Photo Credit: TN
Top 5 Places To See While In Rabat, Morocco
Have you heard of the city of Rabat? Truthfully, many haven’t yet discovered the beautiful history and heritage that awaits them. It wasn’t until a first visit to the city that I learned that it is the capital of Morocco and one of the cities that can easily capture anyone’s eye, particularly mine. I somehow always end up falling in love with atypical places, and Rabat is just that. It is filled with a long-standing history and awestruck architecture.
Museum Mohamed VI of Modern and Contemporary Art
Walking distance from my hotel, the museum was my first taste of Morocco. When you google things to do in Rabat, this is definitely not among the top things to do. In fact, I discovered this while specifically searching for museums to check out. I appreciated this museum because there were a lot of locals exploring it. The art undoubtedly gave me insight into Moroccan everyday life.
Founded in 2014 by the King of Morocco, this museum is actually the first large-scale museum built in Morocco since its independence from France in 1956. The museum apparently took 10 years to build. However, when you see the architecture of pristine white Arab-Moorish construction with a taste of modernity, you will understand why. When inside, you’ll find modern and contemporary Moroccan art as well as international art.
FYI: This museum only takes Moroccan currency. However, they let me in for free after I told them I just landed in Morocco and had none. Everything is also translated into Arab and French, the two official languages of Morocco.
Royal Palace (Dâr-al-Makhzen)
Dating back to 1864, the Royal palace is the main residence of the king of Morocco. Its official name is El Mechouar Essaid Palace, which translates to the venue of happiness palace.
The arched architecture alone draws you in, reinforcing my obsession with doors, especially since I had never seen so many detailed doors in one place.
FYI: Although you cannot enter into the actual palace, you are able to see the areas before the main wall of the entrance.
Ancient Ruins of Chellah
Chellah is an ancient ruin of a walled town that is near the medina of Rabat. Understandably so, it is the most popular tourist attraction. It is unique because you can see remnants of the original #Roman ruins and the medieval Muslim necropolis. The 1755 Lisbon earthquake had an impact on Rabat and this site, leading to a presently incomplete mausoleum. You can also see that the minaret has been untouched. I was just utterly impressed by how much was still standing!
FYI: Wander for at least an hour and really pay attention to your surroundings as you explore the maze of ruins on this site.
The Mausoleum of Mohammed V and the Hassan tower
Seen from many angles within the city, the Hassan tower is arguably the most signature landmark of Morocco. In front of the tower, there are tens of columns spread out across a large square. At the time of construction started in 1195, it was intended to be the biggest mosque in the world. Sadly, the Sultan who was responsible for its commission died before its completion. Furthermore, the 1755 Lisbon earthquake caused further damage. The Hassan tower and pillars are the only remains of the mosque.
At the other end of the tower is the ornate Mausoleum of Mohammed V. The interior and exterior are carved with intricate designs and patterns. The golden ceilings on the inside had my jaw drop. The remains of the current King’s grandfather and father are both housed in the mausoleum. There are four beautifully dressed guards (and they surely know it too!) protecting the mausoleum. You can’t help but to take a picture!
FYI: Do not rush in exploring this site. At every corner you turn, you will discover something different.
Kasbah des Oudaias
Don’t have time to travel four hours from Rabat to Morocco’s blue city of Chefchaouen? Check out a mini version in Rabat’s Kasbah! The Kasbah, located on a cliff, is actually the oldest part of the city. Just as I have seen in pictures of Chefchaouen, the Kasbah has narrow winding streets with blue and white walls as well as many old houses with beautiful short doors. It is a very low key place to wander in with no traffic.
FYI: Don’t be shy about taking pictures in front of the cute houses. The little traffic makes it very easy to stop for a flick.