Rabat is the capital of Morocco. Rabat is home to the country’s most important museum, the Royal Palace, and the Mausoleum of Mohammed V, as well as several historical attractions. For many tourists, a visit to Rabat can be a pleasant surprise and a welcome break from the hustle of other Moroccan cities. History-lovers are sure to enjoy wandering the Chellah excavation area and exploring the lovely Oudaias Kasbah.
Best Time to Visit
If you are planning a Travel to Morocco then the best time to visit is Spring season, mid-March to May.Landscape is green and lush, making for spectacular mountain hiking. Morocco is also lovely in Autumn (September to October) when temperatures are very pleasant.
Top Places to Visit in Rabat
1. Oudaias Kasbah
Rabat’s Kasbah district is one of the city’s top sightseeing draws. Inside the 11th-century fortress walls, a tranquil and tiny neighborhood of twisting white-and-blue lanes were built in Andalusian-style. This is the perfect place for aimless, meandering strolls, and its winding alleys are a joy to photograph. Don’t miss visiting Rue el Jamma within the district, where you’ll find the Kasbah Mosque. Built in 1150, this is the oldest mosque in Rabat. Keen photographers should also note that the district has fine views over to Salé and the Atlantic Ocean.
2. Hassan Tower
Built by the Almohads, the unfinished Hassan Tower was the work of ruler Yacoub al-Mansour and would have been the minaret for his grand vision of a mosque on this site. Upon his death in 1150, construction was abandoned, and this 45-meter-high tower is all that remains of his original plan. Beautiful and intricate motifs and designs cover the tower’s facade, pointing to the sumptuousness of what al-Mansour had in mind. The Hassan Tower is next door to the Mausoleum of Mohammed Mausoleum of Mohamed V.
3. Mausoleum of Mohammed V
The glittering Mausoleum of King Mohammed V lies in state on the very place where, upon his return from exile in Madagascar, he gathered thousands of Moroccans together to thank God for giving independence to their country. The opulent tomb chamber is resplendently decorated, with zellige tilework covering the walls around the grand marble tomb. It’s a showcase of Moroccan traditional design. Non-Muslims cannot enter the adjoining mosque but are able to view the mausoleum’s tomb chamber from above, as long as they are dressed respectfully (shoulders and knees covered).
4. Chellah Necropolis
The remnants of the 14th-century Merenid citadel-town of Chellah are an atmospheric place. The walled ruins are positioned on an older Roman town called Sala, which archaeologists uncovered evidence of in the 1930s. Today, parts of both these settlements can be seen. Chellah thrived as a Merenid citadel in the early 14th century. The crumbled ruins of mosques and mausoleums they built here are now covered with rambling brambles, providing nesting sites for storks. The excavated Roman part of the site includes a forum, bath, and temple. For a good overview of the entire Chellah ruins, an overlooking terrace provides excellent views across the site.
Rabat’s rambling medina area has a distinctly Andalusian style to its buildings as most of the architecture here dates from the 17th century, when Muslims from Spain’s Andalusia region arrived. This makes it very different to the medinas of Fes and Marrakesh. The two best shopping streets are Souk es Sebbat and Rue Souka, and a number of interesting buildings within the district make a wander here worthwhile. In particular look out for the Koubba Mosque as well as the Merenid Fountain and Grand Mosque both on Rue Souka. The Mellah (Jewish Quarter) is in the southeast corner of the medina and has an interesting flea market.
6. Salé Medina
The medina area in Salé is a quaint and picturesque place to spend a few hours in the afternoon. As well as the Abul Hassan Medersa, the district is also home to Salés’ Grand Mosque, the Mausoleum of Sidi Ben Ashir with its photogenic whitewashed tomb, and the Fondouk (khan) al-Askour. There are also some wonderfully atmospheric souks, where you can join in with the locals and try out your haggling skills. The shopping souks here are very much a local affair and haven’t been overly trussed-up for the tourists, which makes them an interesting counterpoint to the souk streets of Marrakesh and Fes.