City of Rabat
Gardens, promenades, great avenues and a broad array of festivals: Rabat takes the time to live life to the full.
Sober and graceful, Rabat stretches serenely along the ocean’s edge. Hassan Tower, in all its force, is outlined against the sky, dominating an esplanade of marble pillars, the remnants of a mosque conceived in the 12th century so that the entire army of the sovereign Yaqub Al-Mansour could pray there. On this very esplanade stands the Mohammed V mausoleum, a veritable little palace. Finely-crafted marble, bronze and painted woods under a mahogany dome perforated with stained glass form the case enclosing the royal tombs carved into a chiseled block of white onyx and resting on a slab of onyx and dark blue granite which shimmers like water.
City of contrasts
In the south of the city, the gardens on Mechouar Square await you for a stroll by the royal palace. Go back toward the town centre and take the time to visit the archaeological museum: it presents the findings of excavations at several of the country’s archeological sites, notably Volubilis and Lixus. Also in the town centre, you will find Mohammed V Avenue, lined with art deco buildings. With its large agglomerations, wide avenues and parks, this area of the city harmoniously borders the old medina.
In Rabat, the year is brimming with a wide variety of events and festivals, bearing witness to great cultural dynamism. In May, music holds the place of honor in the Mawazine world music festival. The International Alternative Film Festival takes place in June, and music returns to centre stage in November with the Plucked String Instrument Festival.
A timeless stroll
Beyond the city’s ramparts, other walls conceal an enchanting place: this small, fertile valley, with its prickly pear trees, palm trees and olive trees, was chosen by the Merinides dynasty in the 13th century to accommodate their final residency. Stroll through the sepulchers in the shade of the ruins of a sanctuary where the minaret acts as refuge to the storks. A little further along stand other ruins of a more distant past: those of Sala la Romaine.