On the streets of Rabat: Top 7 attractions in the Moroccan capital
Modern Rabat, the capital of Morocco, is closer in style and rhythm to the dynamic, never-sleeping Casablanca than to the authentic Fes or Marrakech. However, Rabat, founded in the 12th century, has preserved many historic monuments, and the city itself, along with ancient medieval buildings and the relatively young center of the French protectorate, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here are the must-see sights in Rabat.
Rabat, or the “fortified monastery” in Arabic, has been the administrative center of Morocco since 1912. Clean, spacious and majestic, Rabat is fully consistent with the status of the royal capital. The family of the current ruler of Morocco, Mohammed VI, spends most of their time here.
The Royal Palace of Rabat, the official residence of King Mohammed VI, is the center of political life in the country. The large grounds of the palace complex include government buildings, the garden with its fountain, the main square, and the main palace itself, which was built in the mid-19th century.
The palace is a long two-story yellow-orange building with a green roof and small towers.
Next to the royal palace is a mosque Ahl-Fas, which is considered the court. Every Friday and on major holidays Mohammed VI prays here, accompanied by his family and courtiers.
The Mausoleum of Mohammed V
Near the Royal Palace is the Mausoleum of Mohammed V, in Moorish style. Three members of the royal family are buried here: Mohammed V, the first king of independent Morocco, and his two sons, King Hassan II and Prince Abdallah.
The Moroccans have been very revered Mohammed V, who has achieved for the country its independence from France in 1956. And after his death they decided to perpetuate the memory of the monarch by building a majestic mausoleum. For the construction of the mausoleum from Italy were specially brought one of the most valuable varieties of marble – Carrara. During the construction, special attention was paid to the interior decoration: the cedar ceiling was decorated with carvings and gilding, and on the walls the traditional Moroccan mosaic was placed.
Guard of Honor at the walls of Mohammed V Mausoleum
Hassan Tower, a 44 m high minaret with 360 stone columns of equal thickness, is a peculiar symbol of Rabat. It is the remainder of the unfinished construction of the largest mosque in the world conceived by the Caliph Yusuf Yaqub Al-Mansour in the 12th century. The mosque was never completed because of the untimely death of the Caliph.
Rabat Archaeological Museum
Rabat is rich in museums. There is a national museum of crafts, a museum of folk art, a museum of Moroccan art “Udaya”. One of the most visited is the archaeological museum. The museum, among other things, contains objects found during the excavations of the ancient Roman city of Volubilis, located near Meknes. Another pride of the museum is the collection of ancient bronze sculptures.
Kasbah of Udaya
Kasbah is the Maghreb name for the citadel.
The Kasbah of Oudaya (as they called the Arab hired soldiers to supervise the pirates) is the central part of the city, built by the Moors as a fortress, with white and blue narrow streets and luxurious flowerpots. It is home to about 3000 people and is the oldest mosque in Rabat, built in 1150. Under the observation deck is a restaurant in a former prison.
The narrow streets of the Kasbah Udayah View of the Rabat waterfront from the Kasbah Udayah
Not far from the Kasbah of Oudaya is the beautiful Andalusian Garden, built in the 20th century. The Andalusian Garden is considered one of the most valuable botanical gardens in the world. Its territory is constantly cared for, maintaining order. Here are home to many birds, storks, cats and in general there is a peaceful atmosphere, quite suitable for meditation.
Another historical monument of Morocco is the necropolis of Schella and the mosque-mausoleum of the Merinid dynasty with ancient structures and tombs made of local stone, with the ruins of the old town and part of the road. It is quite sparsely populated and smells like old times. The Necropolis is located along the picturesque valley of the Bu Regreg river, storks are now nesting on the minarets, and swallows nestle on the fortress walls. The views are spectacular and you can enjoy them in the midst of a verdant orchard of orange trees.
Rabat leaves a sense of grandeur and tranquility, clean and monumental, imbued with the spirit of Moroccan history.
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