Rabat – The enchanting capital of Morocco
Rabat is both the political and administrative capital of Morocco. But if you are envisioning a city buzzing with travelers, then you should know that tourists who flock to Morocco are mostly interested in seeing the more renowned destinations Fez and Casablanca. Rabat, therefore, often gets neglected. But this is the best part about Morocco’s capital. If you have spent time in the busy Casablanca or the overcrowded Fez, then a visit to Rabat will feel like a cool breeze in the beautiful park.
Rabat is quiet and serene, with small neighborhoods from where white and blue colored lanes pass, reminding one of Greek city Santorini. The city’s lanes are tight yet big enough to be walkable, and most of the distances can be covered by foot. Rabat is known for its historic places, and the name Rabat itself means a place that is fortified. Its name can be traced back to the 12th century, when its rulers considered this a place a strategic importance, and hence named it likewise. This city is situated on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, and allowed the kingdom to keep an eye on enemies trying to attack from the ocean.
Rabat has a 60 kilometer coastline bordering the Atlantic, and on the other side of the coast is the city of Sale. Together, these two are known as the ‘Twin Cities’. Because of its geographical location, it is well known for its ecological tourism. The beaches along the coastline are still pure and unspoiled, and there is a 12th century Kasbah at the mouth of the river Bou Regreg. Due to its location and proximity to the ocean, the temperatures remain fairly pleasant throughout the year to allow tourism at any given point.
Having been the capital right since ancient times, some of Rabat’s famous tourist destinations include the palace and the Mausoleum of Mohammed V. The palace was built in the 18th century when the French occupied Morocco and asked the ruler Mohammed IV to be stationed at one place. Till today, the palace remains guarded. But you can enter from one gate and leave from another, experiencing the beautiful Andalusian gardens along the way.
Morocco’s Roman connections can be witnessed by visiting Chellah, a place that houses Roman ruins. The place once served as a port for the Romans, but was later claimed by the Arabs. The Mausoleum of Mohammed V is also a tranquil place to visit. It houses the tombs of former King Mohammed V, and his two sums. Rabat is also adorned with the Modern Art Museum, the marketplaces that are also known as souks, and the Kasbah of the Oudaias.
Rabat is a very calm place that should be visited to unwind rather than to expend your energy. But do make sure that in pursuit of other famous places you don’t miss out on this city.