Founded in the eleventh century by the Almoravids as a military settlement, Meknes became a capital under Sultan Moulay Ismail (1672-1727), founder of the Alawite dynasty.

He made an impressive city in Moorish style, surrounded by high walls pierced by monumental gateways that shows today the harmonious blending of Islāmic and European styles in the seventeenth century Maghreb.