The Imperial Cities of Morocco – From Marrakech to Rabat
You can explore the imperial cities of Morocco by taking a trip. From Marrakech through Merzouga desert then Fez, Meknes, ending in Rabat. On the way, you will pass through the Middle Atlas Mountains and Morocco desert. Enjoy beautiful landscapes and Cedar forests. Also, you will see Berber villages and the base of the High Atlas Mountains.
“What is the capital of Morocco? How to get around Morocco?” What are the four imperial cities of Morocco?
Highlights of Four imperial cities of Morocco.
Marrakech, Former Imperial City
Located in western Morocco, the former imperial city of Marrakesh is a major economic and cultural center. It is home to palaces, mosques, and gardens. The medina, or medieval city, is a bustling and colorful place that harks back to the Berber Empire. Here, you can explore the souks, or markets, to buy traditional goods and souvenirs. The city’s most recognizable building, the Koutoubia mosque, is a 12th-century monument and is the symbol of the city.
For a more cultural experience, try a horse and carriage ride through the medina. The breeze will be refreshing as you take in the sights and sounds of Marrakech. You can also stop at the ICARDA-sponsored Museum of Moroccan Art, Dar Jamai. A ride is best done in the evening when you can soak in the beautiful sights and sounds of the bustling marketplaces. And don’t forget to pack your camera!
One of the top sights to see in Marrakech is the Bahia Palace, which was built in the early 20th century by the French. The name literally means “brilliance,” and it is a symbol of the city’s rich history. While you are in Marrakech don’t forget to visit the royal tombs of the Saadian dynasty. A visit to these tombs is a magical experience, with flawless zellij patterns and lavish artwork covering the walls.
In the northeastern region of Morocco, the imperial city of Fes is a popular travel destination for travelers. Known as the cultural capital of Morocco, its medieval Marinid architecture is a stunning sight. The city is also home to many religious institutions, including mosques and ornate tile works. To discover the history of this region, visit the El Bali walled medina. It features beautiful cedar carvings and intricate tile work.
The medina is an extremely dense city, and it can be a bit challenging to navigate. You can take a taxi to get around, but it’s recommended that you arrive in the early morning or late at night to avoid the rush of people in the medina. After you’ve toured the medina, explore the Jdid neighborhood, which is an especially interesting place to visit. In addition to exploring the Jdid, you can also take a day trip to the nearby Karaouine Mosque.
In the Medina of Fes, you can explore the old tanneries and learn about the history of leather-making in the country. The largest leather workshop in the city, built in the 11th century, is an incredible place to visit. Visitors can view round stone vessels filled with liquids and dye, which are used to soften the hides. It’s also a great place to learn about the ancient process of making leather.
The Meknes Imperial city in Morocco is one of the most beautiful cities in the country. Its unique blend of Islamic and European architecture has made it a cultural and religious capital of Morocco. Meknes is located about a half-hour drive from Fez, which is home to the world’s largest vehicle-free area. In fact, the only modes of transport in the Meknes medina are donkeys.
The Meknes Imperial city was founded in 1642 by Moulay Ismail, who had been obsessed with personal building legacy. He moved the capital to Meknes in 1672 to differentiate himself from his predecessors and consolidate his power. Moulay Ismail transformed Meknes into the Moroccan equivalent of Versailles, with its magnificent palaces, gardens, and gardens. The Meknes imperial city has many impressive monuments, which include the famous Moulay Ismail Mosque, the Dar al Makhzen, and the Bab Berdieyinne.
The first great work of the Alaouite dynasty, Meknes is the first major city to be built in the Hispano-Moorish style. Meknes reflects the grandeur of its creator and the remarkable approach to urban design. The combination of Islamic and European architectural elements in the Meknes Imperial city is truly awe-inspiring. It is the perfect example of a fusion of ancient and contemporary styles.
Rabat The Capital
The Imperial Cities of Morocco are mainly populated by the expatriate population. Civil servants, students, researchers, diplomats, and administrators. The main languages spoken in Rabat are French and Arabic. Many embassies and national research institutes have their headquarters in Rabat. In the medina, you can explore the narrow alleys and admire the beautiful architecture of the buildings. While in Rabat, you must visit the Museum of Moroccan Art and the Museum of Islamic Art.
The city was founded by the Almohad caliph Yaqub al-Mansur, though Marrakech remained the capital city. In the 18th century, the Alaouite sultan Muhammad ibn Abdallah designated Rabat as the imperial capital, constructing the Dar al-Makhzan palace and the royal palace. Unlike the previous Sultans of Morocco, the Sultans did not designate the city as their capital. Instead, they kept moving back and forth between the two cities.
There are a lot of things to do in Rabat, and the ancient medina is an absolute must. You can also visit the modern part of the city, which was built by the French during the protectorate period. Although it is interesting, the modern area does not have the same charm as the ancient medinas. There are so many historical monuments and palaces in Rabat that it may seem difficult to decide what to do there.
Frequently asked questions:
What Makes a City Imperial?
The question of what makes a city imperial is a complex. Whether it was the site of a past empire or a modern port city, it is important to know how these two types of cities were governed. However, we must remember that the colonial and imperial concepts are not mutually exclusive and that the latter cannot be considered independent of the former. The distinction between the two is not as sharp as it once was, and therefore, we must be willing to accept that each of them has its own history of exploitation.
How Many Imperial Cities in Morocco?
Imperial Cities in Morocco are Marrakech, Fes, Meknes, and Rabat. These cities have all served as the country’s capital at various points in history, each with its own charm and personality. Rabat, for example, has been the country’s capital since 1921, a choice made by Marshal Lyautey because of the city’s strategic location and a mild climate tempered by the Atlantic.
What are the 4 major cities in Morocco?
- Casablanca Rank: 1 ; Population 3,840,000 (in 2022)
- Fes Rank: 2 ; Population 1,267,000 (in 2022)
- Tanger Rank: 3 ; Population 1,277,000 (in 2022)
- Marrakech Rank: 4 ; Population 1,033,000 (in 2022)
If you’re interested in exploring the culture of Morocco, you should start by visiting the Imperial cities. Marrakech is the largest city in the country and a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Besides its dazzling architecture, the city has some incredible historical sights, too. Here are the top four Imperial cities to visit in Morocco.
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