On Morocco’s Atlantic coast, the capital Rabat is one of the most sophisticated metropolises in North Africa. The metropolis of the Kingdom of Morocco was founded in the 12th century and, as a royal city, is one of the most exciting capitals in northern Africa. Romans, Muslim dynasties, pirates and the French came to the port city, whose old town was significantly shaped by refugees from Andalusia in the 17th century. The medina of Rabat with its magnificent fortress wall is one of the sights of the metropolis. Here you will find an oriental hustle and bustle with many traditional cafes and restaurants. The Ville Nouvelle is also worth seeing as a new town. Here the French designed a colonial new town, which offers many boutiques and large green areas with the main street Avenue Mohammed V. To the south of the main street, among other things, the Place Jamaa Assouna is worth seeing. The government and residence quarter of the king is the modern quarter Agdal.
Tip 1: Hassan Tower
Quartier Hassan are some important sights that should not be missed when visiting the capital of Morocco. These include the unfinished mosque with the half-finished minaret, the so-called Hassan Tower. This tower is one of the landmarks of the city of Rabat. The name of the tower and the mosque does not come from King Hassan II, but is derived from al-Hasan ibn ʿAlī, the grandson of the Prophet.
The Hassan Tower was originally intended to reach a height of 80 meters, but the sudden death of the builder caused his successors to stop work on this monumental building. The current height of the tower reaches about 44 meters. The planned Great Mosque was a prestige project of the Almohad ruler al-Mansour, who wanted to create a monument for himself with this building. Parts of the wall, a forest of columns and the previously mentioned Hassan Tower can still be seen today. On the same site, opposite the tower, is the mausoleum of Mohammed V.
Tip 2: Mausoleum of Mohammed V
One of the most important monuments of the Moroccan capital Rabat is undoubtedly the Mausoleum of Mohammed V. The whole complex was designed by the Vietnamese architect Vo Toan and built by the best craftsmen of Morocco. It consists of the mausoleum, which is located to the east, and a portico to the west. Between them stretches the imposing funerary mosque.
Besides the revered King Mohammed V, who led the country to independence, his two sons King Hassan II and Prince Moulay Abdallah are also here. In the south of the complex, directly opposite the famous Hassan Tower, a memorial was built from 1961 to 1967 in honor of King Mohammed V, it is considered one of the most magnificent buildings of Islamic architecture in recent times.
Tip 3: Kasbah of the Udayas
As early as 1150, the three-story Kasbah of Udayas was built by the Almohads. More precisely, the Berber dynasty of the then ruling Almohads built the Kasbah of the Udayas with its strong fortification. The name Kasbah of Udayas is derived from its location on the Oudaia rock, the fortress is directly adjacent to the cemetery of the old town. Kabah means the fortress itself, so the official name of the site is Kasbah of the Udayas. In 2006, UNESCO declared the Kasbah of the Udayas a World Heritage Site. The entrance to Kasbah of the Udayas is considered to be the Bab el Quadaia gate, which is visible from afar and decorated on both sides.
It was not until the 17th century that the palace with its lush garden, which is still worth seeing today, was added. Due to the strategically very favorable position on the rocks and due to the strong defense walls, the Kasbah of Oudaia used to be very suitable for defending the city. Until today, the fortress walls are very well preserved and should definitely be visited as part of a trip through Morocco.
In the Kasbah of Udayas you feel transported to other times and experience the direct contrast to the modern city at the foot of the rocks. If there is still enough time, a short trip to the surrounding gardens, which frame the Kasbah of Udayas and are worth seeing all year round.
Tip 4: Chellah
Connoisseurs appreciate Chellah necropolis as one of the special sights of Morocco. It is commonly known as a place of the dead, which was robbed a very, very long time ago. To everyone’s horror, the site was ravaged in 1755, and since that day the atmosphere is hard to describe to anyone who has never been to this place of the dead. It has something mystical and yet worth seeing.
The view from the necropolis shows an impressive panorama of the surrounding towns and villages, which takes visitors’ breath away. This site is always worth a trip and you will surely never forget the sight.
Tip 5: Medina of Rabat
As usual in Morocco, the medina (the old town) is the heart of the city. The medina of Rabat is not as large as in Fez or Marrakech and also not as strongly oriental. This is because it was not until the 17th century that refugees from Andalusia gave it its present appearance.
Accordingly, there are not so many historical buildings worth seeing in the medina. But the colorful bazaars hidden in the old town, the so-called souks, with their spice alleys and handicrafts are definitely worth a stroll.
To avoid getting lost, it’s best to orient yourself along the central axis, the covered Rue des Consuls with its many cafés and souvenir stores. The quieter alleys with fruit, vegetables and groceries branch off from it.
If you are looking for a high quality Berber carpet, you should visit the carpet market. Rabat is the center for selling the work of Berbers from all over the area.