Rabat is located in the northwestern part of Africa, in the Kingdom of Morocco. The state is bounded to the north and west by the waters of the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, to the east by Algeria and to the south by the Sahara Desert. As for the city of Rabat, it is washed by the Atlantic Ocean and together with the nearby town of Salé (separated by the Bou-Regreg River) it forms a prefecture called “Rabat-Salé”. The capital city is home to over 1 million people.
A bit of history
Rabat became the capital of the Moroccan state only recently, in the 19th century, although its history is much older and dates back to the 12th century when these lands were ruled by the Almohad dynasty. The city was actively developed in the 17th century and was associated with the mass resettlement here of the Spanish Andalusian Muslims, famous for their craftsmen, merchants and sailors.
For quite a long time the city remained the center of the French protectorate, and only in 1956 became the capital of a fully independent state.
Kasbah Udaya Fortress
Although the fortress of Kasbah Udayah was founded in 1158, it only gained its importance half a century later. The Almohads who seized power under Ya’qub al-Mansour took control of the entire Bu-Regg valley with the help of the citadel. The Almohads also built the main fortress portal at Kasbah Udaiya, which still bears the unusual imagery of animals today.
After the fall of the Almohads, the fortress of Kasbah Udaya fell into decline for several centuries. During this time it was alternately ruled by brigands. Pirates who used the fortress as a defense against European ships for a long time managed to do it longest of all.
At the end of the 16th century the fortress was rebuilt by the Alaouites. Their cannons along the fortress wall can still be seen today.
Climate and weather by month
The choice of a particular month to visit Rabat depends on the purpose for which you are coming here. The fact is that the average temperature in the summer months is in the 40°C range, with a maximum peak in late July or early August. Such hot conditions are not always suitable even for beach holidays, let alone sightseeing tours. However, if you do decide to lie on the beach, it is better to choose a place near the ocean, where at least the water is a little cooler.
With the advent of autumn the temperature drops a little, but for Russian tourists the value of 30°C is still very high. August-September is the ideal time for a beach holiday, but in October you can only rest on the beach, because the water in the ocean is already much colder. However this is also a perfect season for walking around the city and all kinds of excursions.
In winter Rabat is almost completely free of tourists, because the thermometer does not show more than 10-17 ° C, besides it often rains. Of course, for the true connoisseurs of Arab culture and architecture this will not be an obstacle to spend time in tourist walks around the city, but the beach holiday should definitely be excluded.
Rabat’s climate chart
In spring, when the temperature rises to 18-20°C, you can’t go swimming either – the ocean is still very cold and the sea hasn’t yet warmed up to its optimum level. At the same time, April-May is an ideal time for walks around the city, especially for those who can’t stand the heat. In a word, as always, there is something for everyone and at any time of year in Rabat.
The city was founded in 1150. The city was founded in 1150 by Almohad Khalif Abd al-Moumen near the former Roman settlement of Sala Colonia. It was a fortified camp base for military forays into the Iberian Peninsula. In the early 17th century the Muslims were expelled by the Christian rulers from the peninsula. Development began in the late 17th century, due to the displacement from Spain of Andalusian Muslims (Moors) – noble sailors, skilled craftsmen, traders.
For centuries the city was famous as a pirate headquarters in the Western Mediterranean. In 1911 it was occupied by the French, from 1912 it became a center of the French colony.
In 1930-50 it was the heart of the liberation struggle against the colonizers. After gaining independence in 1956 – the capital of the sovereign state.
Museum of Moroccan art called “Udaya,” opened in 1915. Here you can see ancient cannons, the traditional interior of a noble Moroccan family, and collections of expensive women’s jewelry that were once created by Moroccan and Andalusian craftsmen. There are also many national musical instruments, pottery and pottery, and ancient carpets woven in different parts of Morocco in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The fortress of Kasbah Uday is one of the oldest buildings, a monument of Moorish culture, inside which today are the traditional houses of the local population, but from the northern part there is an observation deck, which offers a wonderful view of the sea.
The National Museum of Crafts, which displays the work of contemporary craftsmen of various specialties, in particular potters and handicraft specialists.
Archaeological Museum. It contains unique archaeological treasures from various parts of Morocco. The museum was opened in the 1930s, but since then, the collection of relics has increased many times. The most valuable is the collection of antiquities, which are more than 8000 years old. The pride of the museum is rightly considered to be the antique bronze statues.
The Medina of Rabat is the old part of the city, one of the first places where most knowledgeable tourists go. For the most part, it resembles an ordinary market with many shops, stores and all sorts of goods in them. However, in Rabat, they are all in tangled streets with lots of residential houses, restaurants and cafes.
The Royal Palace of Mohammed Vl, located in the old part of the city and considered its administrative and political center. Built in the nineteenth century, it is fully in keeping with the Arabian style.
The ruins of the fortress of Schella, dating back to the 14th century. It is located in the center of the city and are the remains of a majestic structure from the time of Tingitania of Mauritania. Next to them there is a necropolis.
The minaret (tower) of Hassan, built in 1199. At that time it was supposed to be the tallest tower, 86 meters high. But after the death of Emir Yaqub al-Mansur, who supervised the work, construction stopped at 44 meters. The architectural appearance of the structure resembles in many ways the Giralda of Seville, built around the same time. It is believed that the prototype for both buildings was the 70-meter minaret of the Koutoubia in Marrakech.
The Orthodox Cathedral of St. Peter, built in 1921. It is not difficult to find, as it is located in the center of the city and has a rather unusual appearance: around the snow-white walls of the temple and the traditional carved turrets are the usual Moroccan buildings.
Mohammed V Mausoleum (built in 1971) is one of the most favorite tourist attractions in the city. It is located in the eastern part, not far from Hassan Tower. Mohammed V was the first king of the independent Morocco and dedicated his entire life (1909-1961) to achieving this independence, for which the local population still honors his memory.
The ancient lighthouse of Rabat, located on the Atlantic coast, was built in 1920. It is only 24 meters high, but it has a maximum visibility of 16 nautical miles.
Fort Rottenburg (built in 1860) is a defensive structure designed to protect the port area, but over the years it did not take part in any battle. Nowadays there are guided tours on the territory of the fort.
Nouzhat Hassan Garden is located near the walls of the Old City, in one of the oldest parks of the capital, with a total area of 4 hectares. Here you will find a huge number of exotic and very old trees, in the shade of which you can take shelter from the scorching sun.
A botanical garden built at the beginning of the last century and covering an area of 19 hectares. It can be found in the Agdal quarter.
There are many other interesting places, especially in the old part, where there is still a five-kilometer wall surrounding the narrow and crooked streets, low buildings and mosques. However, if this is your first time in Rabat, all you have to do is leave your hotel and walk around the streets to get a new experience.