Morocco Tours by Erlebnis Tours Maroc






  
  
  
     
     
     
     







       
 

Rabat

Introduction

Morocco's capital, Rabat, is a modern city with wide boulevards, gardens and light, white buildings, for the most part a far cry from the hectic warrens of the other Imperial cities of Marrakech and Fez, but no less steeped in history with its origins going back to the 7th century. The King of Morocco lives here in his palace amid trees and flowers. Being an administrative capital the city is somewhat conservative and serious, but there is some local colour to be found in the old part of the city, the Medina, and the Kasbah. Recreational opportunities abound too, with a world-renowned golf course (the Dar Es Salaam Course) and a few lovely beaches at hand. Rabat sits on the Atlantic coastal plain at the mouth of the river Bou Regreg, opposite to its twin city of Sale.

The city contains several of Morocco's major educational institutions, including Mohammed V University, the National Conservatory of Music, Dance and Dramatic Arts, and institutes of agricultural, public administration and applied economics studies. Rabat is also one of Morocco's many outstanding tourist attractions.

Things to See & Do

Five major gates stand at the entrances to Rabat, all decorated with ornate festoons, tracery and floral arabesques and large shells. Bab er-Rouah (Gate of the Winds) is the finest. Monumental and magnificent, it regularly houses exhibitions. You will probably have the opportunity of seeing one while you are there.

  

The beaches of Harhoura, Temara, Sables d'Or, Sid Abed,Val d'Or, Kasbah, Rose Marie, Skhirat and Bouznika are the surf spots of Rabat.

The Medina
Rabat’s medina, or old city, was created by Andalucian Muslim refugees from Badajoz in Spain, and was essentially all there was to the city until the arrival of the French in 1912 and the subsequent building of the Ville Nouvelle or new quarter. The medina is small and not as interesting or attractive as the old city sections of Fez or Marrakech, however the foundouks (traditional cafes) and shops make for a lively atmosphere. Souika Street is the main artery through the medina, where you will find the leather sellers at the Sebbat souk (footwear bazaar). In Consules Street, shops sell curiosities, souvenirs and Moroccan craft items such as copper and embroidery and the famed Rabat carpets.

Archaeological Museum
An exceptional collection of Roman bronzes dating from the 1st and 2nd centuries and recovered from the site at Volubilis takes pride of place at Rabat's Archaeological Museum. Other artefacts unearthed at sites of Phoenician, Carthaginian and Roman settlements around Morocco are displayed on the two floors of the museum.
Opening time: Daily 9am to 11.30am, and 2.30pm to 5.30pm; closed Tuesdays.

Hassan Mosque
The massive minaret of the Hassan Mosque, dating from 1195, towers over Rabat, although the huge mosque itself was never entirely completed and was largely destroyed in an earthquake in 1755. The minaret is unusually sited at the centre of the mosque building and was intended to be 262ft (80m) high, though it stands today at 164ft (50m). Each façade of the minaret is intricately patterned with different motifs on each face. Opposite the Hassan Mosque is the Mausoleum of Mohammed V, one of the great monuments of modern Morocco, inaugurated in 1967. The deceased king lies entombed in white onyx, surrounded by royal guards, and hundreds of Moroccans pay homage by filing through the mausoleum each day.

 

Kasbah des Oudaïas
An airy 'village within the city', the Kasbah is a pleasant place to take a stroll to admire some interesting architecture and see some sights. The Kasbah was the Alhomad citadel of medieval Rabat, and is guarded by an impressive arched gate built around 1195. Inside the Kasbah is the palace museum and Andalucian gardens, as well as a broad terrace, which gives beautiful views of the river and sea close to the city's oldest mosque, the Kasbah Mosque, founded in 1050. Below the terrace are several fortifications with gun emplacements guarding the estuary, and even further below is a beach, usually crowded with local people.

The Palace Museum & Andalusian Gardens
The Palace in the Kasbah on the Rue Bazzo dates from the 17th century and was built by Moulay Ismail after he subdued the pirate republic of Rabat and took over the kasbah as a garrison for the Oudaias, a Saharan tribe who formed the bulk of his mercenary army. Today the palace, a beautiful classic building, houses the Museum of Moroccan Arts featuring exhibits such as Berber jewellery, costumes and local carpets.

The Andalusian Gardens surround the Palace Museum and was constructed in the 20th century by the French. It is the meeting place for women on Friday and Sunday afternoons and is filled with the lovely scents of trees, bougainvillea, herbs and flowers.
Opening time: Daily 9am to 12pm, and 3pm to 5.30pm; closed Tuesdays.

Not to be Missed

The Necropolis of Chellah
Emerging from the boulevards of the Ville Nouvelle (new town) of Rabat one comes across the ruins of Chellah, once the thriving walled Roman port city of Sala Colonia, abandoned in 1154 in favour of Sale across the other side of the river mouth. In the time of the Almohads the site was used as a royal burial ground. The Merenid Sultan Abou El Hassan added some monuments and the striking main gate during his reign in the mid-14th century. Just inside the gate are the Roman ruins dating from 200 BC, which includes a forum, a temple and a craftsmen's quarter.

 

Volubilis
Volubilis, near the Moroccan town of Meknes, sited between Rabat and Fez, was a central Roman administrative city in Africa from around the 3rd century BC, built atop a previous Carthaginian city. Volubilis was unique in that it was not abandoned after the Romans lost North Africa to the Arabs and even the Latin language lived on in the area for several centuries. Volubilis remained inhabited until the 18th century, when it was demolished to provide building materials for the palaces of Moulay Ismail in nearby Meknes, which meant that a great deal of the Roman architectural heritage was lost. Today the ruins consist of some well-preserved columns, a basilica, a triumphal arch and about 30 high quality mosaics.

 

Potter's Village
A favourite with visitors, this is a real living village dedicated entirely to this age-old art. Ask for anything and the master craftsmen will produce it with amazing speed and precision.

Enquiries & Booking

To enquire about or to book a personalised private tour to include Rabat, please call us on +44(0)7713 615829 or send an email to enquiries@erlebnis-tours-maroc.com to discuss your itinerary and prices.
 

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