If you are someone who loves to explore the past of cities and the history of ancient empires, you need to change the destination of your trip towards the Atlantic Ocean, where a city was born to be a lookout guardian. this is how Abd al-Mu’min, ruler of the Almohad Caliphate, wanted it to be in the middle of the twelfth century AD. An eye on the river and another watching the sea. It is the city of Rabat, the current capital of the Kingdom of Morocco.
Historians say that it is the city of extended walls that were built by the army of the Caliph Ya`qub al-Mansur of Almohad, who completed the establishment of the city during the era of Muslim rule in Andalusia after their return from the battle of Alarcos in which he faced Alphonse VIII in the year 1197 AD, so he returned and made Rabat a city like a fortified fortress. The design of the city was inspired by the Egyptian city of Alexandria, according to multiple historical accounts, as the fortified city still maintains its walls and gates to this day.
How the tourist reaches Rabat from Europe
It is easy for a tourist coming from the European continent to visit the city of Rabat and enjoy its atmosphere, with the presence of various and comfortable means of transportation without trouble, and from any country of the European Union.
The tourist can go to any of the Spanish ports overlooking the Mediterranean coast, and book a steamer ticket towards the city of Tangier at preferential prices with the available sea line companies, according to the choice, then a taxi will take you to the train station in the city in order to ride the high-speed train "Al-Buraq", where its luxurious station provides the opportunity for some time to eat in various restaurants, before a short trip that will not last more than an hour and 20 minutes and you will find yourself in the center of the capital, Rabat.
For those coming from other continents
The Kingdom of Morocco is located at a geographic point between the continents and is connected to dozens of flights from Asia, Australia, the Americas, and even those coming from Africa.
Tourists can come to Rabat on a plane, get off at Rabat-Salé airport or get off at the airport in the nearby city of Casablanca, then head to the capital, Rabat, whether by taxi, bus or train, as the means of transportation are very available.
Getting around the city of Rabat
Getting around the city of Rabat is not as difficult as some cities that know annoying congestion. Once you arrive, you will find blue taxis waiting for you to take you to the nearest hotel that suits you. The meter starts calculating the price of the ride from one dirham and 40 centimes. If you are a fan of roaming and discovering places slowly, there are urban transport bus lines with a fixed price of only 5 dirhams, on board, it is possible to travel to the outskirts of the city or to visit the most important streets and neighborhoods from early morning until ten at night.
But if the night comes to you at a party or during a visit to a tourist area late or even after midnight, do not worry, you can use the InDriver application, which is considered one of the favorite applications even among the residents of Rabat, because it is the safest due to the fact that the transportation service providers through it are mostly residents of Rabat, even the pricing is reasonable and not much different from regular taxis.
The city of Rabat also has two lines of transport, "Tramway", through which the tourist can go on a tour through the city, on a railway punctuated by stations in famous neighborhoods and places that entice picnic and exploration, where the price of the trip is set at 6 dirhams, or about half a euro, the first line passes you along most of the ministries' headquarters in the capital, and reaches the borders of Mohammed V Street, which includes the city's train station and parliament. The second line takes you through historical landmarks such as "Bab Chellah", "Bab Al-Ahad" and "Al-Rusiyah Square".
Where can you spend your night?
The calm atmosphere in Rabat is a special break from the routine that tourists can encounter in crowds in big cities. If you head to the city center along Hassan II Avenue, you will find classified and standard hotels, in addition to guest houses.
You can also access the Marketplace service on Facebook, and get the latest advertisements for furnished apartments at very reasonable prices, and the majority of accommodations are near the city center and neighboring areas.
In the city of Rabat, you will be able to spend your night or day in a small, furnished and comfortable apartment, the price of which does not exceed 500 dirhams, approximately 50 dollars.
And if you are one of those who are interested in hotels with an old traditional urban structure, you can book your room in the many hostels located at the intersection of Mohammed V Street and Hassan II Street, at a price ranging from 100 to 150 dirhams per night, equivalent to $ 15 at most.
Visit the historical places in Rabat
Rabat is home to historical places par excellence as if these places tell the visitor about the empires that successively ruled the country. The city's historical landmarks extend along the road passing by the Bouregreg River along the western edge of the city, separating it from its sister city, Sale, which is worth exploring while the tourist is here.
