Rabat - The famous travel guide publisher Lonely Planet has chosen Meknes among the top 10 cities to visit worldwide in 2019.
Rabat – The famous travel guide publisher Lonely Planet has chosen Meknes among the top 10 cities to visit worldwide in 2019.
Meknes came in 10th place after Copenhagen, Denmark (1st); Shenzhen, China (2nd); Novi Sad, Serbia (3rd); Miami, the US (4th); and Kathmandu, Nepal (5th).
Lonely Planet also listed Mexico City; Dakar, Senegal; Seattle, the US; and Zadar, Croatia as cities to visit in 2019.
Meknes is located about 60 kilometers west of Fez and 155 kilometers east of Rabat.
“The notorious war-mongering sultan who moved Morocco’s capital to Meknès in 1672 would be turning in his grave if he knew how few visitors the city receives today compared with Fez and Marrakesh,” wrote Lonely Planet.
The number of tourists visiting Meknes has increased since last year. Overnight stays rose from 12,871 in January 2017 to 16,172 in January 2018, up by 26 percent.
However, Meknes has far fewer visitors compared to other tourist cities in Morocco.
Fez recorded 69,357 overnight stays in January 2018 compared to 51,341 in January 2017, up by 35 percent.
Marrakech, the leading Moroccan tourist city, received 542,514 overnight stays in January 2018 compared to 422,850 in the same period last year.
Lonely Planet recalled the imperial history of Meknes when “Moulay Ismail plundered Marrakeshi palaces and Roman ruins at nearby Volubilis for stone and marble to build thick-set fortifications that still encase the city.”
The travel guide publisher also mentioned the city’s “giant subterranean food stores” and its remnant gate, Bab Mansour, which “outshines even the Blue Gate [Bab Boujloud] in Fez.”
Meknes is also famous for the mausoleum of Sultan Moulay Ismail and its old medina.
“At the heart of the city, Ismail’s elaborate mausoleum is a national treasure and it’s scheduled to emerge soon from a two-year, top-to-toe restoration, giving travellers more reason than ever to visit this under-appreciated imperial city,” wrote Lonely Planet.