More than any other town in Morocco, Meknes is associated with a single figure, Sultan Moulay Ismail. During his 55-year reign, the city was tranformed from a forgettable provincial centre into a spectacular capital with twenty gates and over fifty palaces enclosed within 45km of exterior walls. The principal remains of Ismail’s creation – the Ville Impériale of palaces and gardens, barracks, granaries and stables – sprawl below the Medina amid a confusing array of walled enclosures, and it’s a long morning’s walk to take in everything.

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