Imperial Cities In Morocco
The cities are referred to as ‘Imperial Cities’, because of their historical importance.
All of the four cities were at one point of time or another in Morocco’s history served as its capital.
Morocco is an ancient country, located in North Africa.
Situated along the Northwestern Region of the African continent, the country has a rich and varied heritage that dates back to Ancient Rome and beyond.
And this heritage is visible today in all corners of the country, from small ruins in the middle of the desert, to vast archaeological sites dating eons back to the past.
Introduction and History of the imperial Cities
One such amazing historical treasure of Morocco happens to be the imperial cities of Morocco.
There are four cities in Morocco, which are known as ‘Imperial Cities.’
Out of the four, Rabat serves as the current capital city of Morocco.
Information for each of the four cities is given in the points mentioned below:
It is the capital of Fez-Meknes region, and the second largest city in the country, after the economic capital Casablanca.
Located in the northern part of the country, the city has a fairly Mediterranean climate and surrounded by hills, mountains and even small patches of forest.
It is very different from other parts of Morocco, which are characterized by an arid or desert environment.
The founding of the city dates back to a king named Idris I, who set up a settlement along a river named Jawhar in 789.
This settlement was subsequently grown by later princes and sultans, as time passed by.
Given the long history of the country, there is an abundance of tourist hotspots in the city.
These include, but not limited to the Medina of Fez, various madrassas, fortifications, tombs, mausoleums and last but not the least, numerous mosques.
It is also an important place for the tannery industry in the country.
The times when Fez has served as Morocco’s capital are given in the list below:
- Idrisid dynasty, from the beginning of the 9th century to 974
- Marinid dynasty, from 1244 to 1465
- 15th-century Idrisid interlude, from 1465 to 1471
- Wattasid dynasty, from 1471 to 1554
- Saadian dynasty, from 1603 to 1627
- 17th-century Dila’ite interlude, from 1659 to 1663
- Alaouite dynasty, from 1666 to 1672 and from 1727 to 1912
Marrakech also spelled sometimes as the red city, is probably one of the most famous cities in Morocco.
It is the fourth largest city in the country and the capital of the administrative region of Marrakech Safi.
The city is located in the central region of the country, very near to the Atlas Mountains and enjoys a very pleasant Mediterranean climate.
In addition to this, the city has certain warm and hot periods as well, due to its location being very near to the Sahara Desert.
The history of Marrakech goes back more than a thousand years, when settlements were established by Berber farmers in what is today modern-day Marrakesh.
The first formal settle was created in the year 1070, when the Almoravids set up a capital city for their empire.
The city steadily grew with the passage of time, and played a very important role in the history of the country.
The city is a very important tourist hub for numerous reasons. For one thing, the city is rich in many historical sites, mosques, ruins and more.
Furthermore, the city is also an important base for those who want to explore the famous Atlas Mountains; being located very near to this vast mountain range, the city is famous among tourists who use it as a base to explore the rest of the region.
The times when Marrakech has served as Morocco’s capital are given in the list below:
Meknes is one of the lesser known cities in Morocco, which happens to be in the list of imperial cities.
It is located in the north of the country, and located in the Fez-Meknes administrative region of the country.
The city is in fact very near to another Imperial city, Fez.
The city has a fairly hot Mediterranean climate, along with a mix of moderate temperate and continental ones during the non-summer months.
Meknes has served as the capital of Morocco just once in the country’s history, under the Alaouite sultan Ismael Ibn Sharif.
The city started off under the sultan as a small fortification of walls and other small structures, which eventually grew into the modern city that we know today.
Also, to note here is that this was the only major time in history that the city served as a capital city of Morocco.
Last but not least is the city of Rabat.
This is another major Moroccan city that is fairly well known to tourists everywhere.
It is the seventh largest city in the country, and also the administrative capital of the Rabat-Salé-Kénitra administrative region.
The city enjoys a fairly warm and hot Mediterranean climate, along with a mix of moderate temperate ones as well during the non-summer months.
Rabat is one of the more recent cities built in Morocco.
The history of the city began as nothing more than a fortification, solely for military purposes.
It was set up in the year 1146, when the rules Abd al-Mu’min established a fortress to use as a launching base against the Iberian region of Europe.
This military history is, in fact, the reason the city gained the named ‘Rabat’; the fortification had acquired the name ‘Ribatu I-Fath’, which meant ‘Stronghold of Victory’.
Today, the city is an important hub of tourism, and boasts of various forts and military fortifications, mosques, tombs, and so on.
In addition to this, the place is also a very important cultural center of the country.
The city serve as a capital of Morocco just once, with the city being designated as the capital of Morocco in the 18th century.
Capital of Morocco
It was designated so by the Alaouite sultan Muhammad ibn Abdallah, who set up the Dar al-Makhzan palace, from which he ruled the empire.
we have to add that this designation is largely unofficial, as the sultan often shifted the capital to other cities like Rabat, Marrakech, and Fez.
As a whole, Morocco is a great country to visit, if you happen to be into archaeological and historical sites.
With a legacy and history dating back thousands of years, this is one country that you would love to see.
And should you be visiting the country anytime soon, the Imperial cities of Morocco are one place that you shouldn’t be missing out on.
Video By: TourRadar