As the Palestinian poet Mahmud Darwish said about the city of Rabat, “In the city of Rabat, which is raised on the high waves of the Atlantic, the poet walks on the street in search of a coincidence of meaning, and the meaning of coincidence,” Therefore, in Rabat, the tourist will encounter “history” with its letter and meaning.
Kasbah of the Udayas
Rabat's Kasbah district is one of the city's most charming tourist spots. Inside the walls, the 11th-century Kasbah of the Udayas is a small neighborhood of winding lanes surrounded by Andalusian-style houses for those who like to explore historical periods through walls. And a great opportunity to take pictures inside the narrow blue-and-white lanes and on the outskirts of old historic homes.
At the southern end of the Kasbah, you will find the tranquil Andalusian gardens, while at the northern end of the area there is a platform that offers panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean to the west and Salé to the north, where it is nice to drink a cup of Moroccan mint tea.
Afterward, you can visit the most impressive gate of the Kasbah, the 12th-century Bab Aouda in the southern wall. You will come across it in front of you as you sneak up the main road leading to Al-Jamaa Street, the Kasbah Mosque, which is the oldest mosque in Rabat.
One of the oldest monuments left by the Almohads in the city of Rabat since the twelfth century is the “Hassan Mosque” with an incomplete minaret, which was built by Sultan Yacoub Al Mansour Almohad, which can be seen from multiple angles while you are wandering on the coasts of the Bouregreg River, its height is about 45 meters, The area of this unfinished mosque extends over an area of 183 square meters and a width of 139 square meters.
Andalusian motifs cover the facade of this minaret, which shows the magnificence of what was going on in the mind of Yacoub Al Mansour, as he wanted to complete its construction in the manner of its sisters, the minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech and the minaret of the Giralda in Seville. It's a public place that whets the appetite for strolling and taking souvenir photos with history.
The tomb of Mohammed V
The mausoleum of King Mohammed V, sparkling at night, was built on the same spot where the sultan stood upon his return from exile in Madagascar, where he delivered a speech to thousands of Moroccans on the occasion of Morocco's independence in 1956. In addition, there is also the tomb of the late King Hassan II.
The building is characterized by luxury and decorations that combine traditional Moroccan designs, and it is decorated with Moroccan zellij that covers the walls around the mausoleum, which is covered with precious marble.
Chellah Castle is the remains of the Marinid city of Chellah, and behind it stretch cemeteries dating back to the fourteenth century, where the meeting with history will take place in a wonderful place, especially if you know that you are visiting the site of the ruins of an ancient Roman town, which archaeologists revealed evidence of in the thirties of the last century.
The city of Chellah flourished in the Marinid period in the early 14th century, and today the crumbling ruins of the mosques and shrines they built here are now covered with scattered trees, providing nesting sites for storks. The excavated Roman part of the site includes an archaeological platform that provides a view of the site as well as a bath and a temple. All of them are ancient historical facilities, giving an overview of the history of the empires that ruled the region, which was classified by UNESCO as a world heritage in 2012.
The old city of Rabat
Rabat's Old Town district has a distinctly Andalusian style for its buildings, with most of the architecture here dating back to the 17th century when Muslims arrived from northern Andalusia.
Tourists can enjoy strolling by searching for the Great Mosque on Market Street to take wonderful souvenir photos. It is a pure Marinid building that was built in the fourteenth century, and near it is a Marinid fountain that is still resisting in the Al-Mallah neighborhood (the Jewish quarter) in the southeastern corner of the city.
Saint Peter's Cathedral in Rabat
The city of Rabat includes a tall building for one of the most important churches in Morocco, which is the Cathedral of St. Peter, a historical Roman Catholic church, which is the work of the architect Adrien Laforgue, whose construction began in 1919, and was opened for the first time on November 17, 1921, by the general resident Hubert Lyautey.
It is located in the famous Golan Square in the center of Rabat, within an architectural building designed in a circular shape. The cathedral is still in service and religious rites and rituals are performed by Christians to this day. Two towers were added to it later in the thirties of the last century.
To eat and rest near the sea breeze: Rabat Marina
When you come to the city of Rabat, you should not miss the opportunity to tour the coasts of the Rabat Marina on the southern coast of the Bouregreg River, which is close to its meeting point with the ocean.
This entire bank is very refreshing and extends on its sides luxurious restaurants and various cafes, giving you high-quality services to have dinner or lunch with family or friends. The place has a comfortable and varied character and offers all kinds of food, including distinct dishes of fresh fish.
