Tuesday, July 13, 2010

MEKNES & The Granaries of Moulay Ismail

more participants here

My roundtrip through Morocco

Just down the road from Fez lies the Imperial City of Meknes. Meknes was the capital of Morocco under the reign of Moulay Ismail (1672–1727) He is said to be the father of a total of 867 children including 525 sons and 342 daughters. I couldn't find out with how many women. He really was fruitful and multiplied. I wonder how long it took him to give them all a good night kiss.

This rather unsympathetic person (at least to me) spent his time with building walls and remparts to keep out all ennemies. From what I understood he must have been a very paranoid person, because to arrive into the city you had to drive through four thick remparts with huge doors. Our guide said that the walls were 4 m thick so that it was impossible to get through.

Moulay Ismaïl is also known as a fearsome ruler and used at least 25,000 slaves for the construction of his capital. He personally supervised the building of over 25 km of protective walls for his city within a city. He scavenged materials from monuments all over Morocco, including Roman marble from the ruins at Volubilis. Nobody knows how many slaves died during this period.

The Moulay Ismail's granaries were ingeniously designed. Tiny windows, massive walls and a system of underfloow water channels kept the temperatures cool and air circulating. He didn't store food for humans, but grain and hay to feed his 12.000 horses. The first few vaults have ben restored, but those behond stand in partial ruin, row upon row.

Amongst international filmmakers, Martin Scorsese shot part of the "Last Temptation of Christ"here.

The city wall of Meknes

Old Meknes inside the remparts

Gate to the Imperial stables and granaries

The sign at the entrance

beautiful carved designs in the wooden doors, although they had been abandonned for a very long time.

now in renovation

The ceiling of a storage room

one of the storage rooms

the walls for the storage of hey and food were very thick

in a few years this will have another look

Our guide explained us the use of this wheel

the stables

And this street leads through all the walls to the entrance.


Anonymous said...

I will never get to see that personally most likely so I'm so glad to see it through your eyes. I love that ceiling and the boarded like bridge. Just awesome. :)

Unknown said...

wow, those walls are indeed thick! labor and construction materials must be very cheap when these walls were constructed.:p they're fascinating and amazing. thanks for sharing.

LadyFi said...

What an amazing place!

Maribeth said...

Wow, that really is beautiful. Once they finish the restoration it will be amazing!

diane b said...

Thank you for the tour. It is very interesting and historical.

Sylvia K said...

Really fascinating and beautiful! Love the history you included and, of course, your photos are fantastic! Thanks for the tour, I love it! Have a great week, Gattina!


Melli said...

Amazing. You keep traveling woman! I'll get to see the whole world on YOUR blog! I do find it funny how many of our ancient worlds leaders were SO paranoid and the lengths that they would go to insure they're own safety. They must have thought they could live forever!

Noel Morata said...


i loved your meknes tour what an impressive place, thanks for showing this to us today, what a treat

Loree said...

A very interesting and informative post. 867 children? I cannot even imagine what that must have been like!

James said...

I've never had a desire to go to Morocco until now. This place is amazing!

Lifecruiser Travel Blog said...

Marvelous place. Well, he sounded paranoid but left those wonderful things behind him.... 12000 horses - and I only wished for one! *giggles*

Anonymous said...

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About Me

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I love painting, writing, travelling and photography. My favorit models are cats which I observe with fun and humor. I am German, married to an Italian and we live in Waterloo (15 km from Brussels) / Belgium since many years. Waterloo is a famous place to many tourists, because Napoleon lost his battle here against Wellington and other European countries.


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