Morocco imperial cities tours 8 days

Tour Details

Morocco is another world, never failing to amaze visitors with its mesmerizing and refreshing culture.

The jewels in its crown are Rabat, Meknes, Fez and Marrakesh: its four imperial Cities, so called because each of them was once capital city of this amazing country with an absolute wealth of different things to experience.

The Imperial Cities Tour begins in Fez city with a visit of the spiritual capital of Morocco.

View some of the best-preserved Roman architecture in Rabat and Volubilis.

Enjoy Fez, the religious capital of Morocco before passing to the “Red City” of Marrakech.

Walk through the colorful streets of the old quarter of Marrakech before returning back to  Casablanca or any other city of your choice.

This 8 days tour covers the most important imperial cities in Morocco.

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Day 1 : Arriving in Casablanca City

You’ll bet met by our Driver in the airport, he will drive  you to the  hotel.

First we will start the visit by  the Mosque of Hassan II.

Infos ( Visiting hours: 9H, 10H, 11H and 14H every day except Friday)

Casablanca is home to the Hassan II Mosque, designed by the French architect Michel Pinseau.

It is situated on a promontory looking out to the Atlantic, which can be seen through a gigantic glass floor with room for 25,000 worshippers.

Its minaret is the world’s tallest at 210 meters.

It is an enormous architectural masterpiece and the second largest religious building in the world.

The Mosque of Hassan II’s promontory offers lovely views overlooking Casa in the residential Afna quarter.

Continue the visit at Parc de La Ligue Arabe, a huge garden with avenues lined with tall palm trees, ficus, arcades, pergolas and flower beds.

See the squala in our road , a fortified 18th century bastion.

Moving north, work your way through the Place Mohammed V and the Place des Nations Uniones, the main focal points of Ville Novelle, Casa’s new town.

See French architecture complemented with Moorish design in Place Mohammed V, the protectorate square.

Visit the New Town of Casablanca designed by the French architect Henri Prost for an hour of shopping.

The main streets of the New Town (Ville Nouvelle in French) radiate south and east from Place des Nations Unies, where the main market of Anfa had been.

Former administrative buildings and modern hotels populate the area.

Their style is a combination of Hispano-Mauresque and Art Deco styles.

The Boulevard links Place des Nationes with the railway station and is the gateway to the central market.

Continue a short way to the Avenue des Forces Royal, a commercial area that leads into the old medina.

With the help of your Driver, travel the labyrinth of narrow streets lined until your hotel.

We recommend you in The Famous Restaurant Rick’s Cafe, It’s is a restaurant, bar and cafe.

Opened in March 1, 2004, the place was designed to recreate the bar made famous by Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in the movie classic Casablanca.

Set in an old courtyard-style mansion built against the walls of the Old Medina.

Overnight in Casablanca.

Day 2 : From Casablanca to Rabat.

After breakfast depart to Rabat.

Rabat  is a main university town and the capital of the Kingdom of Morocco.

The city is located on the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of the Bou Regreg River.

During your one day tour you will learn Rabat’s history and enjoy its beautiful domes, minarets, wide avenues and green spaces.

Your guide will escort you on a walk around the picturesque Almohad northern walls of the Udayas Kasbah.

The kasbah was built to protect the city and is enclosed by ramparts dating from the Almohad period.

Visit Bab Oudaïa, a monumental gate and example of Almohad military architecture.

See the Udayas  Museum , Moulay Ismaïl’s palace exhibiting collections of Moroccan folk art.

Before moving on to city medina, relax in the Moorish style Andalusian garden.

Walk the famous and lively Rue des Consuls where foreign consuls were once obliged to live.

After lunch, continue to the Hassan  tower, which stands on the hill overlooking the Wadi Bou Regreg.

It is a gigantic mosque, emblematic of Rabat and famous for its unfinished minaret where storks nest.

Next door, visit the beautiful Mausoleum of Mohammed V decorated with stained glass windows, white marble and a wrought-iron entryway with a stairway leading to an impressive dome.

Now we Move In the necropolis of Chellah, where so many  vestiges of the Roman town of Sale.

Visit the Archaeological Museum, which houses the most extensive collection of archeological artifacts and the unbelievably beautiful Necropolis at Chellah.

Continue our visit to the The majestic Royal Palace is located in the heart of Rabat and is open to the public.

From the outside it is an imposing building and one can also discover the beauty of the palace exploring inside.

In front of the Royal Palace is the personal mosque of King.

The building is a fine example of Islamic architecture that was built in 1864 and is surrounded by a wall with three gates well protected access.

Visitors can also visit the area known as the Mechouar, where the king led the Friday prayers and green and beautiful gardens surrounding the palace.

The street leading to the main square and the palace entrance are lined with well cared fortrees.

