City Guide


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Rabat's Medina, or old city, was created by Andalucian Muslim refugees from Badajoz in Spain, and was essentially all there was to the city until the arrival of the French in 1912 and the subsequent building of the Ville Nouvelle or new quarter. The Medina is small and not as interesting or attractive as the old city sections of Fez or Marrakech, but the foundouks (traditional cafes) and shops make for a lively atmosphere. Souika Street is the main artery through the Medina, where you will find the leather sellers at the Sebbat souk (footwear bazaar). In Consules Street shops sell curiosities, souvenirs and Moroccan craft items such as copper and embroidery as well as the famed Rabat carpets. Another wonderful area to explore in Rabat is the Kasbah des Oudaias, with its famous white and blue buildings and lovely views.

Rabat is blessed with some captivating ancient ruins which will delight history buffs: the Citadel of Chellah was once a Roman port city and the remains of this centre are interspersed with the tombs of an Almohad necropolis; another must-see is Volubilis, situated between Rabat and Fez, which was once a Roman city, and still holds some amazing ruins and mosaics.

There are also numerous popular excursions from the city, including the seaside town of Temara, a convenient eight miles (13km) from Rabat, which is a favourite weekend picnic spot and campsite for city dwellers. The town has several pleasant stretches of sand, and some good hotels, restaurants and nightclubs. The ancient city of Meknes is also within reach.

Kasbah des Oudaias, Rabat

Kasbah des Oudaias

The Kasbah des Oudaias was recently added to UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites and is a pleasant place to take a stroll and admire some interesting architecture. The Kasbah was the Alhomad citadel of medieval Rabat, and is guarded by an impressive arched...  see full details


The Citadel of Chellah

Emerging from the boulevards of the Ville Nouvelle (New Town) of Rabat, one comes across the ruins of Chellah, once the thriving walled Roman port city of Sala Colonia, abandoned in 1154 in favour of Salé across the river mouth. In the time of...  see full details

The site of Hassan Tower, Rabat

Hassan Tower

The massive Hassan Tower, which dates to 1195, is the minaret of a mosque and towers over the capital, Rabat. However, the huge Rabat Mosque itself was never completed and was largely destroyed in an earthquake in 1755. The mosque and the minaret were...  see full details

Volubilis, Morocco


Volubilis, near the Moroccan town of Meknes, situated between Rabat and Fez, was a central Roman administrative city in Africa from around the third century BC, built atop a previous Carthaginian city. Volubilis was unique in that it was not abandoned after the Romans...  see full details