10 Top Architectural Landmarks in Rabat
The buildings in Rabat's Kasbah of the Udayas are painted blue | © C_KI / Pixabay
Here are the architectural landmarks you cannot miss in Rabat.
Started by the Almohads, Hassan Tower was intended to be the minaret for what the ruler, Yaqoub al-Mansour, wanted to be a majestic mosque. The beautiful and intricate designs on the tower, as well as the open and intriguing surroundings, make it a must-see. Just opposite lies a beautiful tomb of King Mohammad V and his two sons. Visitors will be entranced by the gold-leaf ceiling and captivating carvings that lie inside the plain white building.
Abul Hassan Medersa
This impressive building was built between 1333 and 1341 under the Marīnid Dynasty and was created to teach young boys about religion and science. The hand-carved ceilings and mosaics on the walls speak to the great artistry of the period. This school is a miniature of the amazing Medersa Bou Inania in Fez. The entrance fee is 10 MAD (£0.76).
Built by the Phoenicians, Chellah
is a medieval-fortified Muslim cemetery. It later became the site of the ancient Roman colony of ‘Sala Colonia’ in the Roman province of Mauretania Tingitana. Visit these tombs, go back in time and climb up to see some of the best views.
The Medina gates they reflect the real authenticity of the Medina and how everything revolved around it. As seen in many Hollywood movies, the medinas were the ‘cities’ and main meeting point of many travellers and inhabitants for the weekly market, where vendors could exchange objects and sell livestock. The first neighbourhood the French chose to live in at the start of the protectorate was near Babalou (The High Gate), where the French influence is still present. Bab El Had is located near Babalou and is the only gate still open, while Bab Rouah and Bab El Kebir are closed and only on display.
Royal Mausoleum of Mohamed V
Located on the other side of the Hassan Tower, this mausoleum contains the tombs of the king’s father and grandfather
. It is considered a masterpiece of modern architecture in Morocco with its white silhouette topped by a typical green-tiled roof.
Kasbah of the Oudayas
Step inside the high, sandy-coloured walls of the old citadel of the Kasbah of the Oudayas in Rabat
and take a stroll through the narrow residential streets. Many homes are painted white and blue and Spanish influences are apparent. There are pretty Andalusian gardens to admire within the fortress complex, as well as the imposing ornamental gate of Bab Oudaya.
The Andalusian Gardens
This stunning garden
is located within the Kasbah les Oudaias, and it has gorgeous flowers, trees and fountains. It has an Andalusian feel to it and is reminiscent of Granada’s Alhambra. Although it was built by a French architect in the 20th century, it looks like it’s been there for a couple hundreds of years due to its ‘abandoned state’.
Cathédrale Saint-Pierre de Rabat
This Catholic cathedral was built during the French protectorate in 1919 and was finished in 1921. Its architecture is a style from the 1930s that remains intact, just like many of the houses in that neighbourhood, which are now considered to be a cultural heritage. It’s still in use and open to the public.
The Royal Palace
Although tourists aren’t permitted inside, the royal palace is an amazing location to shoot pictures and see authentic Moroccan architecture. The gates are gigantic, exceptional, zellij-decorated doors that are guarded by soldiers.
All the cities in Morocco have Medinas, so, why would the one in Rabat
be more interesting than others? It is a little bit less chaotic than the usual Medinas and people can shop peacefully. From hand-made jewellery to rugs, it is a pleasant experience to be able to walk in a Medina without having people trying to sell unnecessary things. Remember, haggling is a must.
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These recommendations were updated on July 25, 2018 to keep your travel plans fresh.