Also on the list is Ville Nouvelle ( New city ).

The new town has wide boulevards, open green spaces and avenues lined with residential blocks, a railroad, the Bank of Morocco, Musée de la Poste and the cathedral Saint-Pierre.

Spend the night in Rabat, the Capital of Morocco.

Day 3 : From Rabat to Meknes and Fez

After breakfast, you begin your tour of Meknes  Bab Lekhmiss, then the jewish quarter calle El mellah.

Hri Souani : One of the prestigious Historic Monuments of Meknes, located about 500 m south of the Royal Palace and the place Mechouar, it dates from the time of Moulay Ismail in the early eighteenth century.

It groups a series of relatively cramped room around a spacious central hall 26m, 30 long / 10m, 70 of width. and 9m in height. It was a place for food storage. It contains 10 rooms with ten wells norias.

These well fed at the time as well as the building Souani basin, large water tank constituting the monument with a single entity.

It is a building composed of huge vaulted silos, built largely stores; it is covered terrace supported by huge pillars.

The thickness of the walls ensured a constant temperature that facilitated the preservation of food. Deep wells of several tens of meters provided, using a system of Norias powered by animals, water needed when the dominance of Dar El Ma (water house).

Now we move to  The mausoleum of Moulay Ismail : The visit to the mausoleum of Moulay Ismail is permitted for non-Muslims (except access to the tomb of the ruler).

This mausoleum was built in 1703 and shows a particularly beautiful cedar painted ceiling mosaics on which figuent Koranic scriptures.

Now we will pass through the triumphal arch.

Standing at sixteen meters high with an eight meter long arch, the intricately patterned triumphal arch is argued to be the most beautiful in Morocco.

Enter Place El-Hedime (Square of Ruins) which links the medina and the kasbah.

The square is lined with modern residential buildings and a covered food souk (market).

Among the most impressive elements of this imperial city is the grand gate named after the architect, El-Mansour, a Christian renegade who converted to Islam.

The design of the gate plays with Almohad patterns.

It has zellij mosaics of excellent quality.

The marble columns were taken from the Roman ruins of Volubilis.

Return to Fez city to your riad or hotel for the night.

Day 4 : Fez to Moulay Idriss and th Roman City Volubilis

After breakfast we’ll leave Fez, our driver will take you from the hotel through a beautiful countryside road to explore the breathtaking archaeological ruins of the Roman city of Volubilis Founded in the 3rd century BC, after a quick stop in panoramic view in Oulad Shaker reservoir.

The ruins remained substantially intact until they were devastated by an earthquake in the mid-18th century and subsequently looted by Moroccan rulers seeking stone for building Meknes.

It was not until the latter part of the 19th century that the site was definitively identified as that of the ancient city of Volubilis.

During and after the period of French rule over Morocco, about half of the site was excavated, revealing many fine mosaics, and some of the more prominent public buildings and high-status houses were restored or reconstructed.

Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, listed for being “an exceptionally well preserved example of a large Roman colonial town on the fringes of the Empire”.

Now We move to  Moulay Idriss Zerhoun city, where there is the mausoleum of Moulay Idriss  the 1st  the father of the  founder of Fez city, one of the holiest cities in Morocco.

Spend the night in Fez city.

Day 5 : Fez el-Bali and Fez el-Jedid

You will be met by your guide after breakfast.

We’ll start the visit by exploring the royal palace and many interesting quarters including the Moulay Abdalllah Quarter, the Mellah (Jewish Quarter) and a little farther down south lies the Fez el-Jedid, a kasbah which functioned as Morocco’s administrative center until 1912.

Now we are moving to see the southern Tower including The Musée des Armes, a fortress that once protected Fez.

Enter the Fez el-Bali through the symmetrical horse shoe arches at Bab Boujeloud (The Blue Gate).

Fez el-Bali, best characterized as a sea of rooftops embellished with minarets and domes, is too narrow for cars.

Aside from walking, donkeys and mules are still the best way to travel within the cities old walls.

Upon entering Rue Talaa Kebira, the main street in the medina, you will see lines of shops covered by canopies.

Make your way to the Karaouiyine Mosque.

Located in the Karaouiyine quarter, the Mosque is one of the oldest in the world and functioned as the first university in Morocco.

After we will continue along the streets which will lead you to some of Fez’s most important buildings including Dar el-Magana, a fourteenth century water clock and Zaouia el Tijaniya, containing the tomb of Ahmed el Tijani, who spread his infamous doctrine Tariqqa el-Tijaniya (The Way) throughout Morocco.

We will also stop to visit the Ech Cherabliyine Mosque (Mosque of the Slipper makers) then browse the souks selling henna, slippers, caftans, silks, jewelry and spices.

