Azure of the Moroccan capital, Rabat, will delight anyone who visits this city. Bustling medina, majestic mosques and beautiful sandy beaches each year attract thousands of tourists from all over the world.
Apparently, all paths lead to Rome. Wandering through Moroccan land, sooner or later we get to the most important administrative center - Rabat. The capital is situated on the ocean, at the mouth of the river Bou Regreg. Although it plays so important role, it’s neither the largest nor the most crowded city in the country. It's surprisingly clean and quiet, there're no importunate "touts" or noise. The police patrols diligently, so that tourists can feel safe and fully enjoy their holidays in this amazing country.
In all probabilities, if we start exploring Morocco from Rabat, we’ll enjoy visiting the country a lot more than when we visit it after seeing dyers in Fez, its busy medina and poor areas. In the opposite situation, the city may seem too clean and too beautiful. As for the capital, Rabat is more representative. Poor districts are hidden from the eyes of tourists – they’re separated or are out of sight of those visitors, who stick to the main routes. Of course, avid travelers who prefer to explore the world without following the suggestions of guides, will easily find less comely areas of the city, but the so-called majority will remember Rabat as a place stunningly beautiful. Each alone can judge whether this is a flaw, or virtue.
The azure of Rabat
It’s hard to deny that the city is beautiful and pleases the eye. You must spend at least few days to visit all the monuments, otherwise you’ll feel really unsatisfied. Rabat is clean, friendly to tourists and .. blue. Optimistic blue-white streets, blue doors and shutters - in the old part of the city, the medina, you’ll come across a whole ocean of blue. A walk through the streets of Rabat is a real pleasure for the eyes.
Let’s not forget that we’re on the coast. There’s no lack of sandy beaches, which attract thousands of tourists from different countries. To the north of Rabat extends the famous Beach of Nations, with neighboring exotic gardens, Les Jardins Exotiques. On the other hand, tourists visiting areas to the south of Rabat, can enjoy the powder sand of the beaches Temara and Skhirat. Apart from the views, and excellent conditions for sunbathing, another virtue of the area is a very well developed infrastructure with numerous clubs, cafes and restaurants.
What to see in Rabat ?
As in other Moroccan centers, worth of our attention are the walls of medina and their beautiful , ornate gates. One of the most famous monuments is the Hassan Tower, rising majestically above the bridge connecting the banks of the river Bou Regreg. It towers above Rabat, standing proudly just like a guard of the capital, being a testimony of the past. It’s the only remaining part of the never completed mosque from the times of the reigns of the caliph Jacob Al-Mansuar. A big attraction for visitors is the entrance to the top of the minaret – it has a really beautiful view of the whole Rabat.
Right next to the ruins of the mosque stands the Mausoleum of Mohammed V. It’s a monumental where the sultan and his two sons (Abdullah and Moulay Hassan II) rest. A green roof of this impressive building along with the ornamentations catches the eyes of the onlookers. There’s a hanging gallery, from which visitors can see the tomb, however they should remember about appropriate clothing. The entrance is free.
Apart from the Tower and the Mausoleum, the biggest attractions include the fourteenth-century baths, the royal palace Dar el-Makhzen and Chellah, the complex of ancient and medieval ruins in the outskirts of Rabat. Those are the ruins of Marinid dynasty necropolis . Today, in front of its walls we can meet musicians wearing traditional Moroccan outfits. They’re called Gnaoua, beating a steady rhythm on the drums, clicking castanets, dancing so vigorously that the pompons attached to their hats flash like the streams of light. Here the past meets the present and the peace of the silent ruins with the dance and music sounds.
Where to stay?
The main street, Ave Mohamed V, is full of charming hotels and exotic palm trees. In Rabat, no one will have problems in finding a suitable standard of accommodation. The more that by the said road is also located the main train station (Rabat Ville), so those, who came to the city by train, will find a hotel immediately.
You can also stay at the campsite. About 14 km from Rabat there’s Harhoura Camping, which is located literally a stone’s throw from the beach Temara. The place is really nice, the views delight, and besides, this location allows us to easily get to the next points of our Moroccan trip. It’s best to ask about prices on the spot – it may turn out that when you are planning to stay longer, or come with more people you will get a nice discount.
The tower of unfinished mosque, beautiful beaches, colorful dancers and blue streets – it’s barely a fraction of the attractions, which we encounter, visiting Rabat. No matter if we’re just on the beginning of our journey through Morocco, or if we come back to the European continent, this trip won’t ever be forgotten.