Enchanting. I couldn’t think of anything accurate to describe Rabat but everything about this city was lovely. I won’t restrain my bias, it’s my favorite Moroccan city.
We couldn’t wait to escape from the confining humidity of Casablanca so me and my brother took the morning train from Casa Port to Morocco’s capital, Rabat. We arrived a little more than an hour later and what greeted us outside the Gare Rabat Ville (their main train station) was the cold but sunny weather (hello, Baguio!). I knew then that I would enjoy our stay in the city.
Rabat with its rich history is a relatively small quaint city, it’s hardly believable that it’s the country’s capital since the 12th century. The city is located in front of the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of the river Bou Regreg. It’s pedestrian-friendly so it’s a perfect place to just “stop and smell the flowers”. There are a number of sites to see in Rabat and here are 5 reasons why you should include it in your Morocco list.
1. Accessible transportation. It was the first time that me and my brother saw a modern tram and we gawked at the sight of the “centipede” that ran around the city. We couldn’t wait to experience it and took the round trip from Rabat to Sale. What a fast and easy to tour the city.
I have to note that riding (mini)-taxis in Morocco is quite unusual. The driver picks other passengers along the way, depending on the accessibility to their destination but you’re charged separately. It’s like riding a tryke in the Philippines or a getting an Uber Pool/Grab Share.
2. Hassan Tower. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this is an incomplete mosque that was intended to be the world’s largest, built in 1195. When Abu Yusuf Yaqub al-Mansur, the man who commissioned it died, construction stopped.
3. The Royal Mausoleum of Mohamed V. Located at the opposite side of the Hassan Tower, this mausoleum contains the tomb of Morocco’s first post-independence king, Mohamed V and his two sons, King Hassan II and Prince Abdallah. Architecture in Moroccan structures is awe-inspiring and this is no exception. Built with a white silhouette, topped by a typical green tiled roof, green being the colour of Islam. Admission is free and you can visit the tomb.
The best part of visiting here is taking pictures with the Royal Guards. Even if you slap them, they won’t budge
4. Chellah. Located outside the city proper, this set of ruins is the last remnants of the Roman city known as Chellah. This used to be an old city founded by Carthaginians, conquered by Romans and later passed under Arab rule, just to be abandoned again. Storks inhabit here and build their nests on the top of old minarets so birdwatchers will have a fun time here.
Paths run through this area to give visitors the best views. Birdwatchers will be interested in seeing the storks that now call these ruins home. Prepare for a long walk around
5. Medina. The bustling medina is a chill place to hang out, just people watch and admire its Andalusian style of architecture. Many goods are for sale with some crafts being produced by local artists. Rugs as well as jewelry are popular selections made in the city.
I am not quite sure why Rabat is not as popular as Marrakech and Fez among tourists but we loved this city that after we traveled to other cities, we went back there to spend a few more days just to chill and admire its beaut
Note: For some reason, we missed going inside the Kasbah des Udayas (Rabat’s blue city) so I couldn’t feature it but I’ve read good things about it so don’t forget to include it in your list of places to go in Rabat.