Both are imperial cities - capitals that represented some of the most powerful Moroccan kings - whose walls, alleyways and ornate riads bear testimony to the ancestral craftsmanship that put them on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Their customs and atmosphere are emblematic of the soul of the medina, or urban Morocco.
But once you step closer, Fez and Meknes couldn’t be more different; each is a reflection of their respective history and population.
Fez was the capital of the first Arab Muslim kingdom in the 9th century. The city was developed under multiple dynasties into the cultural capital of Morocco, which still holds true today.
Meknes, founded two centuries later only 60km away, was developed as a military base that stands to this day. King Moulay Ismael made it the country’s capital in 1672, and had the palace in Meknes built to compete with Versailles.
When it comes to these imperial cities, Fez is sophisticated: dazzling in its Moorish architecture, and diverse courtesy of the waves of Andalucíans who elected it as their new home. Its pioneering Mederssas (universities), and rich cultural heritage enhance the city’s seductiveness.