Morocco is full of oriental traditions and rites. But Rabat, with its magnificent squares, majestic gardens, graceful tombs and winding old town, is the country's true cultural capital. What's more, music is big here in northwestern Morocco, and the air is often filled with joyful sounds and rhythms from around the world. All this makes Rabat a charming place where the treasures of the past blend with modern achievements.
A city within a city
An incomplete minaret
A green oasis
The fortress of Udayas is 'a city within a city' and picturesquely located at the mouth of the Bou Regreg River. Since the 12th century, the strategically positioned castle has housed Arab tribes, Andalusian immigrants and some of Morocco's most powerful sultans. The entrance, with its long staircase, is so imposing that you are transported directly to a time long forgotten. The inside of the Kasbah, however, is at least as impressive. Explore the winding alleys, visit Rabat's oldest mosque, one of the beautiful gardens or one of the exquisite museums. Nostalgia at its best on your holiday in Rabat!
The Hassan Tower is an incomplete minaret that would go on to become the second largest mosque in the Islamic world in the 12th century. The huge marble floor and the columns next to the tower indicate the monumental dimensions of the planned mosque. From the outside, the minaret is decorated with magnificent Islamic calligraphy. The interior was designed with ramps rather than stairs so that animals could be used to transport building materials. The incomplete tower contrasts interestingly with the magnificent completeness of the adjacent mausoleum, built in honor of the late King Muhammad V. Both places deserve your attention.
In the middle of the Kasbah, you will find a small green oasis. Between limestones and paved streets, you can explore the very carefully designed formal Andalusian garden. The paths of the garden are lined with red hibiscus, hedges, date palms and vines. The garden is part of the old palace grounds, where you will also find the Palace Museum. The park is an ideal retreat where you can enjoy the scents of the oleander, orange, lemon and banana trees.
Morocco doesn't just have picturesque mountain ranges, seemingly endless sand dunes and good food. It also offers really interesting ancient sites where a visit is not to be missed on your holiday in Rabat. One such site is the ruins of the ancient Roman city of Sala Colonia (called Chellah). Unlike Rabat, the red stones of Chellah are not painted blue/white. Even though the ruined city is hundreds of years old, you can still read many ancient carvings and the decorative archways and ornate tiles remain impressively intact. The tranquil setting, with its extensive gardens and freshwater springs, has also become an ideal breeding ground for storks.
Mechouar is actually just the square in front of the Royal Palace in Rabat, where you can rest and take in the palace. The palace was built in 1864 and is the main residence of the King of Morocco. Mechouar Square is also used for public gatherings and festivals. The palace also has a royal guard that stands guard outside the palace walls. However, the guards are said to be much friendlier and more helpful than their English siblings. Less