While Meknes doesn’t have the same huge number of stalls and goods as larger Moroccan cities, like Marrakech and Fez, there are still plenty of gifts and souvenirs to be found. The souks and markets in Meknes are less frenetic than those found elsewhere, giving you a chance to browse in a relatively unhurried and hassle-free atmosphere. Plus, prices are often lower than in the more touristy destinations. Here are some of the best traditional items to take home from Meknes.
The ancient technique of damascene is a speciality in Meknes; it is the only Moroccan city where artisans still produce striking metal items using this process. Thin pieces of precious metal, often silver, are embedded onto another metal to create eye-catching decorative items. Take a look at the damascene workshops in Meknes and buy something unique to the city while supporting local artisans at the same time.
Iron wares are an artisanal speciality in Meknes and you’ll see and hear craftspeople busily banging away in their workshops throughout the medina. Candle holders, small lamps, and ornaments are usually easy to slip into your luggage. If larger items, such as side tables, ornate chairs, and larger standing lamps, catch your eye, you can usually arrange for goods to be shipped home.
Along with Essaouira, Tetouan, and Sale, Meknes is one of the top cities in Morocco for producing exquisite woodwork. A wide array of carved items make lovely souvenirs, with small trinket boxes, keychains, ornaments, bowls, picture frames, and pieces of furniture among the things on offer. Marquetry is another type of woodwork common in Meknes. Different types of wood are woven together, or a veneer is applied, to create furniture, decorative items, pictures, and other attractive pieces. You can arrange for larger items to be sent home if you are unable to transport them yourself.
Pottery and ceramics
As with many of Morocco’s major cities and towns, many craftsmen make beautiful pottery in Meknes. The stalls by El Hedim Square have a large selection of traditional Moroccan pottery, including tagine pots in various sizes, dip pots, dishes, and vases. There are lots of other pottery stalls throughout the souks too.
Woven Moroccan carpets can be found almost everywhere in Morocco, and Meknes is no exception. Rug shops are plentiful in the souks and, with lower prices than other more visited cities, Meknes is an ideal place if you wish to purchase a colourful and detailed Moroccan carpet. However, do haggle to ensure that you receive the best price. Rug shops are especially plentiful in Souk Joutiya es Zerabi, with items from collectives in the Middle Atlas region.
Balgha – also referred to by their French name babouches sometimes – are traditional Moroccan slipper-like shoes. Although not unique to Meknes, the quality of hand-made balgha is usually good here, and the prices are often lower than in other cities. The style is often more similar to those produced in nearby Fez, with a toe that is more pointed than found on slippers produced in southern parts of the nation. Souk es Sebbat is a great place to browse and buy Moroccan slippers.
Large and small canvases show beautiful still scenes of local life and landmarks, all hand-painted by local artists. The paintings of nearby Volubilis are especially attractive and could make a handsome addition to a room or hallway of your home as well as a special gift.
The Meknes region is one of the main wine-producing areas in Morocco. There are several wineries and vineyards close to the city. Bottles of locally produced wine, including those from the high-class Château Roslane, are great gifts for wine connoisseurs. They are also delicious treats for yourself!
Have a great time discovering the many charms of Meknes and take home traditional souvenirs to remind you of your time in the old imperial city.