Morocco, short cultural itineraries
Meknes and surrounding area
The Meknes-Tafilalet region is one of the richest regions of Morocco. It is also a tourist attraction with great tourist and cultural interest, a mixture of Arab culture and Berber culture, rich in a variety of landscapes with the Moroccan plain on the one hand and the Rif and Atlas mountain ranges on the other.
The richness and diversity of the region, the importance of the olive, both at economic, cultural and historical levels, make the region unique and attractive to discovery.
Meknes with his labyrinthine medina, the Grand Palace and his Religious School, portrays Morocco’s outstanding heritage. Fertile land, with olives and grain, fruit trees and vines in the area, there are some of the most important historical monuments in the country, such as the Volubilis and the sacred city of Moulay Idriss. The area is also known for its quality and internationally renowned crafts.
Meknes is the fifth largest city in Morocco and one of the great imperial cities, as shown by its green minarets and monumental gates. Built on a hill, the old town is separated from the new city by Oued Boufekranee and its architecture and colour resemble Marrakech, as well as its vast open spaces, population and the perpetual motion of its market.
What to See in Town:
Heri es-Souani, the old Meknès grain silo
This monument is a magnificent sight for those who love the olive. The image around this building is magnificently complemented by the splendid olives that spring up at the top of the vaults in various places, “covering the city with their foliage.
Medina’s market and souks (behind El-Hedim Square).
The walk there is very pleasant because of the prevailing atmosphere. On the market there are beautiful countertops with olive products (which should not escape you) and spices. Stores offering exclusive olive products are concentrated on the outskirts of Medina and are accessible from the souks.
– The Bab el-Mansour gateway, dominating El-Hedim Square
– The Ambassadors’ Gate and the Prison of Christians
– The Dar Jamaï Museum
– The Grand Mosque and the Religious School Bou Inania
– The Meknès farms
What to See Outside of Town:
TIME: daily from 08:30 am until sunset.
Approximately 35 km from Meknèsès (direction Sidi Kacem). 185 km from Rabat (direction Fez and then Meknès-2nd exit to Meknès). Cross the city and follow the road to Sidi Kacem.
Volubilis is an important archaeological site and yet another way of approaching the importance of olive in the Meknès region, both historically and culturally. In this sense, it is a point of great importance and directly connected with olive culture.
The visit of the archaeological site begins in the southern district of the city where an oil mill resembles the richness of olive cultivation in this ancient city …. Excavations have also revealed more than 35 mills in the whole region of Volubilis.
Along with the visit of Volubilis, it is extremely interesting to discover the surrounding area. The few kilometers connecting Zeggota to the sacred city of Moulay Idriss through the Volubilis will complete the discovery of the presence of the olive in the area. It is a path through olive groves that we recommend to make in the morning or late afternoon to enjoy even more this unique landscape. This route also offers the opportunity to visit several traditional or semi-traditional olive mills, traditional and modern crops in the plain, hills and slopes.
At the end of this journey, Moulay Idriss is a picturesque small town named after the most respectable man in Morocco and one of the descendants of Prophet Muhammad and founder of the country’s oldest dynasty, Idrissides.
Kermet Ben Salem
Small rural settlement located to the north of Moulay Idriss. You will get there as you pass through a picturesque street with olives linked to the N13 leading to Fez.
The area of Kermet Ben Salem, with the plateau full of olives and its stone-built houses, is an ideal place for a pleasant detour. Visit the traditional olive press of the village, run by an agricultural cooperative (outside an oil-producing period only by appointment)
Agro pôle Olivier
10 minutes from the city of Meknes, follow the road to Hadj Kaddour (preferably visit with RV Tel: +212 5353-00398)
The Center for Documentation, Innovation and Transfer of Know-how for the Development and Promotion of the Olive Oil Sector, Agro pôle Olivier is an olive oil training center and organizing Information Meetings at national and regional level for large and small growers as well as for the general public. In this context, she performs demonstrations of agricultural techniques, tastings, olives, etc.)
Headed by Dr. Noureddine Ouazzani, Agro pôle Olivier, one of the most active members of the Olive Tree Network, is one of the few olive centers with international recognition and resonance, and a visit there is recommended for those who want to deepen their knowledge of olive cultivation in Morocco.
A visit up there will allow you to discover the outskirts of Meknès, with an interest in olive cultivation. Follow the city center by car, and you will have the chance to see traditional and modern plantations and admire the city from above. Around Meknès there are also major olive oil production and standardization factories and modern olive presses, the CHCI, the Bel-Hassanis Group and the famous Aisha company.
If you have time, plan an escape to the city of Fès, a city of “Mediterranean civilization”. The route from Meknès to Fès offers interesting testimonies for the cultivation of the olive tree. Fès also has important olive groves and greatly contributes to the development of olive cultivation in the region. The two towns of Fès and Meknès are also closely linked to history, culture, cultural heritage and have common economic activities, representing two complementary tourist destinations.
Fès, is the oldest of the imperial cities and symbolically the heart of the country. It was founded immediately after the expansion of the Arabs in North Africa and Spain and quickly became a religious and cultural center. With the strong features of each of the great dynasties, it also has influences from Muslim Spain and the Levant Arabs. Despite the arrival of the Berbers from within the country, it has retained an Arabic character.
It’s hard to really know Fes if you do not have enough time. The medina will initially be troublesome to you, with the constant disturbances of pseudo-guides, children, sellers and merchants. Ignore them and take the time to discover it. Worth!
What to See:
Fès El-Bali (old Fes) with religious schools, museums, tanneries, fountains …
For El-Jedid (New Town) and the Jewish Quarter or Mellah
Medina with its doors, its mosques, its souks, squares, its foundouks …