Founded in the 11th century by the Almoravids as a military settlement, Meknes Morocco became a capital under Sultan Moulay Ismaïl (1672–1727), the founder of the Alawite dynasty.
The sultan turned it into a 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.
He installed under the old city a large prison to house Christian sailors captured on the sea, and also constructed numerous edifices, gardens, monumental gates, mosques (whence the city’s nickname of “City of a Hundred minarets”) and the large line of Medina wall, having a length of 40 kilometers (25 miles).
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