Rabat: The Capital of the Kingdom of Morocco
Rabat was the capital of the French protectorate and now the Moroccan Kingdom since independence in 1956. It is, in a way, what you would expect in a capital city: wide, spacious grid with busy streets and modern buildings, and being the administrative seat, rather dull. Rabat is “provincial” as they would call it in Casablanca: there’s barely a café open past ten at night – except for Ramadan when people enjoy night-long promenades in the city boulevards.
Rabat’s medina (old quarter) is perhaps not the most interesting in the country – compared to those of Marrakech or Fes. However, coming here from the business and cosmopolitan feel of the city, it is remarkably at odds. Wide, compact and open, it is evocative of Andalusian times as it was originally built by refugees from Badajoz in Spain. It is wedged on two sides by great external monuments dating back to the twelfth and seventeenth century.
There is still a lot to see in Rabat – as you will discover that the things first seen are not always what will keep your eyes entertained. There is a great deal of historic and architectural monuments and you can also enjoy a walk around the clean nearby beaches. Across the estuary in Sale – called Chellah -, historical remains punctuate the span of Moroccan history – from the Roman times to Muslim Dynasties dating back centuries.