During the reign of Sultan Moulay Ismail, between 1645 and 1727, the medieval city of Meknes served as Morocco’s capital. While his royal palace was largely destroyed by the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, the adjacent Royal Stables have survived to this day, beautifully preserved, though seven times their original size.
It’s a magnificent stabling complex, and back in its day it could accommodate up to 12,000 royal horses. Rumor has it that the sultan so loved horses that he treated them better than people. If that’s true, it’s no wonder that each horse had its own groom and a slave to take care of it. Both the horses and their stables were kept spotless.
Not surprisingly, the horses had plenty to eat and clean water to drink. Adjacent to the Royal Stables is Heri es Souani, massive granary built over a reservoir. To maintain constant circulation of air and keep temperatures cool, the granary had thick walls and small windows at ceiling level, and it is considered a great work of architecture. It’s large enough to store 20 years worth of grain.
Know Before You Go
The Royal Stables of Meknes are open daily from 9 am to noon and from 3 pm to 6:30 pm. The entrance fee is 10 dirhams.