Rabat Tourist Attractions
Set more or less in the middle of Morocco's Atlantic coastline on the left bank of the mouth of Bou Regreg River, Rabat is Morocco's political and administrative capital and the official residence of the King.
All ministries and embassies are located in Rabat. Apart from its governmental activities, Rabat is one of the country's main industrial centers where, among other things, textiles, processed food, and building materials are manufactured.The city contains several of Morocco's major educational institutions, including Mohammed V University, the National Conservatory of Music, Dance, and Dramatic Arts and institutes of agricultural, public administration and applied economics studies. Rabat is also one of Morocco's many outstanding tourist attractions. Theatre Mohamed V is located in the centre of the town with a few galleries and an archeological museum. Rabat has a very active art scene for independant artists, with the addition of a visual arts space in 2002.Rabat was founded as an Arab army outpost in the 12th century and given the generic name for military encampment, Ribat, which is still in use today.For centuries Rabat and Salé were rival principalities but eventually Rabat began to dominate the area and Salé's power was ultimately eclipsed altogether by its larger neighbor.In the early 17th century it became a center of anti-European piracy centered at the stronghold of the Kasbah des Oudaias.Rabat was first made a modern capital in 1912 by Morocco's French overlords and remained the nation's capital after independence in 1956 and is the residence of the royal family.
Hassan Tower Mausoleum
In the 13th and 14th centuries the Merinides honored Rabat by making it the site of the Chellah necropolis, building on the ruins of the ancient Roman town of Sala.
Mohamed V Mausoleum
Mohamed V mausoleum, built in 1956, honors the architect of Moroccan independence. It is situated at the same site as the Hassan Tower.
Built in 1932 and enlarged a few years later to display the finds resulting from intense archeological research, this museum has housed the National Museum collections since 1986 and is one of the richest in Morocco. The prehistoric section brings together human remains from the middle Paleolithic period to the Neolithic, illustrating the continuity and size of the population at this time. The Islamic archeology section is constantly growing with finds coming from excavations of eighth and ninth century sites. Mauritanian potters, herdsmen, surgeons and bakers left a legacy of their tools while their womenfolk have left their jewelry. Pre-Roman and Roman civilizations are well represented by some of the finest pieces to have survived from those periods. There is also an exceptional collection of Hellenistic style bronzes.
The Oudaïas Museum is situated in the opulent 17th century lodge built by Moulay Ismail as his first Rabat residence, with a lush garden that is a masterpiece. At the far end of the lodge is a room reproducing an ancient Moroccan interior with a vast bay opening onto this glorious spectacle. Cushions in brocade, silk and gold cover the divans around the room. A little further on, in a cool marble room, stand rows of ancient illuminated Qur'ans, jewelry, pottery and musical instruments. There is also an exquisite collection of carpets.
Hassan II Avenue
Hassan II Avenue follows the Undulations' Wall, built in the 17th century, and separates the modern city of Rabat from the medina. Souika Street is the main artery in the medina. The many foundouks (traditional cafes) and shops always give this axis a very lively atmosphere. The babuche and Moroccans leather ware sellers occupy "Sebbat Souk" (the footwear market), which is easily distinguished by the mat roofing.
Museum of Moroccan Arts
In the Museum of Moroccan Arts, housed between the walls of the former residence of Moulay Ismail, the custodians have tried to reconstruct all the accessories which make up the decoration of a typical Moroccan house.After this visit you may like to stop on a cafe esplanades in the Casbah and linger over a refreshing peppermint tea.
This museum was founded in 1970. It brings together superb collections of Moroccan stamps, envelopes, telephones and telegraph machines, including the Baudot (telegraph with printer), as well as belinographs (machines for reproducing photographs over a long distance) and postal vans. Among the major items is Morocco's first official stamp, dated May 12, 1912, showing the Aissaoua Mosque in Tangier.
Chellah was known as a necropolis until 1931, when excavations uncovered some Roman ruins. A garden leads to a terrace affording an unparalleled view both of the Roman ruins and of the minaret of the Merinide Mosque, decorated with polychrome glazed earthenware tiles.
Natural Science Museum
Apart from the history of the earth's geological origins, the Natural Science Museum in Rabat also has an impressive sauropod dinosaur on display. The authentic skeleton was discovered in 1979 in the Azilal region of the High Atlas Mountains, where it lived 150million years ago.
The Royal Palace in Rabat, construction of which began in 1864, is surrounded by a wall cut by three gates. Inside the various buildings open into the space known as the Mechouar, which holds the Ahl-Fas mosque where the King leads prayers on Fridays.
Temara, 13km/8mi from Rabat, is the favorite weekend and holiday beach for the capital's inhabitants. The beach is attractive because of its natural bathing pool, and the city is equipped with important leisure facilities. The Temara Zoological Gardens has rare species of mammals.
Going along Consules Street in Rabat, where foreign diplomats lived until 1912, you will find curiosities, souvenirs and traditional Moroccan items: worked copper, worked leather, silk embroidery, Salé mats and the famous Rabat carpets.
Merinide Mosque is decorated with polychrome glazed earthenware tiles. Hassan Tower is the last vestige of the mosque, construction of which had been undertaken by Yacoub El Mansour in 1196. The minaret is 44m/144ft high.
Bab Rouah, or "Gate of the Winds", is the name of one of the five gates in the Almohade wall. It has now been converted into an exhibition center.
Bou Regreg Dam
Wind surfers and those who prefer to have a picnic can share the same waters and shores of the Atlantic and the Bou Regrag dam.
The Costume Museum in Rabat tells the history of Morocco through the dress and traditional jewelry of the various regions of the kingdom.
The main festivals and cultural activities in Rabat are the Handicraft Fair, Wax Festival and Hassan II Golf Trophy.
The Sebbat Souk (footware market) is where the moroccan leather and babuche sellers occupy space and sell their wares.
Royal Clube Equestre Riding School
The Royal Clube Equestre riding school boasts the very finest thoroughbred horses.
Map of Rabat Attractions