RAKEN Travel  >  Morocco  > The Imperial Cities

The Imperial Cities  :   Fez   Marrakesh   Rabat   Meknes

     

Fez

Marrakesh

Rabat

Meknes

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Four Moroccan cities bear the title "imperial", an allegiance to the "Sharifian Empire", the name the Sultanate of Morocco had during most of its history. These cities all have in common their deep roots in Moroccan history and the fact that they were, each in turn (some for several turns), the political capitals of the Sultanate and Empire.

A tour of the Imperial Cities is the best way to discover the rich and colourful culture of Morocco, the land which is known in the Arab World as "El Maghreb" - the land of the sunset, the most Western part of the Islamic Arab culture. 

To help you better understand the role these cities played in Morocco's history, you may orient yourself using the following timetable of the different dynasties that succeeded each other at the helm of the Moroccan kingdom :
 

Year Dynasty Events Capital city
681

Beginning of the Arab conquest of Morocco and introduction of Islam

788
809
The Idrissides

Fez founded by Idriss II

Fez
1055
1061-1107
The Almoravides

 
Reign of Youssef Ben Tachfine (founder of Marrakesh)


Marrakesh
1130 
1184-1199 
The Almohades 


Reign of Yacoub El Mansour  (building of the Hassan Tower in Rabat, the Koutoubia in Marrakesh and the Giralda in Seville)


Rabat
1258 
1269-1286 

1331-1351 
The Merinides


Reign of Abu Youssef Yacoub (building of Fez El Jedid)
Reign of Abu Hassan (building of the Chellah necropolis at Rabat)


Fez

Rabat
1554 
1578

1578-1603 
The Saadis


Battle of the Three Kings ends Portuguese rule
Reign of Ahmed El Mansour (Saadian tombs at Marrakesh)



Marrakesh
1664
1672-1727 
The Alaouites


Reign of Moulay Ismail (the builder of Meknes)


Meknes
The Alaouites later chose Fez and more recently Rabat as their capital.
The present king, Mohamed VI, is a descendent of the Alaouite dynasty.
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