Meknes is a city in northern Morocco, located 130 kilometres from the capital Rabat and 60 kilometres from Fes. It is served by the A2 expressway between those two cities and by the corresponding railway. Meknes was the capital of Morocco under the reign of Moulay Ismail (1672 – 1727), before it was relocated to Rabat. The population is 950,322 (2006 estimate). It is the capital of the Meknes-Tafilalet region. Meknes is named after a Berber tribe which was known as Miknasa in the medieval Arabic sources.
The land upon which the city is founded and much of its surrounding territory came under the domination of the Roman Empire in 117 AD. The original community from which Meknes can be traced was an 8th century Kasbah, or fortress. A Berber tribe called the Miknasa settled there in the 10th century, and a town consequently grew around the fortress. Meknes saw its golden age as the imperial capital of Moulay Ismail following his accession to the Sultanate of Morocco.
Neighboring cities to the south: Azrou, connecting via the N13 road, is a cedar region with the noted "College d'Azrou" where many members of the post-independence elite derived); and Ifrane (Al Akhawayn University). Volubilis (Oualili) is about half an hour to the north, a ruined Roman town.