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Lawrence of Morocco

Lehdim Square

Lehdim or El hedim square is the center of activity for the medina of Meknes. It is at the junction between the old medina and the Royal Palace and the imperial city. At one end of the square is the famous gate Bab Mansour which is in many ways the symbol of Meknes and also one of the main tourist attractions. At the opposite end, to the north, is Dar Jamai museum which houses extraordinary pieces in an even more amazing palace.
The western side of the square is a covered market which is absolutely fascinating. You will find fresh fruit and vegetables, meat and poultry, bread and cakes, druit fruits and spices of all types but also live turtles and cameleons !
Our riad is on the eastern side of the square and our terrace offers an ideal view of all the activity below.
The square gained its name when it was used as a deposit for building materials and rubble of all sorts when the imperial city of Meknes was being built by Moulay Ismail. I have been told 'place lehdim' means 'the square of rubble' or 'the square of demolition'. A lot of the building materials taken from Volubilis to build up the imperial city were stored here.
Throughout the years, the square has adopted many aspects and functions. I have seen photos where it was a gateway into the medina with merchants on all sides. In other photos it was used as a car park. All types of trees, fountains and lamp posts have been placed there. Three years ago, I witnessed its latest metamorphosis. It is now a large paved open space.
Its aspect changes throughout the different periods of the year and also of each day. In summer it is a bustling market with restaurants, orange juice vendors and story tellers. During the day, it is an ideal place to have a light snack or some mint tea and observe the rhythm of life in the medina of Meknes.

This view is from the terrace of Riad Felloussia

You might also find interesting the following links :

Meknes Today - a new site dedicated to Meknes that just popped up on the internet.

Meknes, On the Traces of Marrakech - Great article in the North Afrika Times

Photo Gallery - By Alfred Molon in Germany

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