The term Imperial Cities hints at the grandeur of these four cities: Fez, Marrakech, Meknes and Rabat. But to truly realize this, you will have to visit them in depth, enter their historical monuments, admire their majestic buildings… and enter the bustle of their lively medinas. In this section you will learn everything you need to know about them before your trip.
There are four Imperial Cities in Morocco: Fez, Marrakech, Meknes and Rabat. And they have not been chosen at random: they are the cities that, at some point in their history, have been capitals of the various Moroccan sultanates that, over time, have given rise to what we know today as the Kingdom of Morocco.
The four Imperial Cities are distant from each other, but are well connected by roadways and public and private transportation systems. For this reason, they can be part of a real tourist circuit and, in fact, are often promoted as a ‘whole’, since they are all declared World Heritage Sites by Unesco.
This is because, in addition to their past as a capital city, they have a number of common elements. The installation of the Court in them led to the construction of first class defensive structures, such as kasbahs and a great wall around the medina. In addition, mosques and madrasas or medersas (Koranic schools) also proliferated there.
And of course, none of them could miss the Royal Palace that hosted the residence of the sultan and his court, where not only the architecture of the palace itself and its pavilions, but also its gardens, so important in Muslim culture. In addition, the presence of viziers and other prestigious personalities favored the construction of other monumental palaces in the historic center.
In any case, each city is different, and that is what is really interesting. All have their own elements and reflect the splendor of the different periods of Moroccan history, so that with their visit the traveler will gain a better understanding of the past and present of the country.
That is why, in order to discover them, it is recommended to have a guide who can explain the history of each corner and monument, and who can give access to the most significant museums and visitable spaces.
Considered the cultural and spiritual capital of Morocco, it was also the political and economic capital of Morocco at different times in the past, especially under the Idrisid, Marinid and Wattassid dynasties. Its medina is one of the largest in the world, with neighborhoods full of personality and monuments of great beauty, in a magnificent state of preservation.
Known as the Red City, it was the capital during the Almoravid, Almohad and Saadid eras, and today it is the tourist capital of the country. There is no lack of reasons: its squares, mosques, palaces and gardens dazzle with their beauty. It is well equipped with museums and exclusive services for the premium traveler. And from there you can make numerous excursions.
The smallest of the four Imperial Cities, it was the jewel in the crown during the Alawite sultanate of Moulay Ismail. Many are the references to this character, and many are the monuments that are still standing today, ready to be admired by travelers interested in history, art and popular culture.
Current capital of Morocco since its independence in 1956, its role as the main administrative and power center dates back to the time of the French Protectorate. Since then, it has been a royal residence and imposing monuments linked to the Alaouite dynasty have been built, which are combined with earlier ones, such as the Kasbah of the Udayas and the Hassan Tower.