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Rabat, the capital of Morocco

City of Rabat

Rabat is the capital of Morocco, its cultural and political center. Moreover, this is both an old Roman port, and a stronghold of the Almohads during their invasion of Spain (Ribat el-Fath, or “victory camp”, from which today’s name comes), and the base of pirates, and the capital of Morocco since 1912. Discover it with Marrakech desert tour 2 days.

General information

Rabat became the capital of the country in 1956 at the end of the 12th century near the remains of the ancient settlement of Sale, as an Arab military outpost. There, the Berber settlement of Sale has existed here since the 7th century. Now Sale is a satellite of Rabat. The defensive walls of Rabat, built of clay, have survived to this day.

Unlike the Europeanized Casablanca, the capital of Morocco is an eastern city, one of the centers of Arab culture and education. Furthermore, the Rabat Museum of Muslim Art contains the richest collections of oriental jewelry, tapestries, wooden sculptures, fabrics made of silk, wool, and gold brocade. Subsequently, Rabat is rich in historical sights – the Hassan Tower minaret (height 69 m), the Shellah fortress, the mausoleum of Muhammad V.

The old part of the city – Medina has a long history, covered with legends; she lives by her traditions, customs, crafts. Here, lace is knitted by hand, carpets, bedspreads are woven, round oriental poufs, copper and silver dishes are made. Moroccan carpets are famous all over the world. An exclusively Muslim population lives in Medina: handicraftsmen, tinkers, potters, shoemakers, peddlers of greenery.

The streets in Medina are like paths winding among undersized houses, shops, mosques. The old and new parts of the city are separated by a wall built in the 12th century. Not far from the Kasbah of Udaya (12th century)is the residence of the king. Every Friday, the king leaves his palace, heading to the Jamaa-Akhil-Fez mosque to pray. The departure ceremony is arranged magnificently and solemnly. There are many educational institutions in Rabat, blocks of Mediterranean-type villas, European commercial and administrative districts, Muslim mosques and oriental bazaars, green parks, and architectural monuments organically coexist.

Sights of Rabat

Shellah

Within the Merenid wall of Schella are the most impressive ancient monuments of Morocco. Surrounded by a garden of tropical plants are the remains of the ancient Roman Sala Colonia and the necropolis of the great leader of the Merenid dynasty, El Hassan. The gravestone of the powerful “black sultan” is located in a small walled mausoleum; his beloved wife Shams-ed-Doura (“Morning Light”) also rests there. An Englishwoman who converted to Islam. The guides will show you crumbling walls, pay attention to the slender minaret. To the right of the graves is a small pond, shaded by a banana tree. Women come here to feed the eels living in the water with eggs – it is believed that the performance of this rite will grant the ability to bear children. Boulevard Moussa Ibn Noussair. Open: daily 8.30-17.30. Paid entrance.

Kasbah des Oudaias

Successfully located at the very mouth of the Oueda, the kasbah of Udaya was built in the 12th century. Almohads. Its majestic main gate, Bab Udaya, is considered by some to be the most beautiful in the entire Islamic world. The recurring motif of palm leaves in their decor is designed not to impress, but to immerse in reflections. From the gate, walk along rue Jamaa street to the Platform (Platform). Three centuries ago, the estuary below was filled with pirate ships, luring merchant schooners to the sandy shore, where they were shot from the guns of the kasbah. Nearby is a small carpet workshop where you will be invited to sit next to the women immersed in work (for a fee). Use this company called Sahara Marrakech to buy a ticket there.

The former palace of Moulay Ismail is also located within the walls of the kasbah. Before the intriguing exposition of the Museum of Jewelry (Musee National des Bijoux) occupied its halls, the collection of the Museum of Moroccan Art was exhibited here. Moulay Ismail favored Rabat, his guard was stationed in the kasbah, consisting of mercenaries – representatives of the Udaya tribe.

Andalusian kasbah gardens are exquisite and immaculate. Here, surrounded by fragrant chaos of flowers and citrus trees, local women like to meet. Beyond the gate overlooking the estuary and the Sale, area is Cafe Maure, a cult establishment in Rabat that is especially popular with afternoon tea drinkers. Kasbah Udaya.

Tel.: (037) 73-15-37. Open: 10.00-16.00. Closed: incl. Entrance fee.

Mausoleum of Mohammed V (Mausolee de Mohammed V) and Hassan Tower (La Tour Hassan)

The Hassan Tower is all that remains of Morocco’s greatest monument to the Almohad dynasty. Its construction in honor of the victories won in Spain was about to start in 1195 by Yakub el-Mansur. The huge mosque was the largest in the world, but construction had to stop on the day of the death of El-Mansur in 1199. Its 50-meter minaret, which has to this day, unusually was at a place in the center of the prayer hall, was rising to a height of 80 m. There are six ramps at the top, designed so that the Sultan can drive up. Each of the four faces has its own pattern. Starting to restore 355 columns at the base of the minaret once the gigantic roof, by the 1755 Lisbon earthquake.

The opposite is the white mausoleum of King Hassan’s father, Mohammed V, who died in 1961. The luxurious Carrara marble tomb was with a great design by the Vietnamese architect Vo Toan. Its interior is the creation of Moroccan masters. Glorifying the man who gave the country independence. Nearby is a smaller sarcophagus with the body of King Hassan’s brother. Who died in 1983, and the grave of Hassan II himself, who died in 1999. Boulevard Abi Regreg. Open: daily 8.00-20.00. Access is free.

Medina

Rabat’s medina is thriving and surprisingly few tourists. That is to say, Rabat carpets are some of the best in the country, and you can find them on Consuls Street (rue des Consuls). The only street in the city was in the 19th century. foreign ambassadors were using the place to settle. At the end of the street is a modern crafts center where you can buy at a price about the same as what is for sale in the medina.

Archaeological Museum (Musee Archeologique)

Hiding behind the Mosquee As-Sounna, the Archaeological Museum of Rabat houses. Also, the greatest treasures of Morocco from the Roman period. Not to mention, the Hall of Bronze (Salle des Bronzes), for example, contains magnificent bronze statues from Volubilis. Including a 200-year-old bust of Yuba II, a figure of a muscular charioteer. And a realistically executed scene. A dog ready to pounce on a Roman postman. In the main hall, a majestic marble statue of Yuba’s son, Ptolemy. Is displaying, surrounded by collections of coins, skeletons, and Islamic tombstones.

Read also, what to see in Marrakech

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