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Imperial Cities

Where the full magnificence of Morocco's history is expressed

The term ‘Imperial Cities’ hints at the grandeur of these four cities: Fez, Marrakech, Meknes, and Rabat. But to truly appreciate this, you’ll have to visit them thoroughly, enter their historical monuments, admire their majestic constructions… and immerse yourself in the bustling life of their medinas. In this section, you will find everything you need to know about them before your trip.

Table of Contents

What are the Imperial Cities of Morocco

The Imperial Cities of Morocco are four: Fez, Marrakech, Meknes, and Rabat. They have not been chosen at random: these are the cities that, at some point in their history, have been capitals of the different 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 communication routes and public and private transportation systems. Therefore, they can feature in a real tourist circuit and, in fact, are often promoted as a ‘whole’, given that all of them are declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.

This is because, in addition to their past as capitals, they share a series of common elements. The establishment of the Court in these cities led to the construction of first-level defensive structures, such as kasbahs and a great wall around the medina. In addition, mosques and madrasas (Koranic schools) also proliferated in them.

And of course, in none of them could the Royal Palace that housed the residence of the sultan and his Court be absent, where not only the architecture of the palace itself and its pavilions stood out, but also its gardens, so important in Muslim culture. Additionally, 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 truly interesting. All have their own elements and reflect the splendor of different periods of Moroccan history, so that by visiting them, the traveler will gain a better understanding of the country’s past and present.

That is why, to discover them, it is recommended to have a guide who can explain the history of each corner and monument, and who can provide access to the most significant museums and visitable spaces.

Destinations in this area

What to see in Fez


Considered the cultural and spiritual capital of Morocco, it was also a political and economic capital at different times in the past, especially with the Idrisid, Marinid, and Wattasid dynasties. Its medina is one of the largest in the world, with neighborhoods full of personality and monuments of enormous beauty, in an excellent state of preservation.



Known as the Red City, it was the capital during the Almoravid, Almohad, and Saadi periods, and today is the country’s tourist capital. There are plenty of reasons: its squares, mosques, palaces, and gardens dazzle with their beauty. It is very well equipped with museums and exclusive services for the premium traveler. And from there, numerous excursions can be made.



The smallest of the four Imperial Cities, it was the crown jewel during the Alaouite Sultanate of Moulay Ismail. There are many references to that figure, and many monuments still stand today, ready to be admired by travelers most interested in history, art, and popular



The 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 the royal residence and impressive monuments related to the Alaouite dynasty have been built, which are combined with earlier ones, such as the Kasbah of the Udayas and the Hassan Tower.

Other destinations

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