Next onto the UNESCO recognized site, Fondouk el-Najjarine.

Within the foundouk’s three floors is the Wood Museum (Musée de Bois), which displays carved doors from the Bou Inania Medersa.

we will visit the Musée Dar el- Batha to view the great collection of pottery, leather-work, wood, books and manuscripts from the nineteenth century.

Explore the Andalusian quarter, a residential part of the medina laced with monuments.

Within the medina, we will the following historical sites:

Medersa Bou Inania: An (Islamic school) founded by Abu Inan Faris that is highly decorated from floor to ceiling.

The medersa is one of the few religious places in Morocco that is accessible to non-Islamic tourists.

Kairaouine Mosque: Morocco’s second largest mosque was built by Fatima in 857.

The Kairaouine Mosque became the home of the West’s first university and the world’s foremost center of learning at the beginning of the second millennium.

University of Al-Karaouine: Founded in 859, this university is one of the leading spiritual and educational centers of the Muslim world and is considered the oldest continuously operating institution of higher learning in the world.

Medersa el Attarin: A (Koranic school) that was named for local spice merchants known as attar.

Founded by Sultan Abou Saïd in the 14th century as a students’ dormitory, it is attached to the Kairaouine Mosque.

Zaouia Moulay Idriss II: A zaouia (shrine) dedicated to and the tomb of Moulay Idriss II, who ruled Morocco from 807 to 828 and founded the city of Fès for the second time in 810.

Dar Batha: A Hispano-Moorish palace dating from the end of the 19th century that houses admirable collections of traditional art from Fez City.

Spend the night in Fez.

Day 6 : From  Fez to Marrakech by visiting Beni Mellal

After breakfast depart to Marrakech across the atlas mountains and Beni Mellal.

You’ll see and enjoy the beautiful nature and the amazing views of cedar forests on the way as we stop by Ifrane city .

We’ll visit the Barbary Apes through another beautiful and scenic city named Azrou.

Now in Beni Mellal,  a modern town surrounded by orange and olive groves.

The nearby Bin-el-Ouidane Dam keeps the groves and other cultivated crops like Beetroot and sugarcane well watered.

Enjoy a traditional  lunch in Beni Mellal.

Located at the foot of the Middle Atlas Moutains, Beni Mellal is on the edge of the great Tadla Plain where cereals are cultivated.

The town has an interesting history; it was known successively as Day, Kasbah Belkouche and now, Beni Mellal.

It was inhabited by the Berbers and Jews before the arrival of Islam.

In the 13th century Beni Mellal stood on the border between the kingdoms of Fez and Marrakech, which were the objects of dispute between the Merinid and Almohad dynasties.

In 1680 Moulay Idriss built a kasbah in Beni Mellal.

The surrounding area has many waterfalls, springs, caves and wooded gorges populated by monkeys.

Moving on we can stop at the Kasba Tadla, the focal point of a garrison town built by Moulay Ismaïl in the 17th century.

Continue to Marrakesh where you will stay the night.

Day 7 : Marrakech and the Old Medina of Marrakech

In Marrakesh after breakfast we’ll start by visiting the Medina, the old quarter of Marrakech.

From here we will explore this historically charming area by foot.

In Djemma el Fna, you will visit the famous 12th century Koutoubia Mosque and its influential minaret.

Your guide will lead you through the labyrinth streets and alleys of the Djemma.

Enjoy aromatic smells, taste fresh squeezed orange juice and venture into the souks specializing in Berber carpets, silver jewelry, artisan workshops, handmade shoes and tanneries.

Marrakech is a city of underground channels built by the architects from Cordoba, Spain to provide water for the town and Palmery.

We will drive to the Lower Medina to explore more of Marrakech’s secrets : El Mansour mosque, the sixteenth century Saadian Tombs with its stark towers, the ruined 16th century El Badhi palace, and the Mellah (the Jewish quarter).

We will head north of the Mellah to visit the 19th century Bahia palace, originally built for Si Moussa, a former slave who became King Moulay Hassan’s chamberlain.

The palace holds a courtyard and riads decorated with beautiful carved stucco, Arabic architecture.

Now onward to the new city, we will navigate our way to French, Gueliz and head to the Majorelle Gardens, a magical and lush small garden estate designed by Jacque Majorelle and maintained by Yves Saint Laurent.

The Majorelle Garden is filled with colorful walkways, ponds, cactus and plants as well as a beautiful shop with hand-made goods.

On our return to your hotel, we will pass by the La Mammounia Hotel Garden (where Alfred Hitchcock wrote the famous film The Birds).

Day 8 : Transfer to the airport

This ends your Morocco Travel experience and transfer back to your destination of choice Casablanca or Fez to your home country.

 

Itinerary

 

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