Meknes is one of the four Imperial cities of Morocco, located in north central Morocco and the sixth largest city by population in the kingdom. Founded in the 11th century by the Almoravids as a military settlement, Meknes became capital of Morocco under the reign of Sultan Moulay Ismaïl in the 17th century, son of the founder of the Alaouite dynasty.
Sultan Moulay Ismaïl turned Meknes into an impressive city in Spanish-Moorish style, surrounded by high walls with great doors, where the harmonious blending of the Islamic and European styles of the 17th century Maghreb are still evident today. The gate in the photo above is Bab Mansour which is the most famous of all in Meknes. The city walls are 30 miles long and there are 20 gates. Along the top of the gate, the Arabic inscription describes Bab el-Mansour's virtues with a confidence befitting of the king. It reads: 'I am the most beautiful gate in Morocco. I'm like the moon in the sky. Property and wealth are written on my front.'