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Meknes – Fit for a King

sunny 21 °C

“The King is coming…. The King is coming…” You can almost hear the chants ring out in Meknes today as the Royal Palace is spruced up. There are guardsmen on every corner, the flags fly and mature palm trees have suddenly sprouted on patches of derelict land near the King’s Palace. But no one knows when he will arrive so we pretend to be royalty and ride in a horse-drawn caleche to the palace gates…
The palace guards didn’t believe us so we were sent to the royal prison where, in the past, thousands of unfortunates were incarcerated in more than 7 kilometeres of underground dungeons. We’d love to show you, but it was too dark for photos, so here’s a photo of the royal granary – a massive building capable of storing food for thousands of the king’s subjects in the 15th century…
Time for a touch of imperial history - Morocco, (or parts of it), has been ruled by Sultans from the time of Idriss in 788 and, since 1957, they have been known as kings, The incumbent is King Mohammed VI, a fifty year old ruler who was crowned on the death of his father in 1999.
Past rulers of Morocco were often despotic megalomaniacs, but Mohammed likes to be thought of as a man of the people and, apart from the fact that he owns a handful of palaces, drives an Aston Martin and has a Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet as his private plane, he is much like the average Moroccan.

Meknes is a vibrant and interesting city that is surely the tagine capital of Morocco – just look at this lot in the market square…

The market is a fascinating place full of artistic displays of spices, olives and dried fruits…

The souks surrounding the market are a warren of shops where sharp salesmen lurk to catch the unwary. Here’s our friend Christine getting the hard sell from a couple of carpet sharks…
Meknes’s medina (the city within the walls) has magnificent historic buildings with ornate embellishment and beautiful old doors…
But this Bou-Inania medersa (Islamic school), dating from the 14th century takes the cake when it comes to decorations…

Sadly we now have to leave Meknes and the kind folk at Riad Lahboul, but stay tuned for further adventures in Morocco.

Posted by Hawkson 11:14 Archived in Morocco

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I still remember being shocked at seeing a goat's eye floating in the tagine in the medina of Marrakech back in l970! Not a bad memory for an old broad eh?

by joyce

I always love the shots of markets. Regret that I can never eat more than a tiny sampling of it all when I am on the road. Nice shot of the granary.
Wonderful doorway decorations. Islamic restrictions on representation really allowed the geometric designs to flourish. Notice the same palette in the rug sharks wares. Did she get bitten?

Happy travels onwards.

by Tom

Ditto - Tom. The open air markets are like magnets for me.

by Janet

Would you (please) bring me back one of those casserole looking pots from the market? I am sure that it would fit into your carry on luggage! Seriously - lovely photos helping us all share the adventure. Wish I was there ... trying to figure out how to get the pot into my carry on luggage!

by Ramblingon

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