Rabat is an attractive city of domes and minarets, sweeping terraces,
and green spaces. It is markedly more pleasant than
some other Moroccan cities and is also undergoing fundamental
change. Facing Salé, its ancient rival, across Wadi Bou Regreg,
Rabat was made Morocco’s political and administrative capital in
1912 by Marshal Lyautey. Today also the country’s financial capital,
it is the main university town and the second-largest metropolis
The Kasbah takes its name from the Oudayas, an Arab tribe with a
warrior past that was settled here by Moulay Ismaïl (1672-1727) to
protect the city from the threat
of rebel tribes. Part of the city
walls that surround this “fortress”, built on the top
of a cliff,
date from the Almohad period (1147-1248). The city walls surrounding
the Kasbah were built in 1195 by Yacoub el mansour after his victory
over Alfonso III. Sights to visit in and around the Kasbah: Bab
Oudaya, the El Atika mosque, Café Maure and the Andalusian Garden.
Mohammed V Mausoleum
Raised in memory of Mohammed V, the father of Moroccan independence,
this majestic building was commissioned by his son,
Hassan II. It was designed by the
Vietnamese architect Vo Toan and built with the help of 400 Moroccan
craftsmen. The group
of buildings that make up the mausoleum
of Mohammed V include a mosque and a museum devoted to the history
of the Alaouite dynasty. The mausoleum itself, in white Italian
marble, stands on a platform 3.5m (11.5ft) high. Entry is through a
door that opens onto a stairway leading
to the dome beneath which lies the sarcophagus of Mohammed V.
Overlooking Wadi Bou Regreg from the hill it stands on since more
than eight centuries, the Hassan Tower is one of the city’s most
prestigious monuments and a great emblem of Rabat. It is the
unfinished minaret of the Hassan mosque, built by Yacoub el Mansour
around 1196. After his death in 1199, the unfinished mosque fell
into disrepair and 1755 an earthquake destroyed everything
but the mosque’s minaret. Today’s
remains still show the intended grandeur of the mosque. It was to
have surpassed the height
of the Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakesh and
the Giralda in Seville, but it was never completed. It was from the
Hassan Tower that Mohammed V conducted the first Friday prayers
after independence was declared 18th of November 1956.
Dar el Makhzen & Mechouar
An extensive complex enclosed within its own walls, the Dar el
Makhzen (Royal Palace) is inhabited by about 2000 people. Built
on the site of an 18th century royal
residence, the current palace was completed in 1864, but was
constantly enlarged thereafter.
The palace now houses the offices of
Moroccan government, the Supreme Court, the Prime Minister’s
offices, the Ministry of Habous (responsible for religious
organizations), an extensive garden and the El Fas Mosque. The
Mechouar, a place of public assembly,
is the venue for major gatherings.
Traditionally the king would reside in the former harem, but King
Mohammed VI stays in his own private residence.
Winter temperature = 8 - 18°C Summer temperature = 15 – 30°C.
Mild, rainy winters and hot summers with high humidity level
Mawazine Festival Rhythms of the World MAY.
Official website of the festival: