What’s the capital of Morocco? No, it’s not Casablanca. Casablanca is a financial center and the largest city of Morocco, but the real capital of Morocco is Rabat. Here is some fun stuff you can do in Rabat…
While Rabat is a modern, cosmopolitan capital you will stumble upon reminders of the past and great city’s history here and there. This grand imperial city boasts its splendid palaces, ancient ramparts, and wonderful gardens. Although it is not as popular between tourists as Marrakech, there are plenty of things to do. In addition, you can be proud of yourself because you didn’t follow the crowds and did something different (if this idea seems attractive of course).
17th century Oudaia Kasbah is a must-see of the capital of Morocco.
First of all it is best to visit Rabat in spring or autumn. That’s because typical summer temperature reaches about 82°F degrees (28°C), which could negatively affect your enthusiasm for exploring the city. Evenings tend to be on a chilly side regardless of the season, but still spring or autumn are likely to be a better choice. (See Weather in Rabat today).
Long ago (in 17th century) Rabat was invaded by pirates who made it their trade center. That’s where they traded people and goods seized from ships that were passing Moroccan coast on their way back from Americas, sub-Saharan Africa, or the Indies. Despite all attempts to stop it, this trade continued well into 19th century. Today’s Rabat is a prestigious city with a relaxed atmosphere, a kind of city you definitely want to see.
What to See in the Capital of Morocco
It is unlikely that you will discover everything there is to the city during your short vacation, but here are some “must-sees” of Moroccan capital that you don’t want to miss:
Oudaia Kasbah is a 17th century fortress that was built to defend Rabat from Spanish invaders. What is special about Oudaia Kasbah is that it is not just a fortress or a palace, it is a whole city secured between heavily fortified walls.
Beautiful gardens designed in a Moorish style with mature trees, beautiful lawns, and noria, a waterwheel that irrigates the shrub beds. It is a great place to relax, have a cup of coffee while watching boats on Bou Regreg river.
Chellah Necropolis is the oldest part of the city and lies beyond the city walls. This is a mixture of 2,200 years old Roman ruins and “fresher” 14th century ruins. The latter is the attempt of Sultan Abou al Hassan to develop the site. You could have fun by trying to guess what ruins belong to Roman period and what was added in 14th century.
Every city in Morocco has old part called medina. A typical Moroccan old town is an exotic place which looks much like a labyrinth, which makes it even more fun. Rabat’s medina is a great place to shop for local crafts.
Finally, the government invests into Rabat’s sports, leisure, and hotel infrastructure as the city announced its bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics. This means that city will be improved even further and its prestige will grow.