Rabat, Morocco’s capital and an Imperial City, is a place for travellers who appreciate culture and history. Despite housing all of Morocco’s ministries and foreign embassies, and being the permanent residence of King Mohammed VI, Rabat retains a certain charm and small-town feel. It is a clean and organised city with several fascinating attractions worthy of a day or two on any itinerary featuring Morocco’s famous Imperial Cities.
In ancient times Rabat was at its prime in the 12th century during the reign of the Almohad caliph, Yacoub el Mansour, who decided that it should become an Imperial City following a series of successful campaigns against Spain. It is from this prosperous period that many of Rabat’s historical attractions date. Shortly after his death in 1199 the capital was quickly relocated to Fes and Rabat fell into decline. In recent times Rabat was revived by the French who built a ville nouvelle next to the medina, moved all political activity to the city and named it as Morocco’s capital.
A couple of days would be adequate time to take in the main attractions of Rabat. If time is short head for just the Chellah to see the remains of the ancient Roman city of Sala Colonia, and the Merenid necropolis of Chellah; the Hassan Tower; and the colourful Kasbah Oudaia.
Discover the evocative and crumbling ruins of the Chellah, an intensely peaceful place with a rich history, fruit trees, wild flowers and nesting storks.
Located 70 km north of Casablanca (and only 50 minutes by rapide train), Rabat is a fairly easy city to navigate as most roads lead off the central Boulevard. Blue petite taxis are cheap and plentiful for transport between the major attractions, or perhaps don your walking shoes and explore on foot.