The most modern of the ancient capitols of Morocco, we skipped over Meknes in our first pass through Morocco in favor of Fes and Marrakesh. While Meknes is an old city, its heyday was in the 17th century when the brutal Sultan Moulay Idriss turned it into his capitol. It's told that he regularly supervised the work on his palace and the city walls himself. He would tour the works with a pickax and whip, and workers whose efforts mildly displeased he would flog, while those whose skills were sorely lacking would be pickaxed and their bodies thrown into the setting walls (management techniques Jim can appreciate). As much of the work on Meknes is newer than Fes or Marrakesh, the city is well preserved and fun to tour.
As many tourists give Meknes a miss, it turns out to be a city free of many of the touts and hassles of some of the tourist hells we've seen in Morocco. Also, the restaurants are surprisingly good and affordable. No one tried to cheat us while we were in Meknes, and waiters and taxi drivers tried to hand back tips we gave them. It renewed our sorely tested faith in Moroccans.
Also, the forty days mourning over King Hassan II's death ended on our last day in Meknes (the 31st). While strict muslims even in Morocco don't drink, most Moroccans turn out not to be so strict. They were hoopin' and hollerin' that Tuesday evening until all hours, and Wednesday morning was nice and quiet as everyone nursed their hangovers.