Throughout history, Morocco has been ruled from different cities; the capital title kept changing from one place to another. The main cities we’re talking about are Fez, Marrakech, Rabat and Meknes.
All of these cities share similarities such as having an old Medina, royal palaces, a modern French section and proximity to many exciting excursions.
However, the thing that stands up as very fascinating about all of these cities is history. All over these imperial cities of Morocco, especially in the Medinas, you can find historical sites; that can take you on a journey to the past. Morocco has been always present in the history of the Western world with these cities.
Tours to the imperial cities of Morocco have become a recurring motif among the tourists nowadays, especially with touring agencies. These tours take the visitors on private tours with guides into these cities, to discover their historical, cultural and social aspects along with the nature surrounding these cities.
Learn more about the imperial cities of Morocco in the next paragraphs.
The history of the imperial cities of Morocco
During the 7th century, a descendant of the Prophet Mohammed fled from his land, only to become the first king of Morocco, his name was the Sultan Moulay Idriss. He founded the city Fez, which became his capital. During this era the oldest parts of Fez were built; the locals call it Fez el Bali. The city lost the capital title for a long time; however, it regained it again, during this period Fel el Jedid was built, which includes the Jewish Quarter.
Fez has a significant academic history, being the city that hosted the first university in the world: Al Qarawiyin University during the 9th century. The rich cultural aspects of Fez also come from the people who were chased out of Andalusia during this period. Fez was an important city back in the Golden Age of Islam.
The modern Fez was built by the French during the colonial period.
When the Al Mouravids controlled Morocco they built Marrakech and settled there, making it their capital. Many of the historical sites were built during this era; buildings like Koutoubia Mosque.
The modern part of the city was built during the period of French colonialism; it has traces of the architecture from Europe in the 20th century.
Rabat became the capital of Morocco during the 12th century when the Al Mohads took over the kingdom. Many buildings mark this era such as Hassan Tower.
The city became the capital again when the French colonized the kingdom.
After the king Moulay Ismail united the kingdom he built a new capital during the 17th century; he named in Meknes. The Sultan built a huge wall that surrounds the city and protects it from outside danger. He also built a mini-city inside the big one, which has a dungeon under it.
The modern part of Meknes (Hamria) was again built during French colonization.
The geography and climate of the imperial cities
Morocco is a semi-desert country; most of the year is sunny. However, there are also mountains which add to the diversity of Morocco. Such is the case in the imperial cities, especially Fez, Meknes and Marrakech. The summers get to be very hot; however, you might expect it to rain during winter. We recommend visiting Morocco during the spring and the autumn; these times of the year are the most ideal for nice weather.
The culture of the imperial cities of Morocco
The imperial cities of Morocco have many similar aspects, namely, the old downtown and the modern part. The cultural diversity stems from this distinction between the traditional and the modern. Morocco is a country that has been influenced by many cultures throughout history, and it seems like it’s a country, which is adapting very well with modernity. Perhaps, it’s a Moroccan thing to always welcome new cultures and incorporate them into their already existent diversity. The Amazighs, the Muslims, the Jews, the Christians, the hippies and many other cultural identities can all find a home in Morocco, where they can share their colourful aspects.
Fez is a rich city that has many interesting spots, most importantly the historical sights of the Medina. The medieval buildings are worth a day on their own, most notably, the Al Qarawiyin University, which is the first university in history. Taking a walk in the mazes of the Medina is also a big-time fun activity for the visitors of Fez; there you might explore the Riads that Morocco is famous for. You can also visit the Mellah, which is the Jewish Quarter; this place has a huge historical value.
Near Fez, you can visit Volubilis, which is an ancient Roman city.
The places that you can visit in Marrakech can’t be reduced into one small paragraph. However, the most important ones are, without; the Medina, Jamaa Lafna Square (the busiest square in Africa) and the modern part of the town, where you can have a lot of fun.
The hotels of Marrakech are also a huge thing in the city. They even draw the attention of some film directors. The architecture of these hotels gives an exotic ambience, which is combined with a modern style, just as you might expect from the city that hosted the biggest number of tourist in Africa.
Rabat isn’t as famous among the tourists as Fez or Marrakech, which is something a little bit strange, given that it’s a wonderful city. The most important stops in the city are Hassan Tower and the mausoleum of the king Mohammed V, who is the grandfather of the current king. These two spots can be found in the same area. Another nice spot in Rabat is the Kasbah, which allows the visitor to see some amazing views.
The Sultan Moulay Ismail has left to the world many historical sites to show to the world centuries after his death. The giant pool, the huge wall and the magnificent palace are but three examples. Lahdim Square is also a place that has to be visited along with the Medina; there you can explore Moroccan culture very closely.
The tours that visit the imperial cities
In “Friendly Morocco”, we have tours that visit the imperial cities of Morocco. These tours are very popular among tourists for their richness. The tours allow you as a tourist to explore a huge range of the Moroccan natural cultural landscapes. Visiting the imperial cities with us is only half of the fun, as we also visit some of the most beautiful places in Morocco such as the desert. The tours usually start from Fez, Marrakech or even Tangier and Casablanca (depending on the customer’s choice). These multiple day tours often visit the Moroccan Sahara Desert, the Atlas Mountains and the valleys and gorges of the kingdom. Our agency programs the best activities and places to do and visit with the help of each customer’s contribution; the ultimate goal is to help the tourist have an amazing experience in Morocco. For example, a tour that starts from Fez and goes to Marrakech, might include a visit to Meknes, Rabat, the Atlas Mountains, the Gorges of Toudgha, Merzouga Desert, Ait ben Haddou (a fortified Kaser), then finally stop at Marrakech. The example above is a tour to all the imperial cities of Morocco with a professional guide. Some tours can even take 15 days of travelling through Morocco; they also visit some cool cities like Chefachaouen: the Blue City, Essouira, Ouarzazate, Ifrane…
The private tours are very organized from A to Z so that they will save the tourist the trouble of planning and booking. These tours are also optimal for a family group or friends. Just leave it to the Moroccan touristic business to give you a satisfactory trip, and you won’t be disappointed.
The Moroccan imperial cities are the best places to visit if you’re a history nerd. The richness of these cities comes from a long history of mixed cultures that coevolved with each other. Morocco is truly one of the best places that you can visit as a visitor who is also interested in cultural diversity.
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