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With the title of Imperial City and a UNESCO-stamped ancient medina, Meknes is a scenic, hilltop city in Morocco that has plenty to offer the curious traveler or long-term entrepreneur. Meknes is made up of the old (medina) and the new (ville nouvelle) — two distinct centers less than three miles apart but harnessing quite different vibes. The medina holds the city’s historic sights and sought-after romantic flavor, while in the ville nouvelle you'll find big houses, modern cars, and branded takeaways.At the heart of the medina is the twelfth-century Grand Mosque (although this is closed to non-Muslims), while teahouses in secret courtyards, ornate riads, and the odd hard-working donkey add to the atmosphere.
Other popular attractions in Meknes include the Bab el-Mansour gate, which was completed in 1732 and is known for its original green and white zellij tiles, marble columns, and inscriptions from the Quran. There’s also the Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail – the ornate tomb of the man who gave Meknes its imperial status. After a day of networking in one of the city’s coworking spaces, you can plan for a weekend trip to the UNESCO site of Volubilis, the ruins of a Roman city dating back to the third century BC that’s no more than 40 minutes’ drive from Meknes. A trip to Volubilis is typically paired with a stop at the scenic white washed town of Moulay Idriss, home to the mausoleum of the eponymous Arab ruler and terrific views across the valley and surrounding countryside.
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