As far as sheer size and choice are concerned, the souks of Meknes's medina don't match up to others in Morocco. What they do offer, however, is a relatively hassle-free shopping experience. Browsing the area to the north of place el Hedim can be both enjoyable and rewarding. Carpets and babouches especially are of high quality and reasonable price here, and make sure to seek out the one true specialty of Meknes -- souvenirs decorated with silver damascene. The souks are open daily from 9am to late, sometimes closing for midday prayers and lunch on Friday.

For fresh produce and flowers, go to the Central Marché on the north side of avenue Hassan II, between rue Tetouan and rue Omar Ibn Aïss, in the ville nouvelle. Fodassi Mini-Marché is opposite the market's entrance on rue Omar Ibn Aïss and sells everyday grocery items, toiletries, and alcohol. It's open Monday to Saturday 8am to 6pm and Sunday noon to 6pm. The modern Label' Vie supermarket is on a below-ground level of the Label' Gallery shopping center, corner of avenue Moulay Youssef and boulevard Ibn Khaldoune, in the ville nouvelle. It's open daily 9am to 9pm. Signposted on the road between the Meknes-Fes toll highway and the city is Marjane Hypermarket (tel. 0535/520385), open daily from 9am to 9pm.

Covered Market (Marché Couvert) -- Along the west side of place el Hedim is the medina's covered market, which is an attack of the senses. Under this one roof are olive stalls, herboristes, pet shops, spice sellers, butchers, live chickens, and confectionery stalls. The shops between the covered market and place el Hedim sell a good range of pottery, musical instruments, and souvenirs.

Silver Damascene -- Kissaria Lahrir is the traditional souk for silver damascene work. Thin, silver threads are slowly tapped into designs on pieces of steel and then attached to all forms of pottery. It's a delicate art that is sadly beginning to die away as consumer tastes have turned away from this style of decoration. There are, however, a few shops in the Kissaria to the southeast of Bouinania Medersa that continue on with the craft. Abderrazak el Bettani's L'Art des Villes Imperiales, 2 Derb Hammam, between place Lalla Aouda and rue Palais (tel. 0535/553740), is below Restaurant Salma and has a good selection of jewelry, souvenirs, and pottery decorated in silver damascene. Most of the figurines -- elephants, antelope, peacocks, horses, lions, kangaroo -- are painted black so that the silver damascene stands out.

Souk es Sebbat -- The area behind the Dar Jamaï Museum on place el Hedim is where you'll find the best babouches in Meknes. Each tall, narrow stall has row upon row of colored babouches -- pointed and yellow for men and petite and multicolored for women. Expect to pay around 150dh for a quality, handmade pair.

Souk Joutiya es Zerabi -- Just west of Souk es Sebbat is the carpet souk. Here you'll find carpets from Middle Atlas cooperatives. The quality is quite high -- 360,000 double knots per square meter (11 sq. ft.) and up to 8 months' work for one woman to produce a 1.8 x 2.8m (6 x 9-ft.) carpet.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.