Mohammed VI Museum of Contemporary Arts
For any tourist who is interested in museums and the modern Moroccan art movement, this museum is one of the top things to do in Rabat.
The museum is located close to all the various means of transportation in the city center. An impressively restored building dating back to the French colonial days, despite its small area, contains works of art from almost all the prominent names in the art world, from the mid-twentieth century to the present day. Also a program of temporary exhibitions featuring local and international artists.
His visit will undoubtedly give you a wonderful feeling, especially while watching the traditional craftsmanship that the Kingdom of Morocco is famous for, as it shows the contemporary side of the artistic expressions presented by the museum as created by Moroccan and foreign artists.
Museum of History and Civilizations
The Archaeological Museum in Morocco is a must-see, the original museum was built in 1932, and since then it has been greatly expanded in order to provide a suitable space for the large number of archaeological discoveries that have been found in Morocco, documenting the era of the era Stone and other Roman and other civilizations.
You can enter after booking a ticket that does not exceed 20 dirhams, equivalent to two dollars, and 10 dirhams for university students and children, equivalent to one dollar.
National Museum of Photography (Fortress Rothenburg)
For lovers of ancient castles, there is a charming place on the coastal road to the city of Rabat, a fort that became a museum of photography, built during the reign of Sultan Moulay Hassan I, and the works ended in the late nineteenth century, to be opened in 1902.
Fort Rothenburg is the work of the German engineer Walter Rothenburg, hence its first name, which was intended for protection and military support. It has two huge cannons, each weighing about 30 tons, whose nozzles were directed towards the sea.
One of the German companies specialized in heavy armament at that time gave them to the Sultan, then he ordered the construction of the fort in a strategic place, where the Sultan intended to strengthen the defense of the country's coasts, and today it is one of the most famous museums in the city of Rabat and displays the work of photographers from different countries of the world.
Nouzhat Hassan Garden
If a visitor to the city of Rabat wants to take a break and meet with nature during a tour in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the city, he will not find a better garden than the Nouzhat Hassan with tall trees and lush shade. The garden is public and its entry is free to the public. It was included in the antiquities of the city, according to a decree issued in 2003, after the quality of its rare plants and trees was determined.
Hassan II Park
On a vast area of ten hectares, Hassan II Park gives an opportunity to stroll, play sports and take pictures throughout an enjoyable day, as this park is characterized by spaces that are a destination for cultural associations, for outdoor theater enthusiasts, it has an amphitheater, musical fountain, play area, two skate parks, and a 10-meter climbing wall.
If you are a fan of the most popular sports, you will find three small football fields, three basketball and volleyball courts, and a soccer field. The visitor’s passage to this place will undoubtedly be a wonderful opportunity to discover the atmosphere of this comprehensive park.
The zoo was established for the first time in 1973, which initially included the lions that were in the Royal Palace in Rabat and maintained by King Mohammed V before it was transformed into its current form, and it was renewed in recent years.
The park gives you an interesting opportunity to see hundreds of diverse animals coming from the depths of Africa, as well as the atmosphere of swamps, tropical forests, savannas, the desert, and the Atlas Mountains.
Shopping places in Rabat
At any hour of the day, tourists can spend quality time inside the largest commercial space in Rabat, the Rabat Center located in the Agdal district. Hundreds of shops provide you, including 85 famous and international brands in the form of a luxurious "mall".
The center offers you a mix of stores to cover all your needs and desires, clothes, perfumes, electronic devices, and unlimited items.
And if you feel hungry, the upper floor provides you with various restaurants of international and local brands, at very reasonable and regular prices. These are the same services provided by the Rabat Square Mall in the upscale Riyadh neighborhood, and the Mega Mall in Mohammed VI Street.
The old city market
A place with a very traditional style, the old medina market or Souika Street is one of the largest and most famous shopping places in Rabat, the place is great not only for shopping but also for the visitor to wander and discover the local colors.
The place is great for getting a perfect gift for your loved ones, as here all kinds of clothes, shoes, jewelry, carpets, handicrafts, pottery, and many other unique and interesting things can be found.
Souika Street is the busiest street in the city. It extends from the market square of “Bab Al Hadd” and heads east until it reaches the port located in Bab Al Bahr in Bouregreg river. It also includes popular restaurants that serve 100% Moroccan traditional food at reasonable prices.