books and fresh, delicious tidbits of "pâtisserie" and candy in the main streets of the Ville Nouvelle. You can have an evening out at the movies, but you will have to content yourself with mostly mainstream cinema (action films and melodramatic love stories).
If you can, allow some extra time to visit the city by all means. This way you can get a taste of each aspect of life in Meknès: history, everyday-life and amusement.
"To know more about Mèknes..."
(This article has some grammatical mistakes, but contains a lot of information.)