Around Rabat

This week I realized it’s been over a month since I made Rabat – Morocco’s low key, seaside capital – my home base, yet I haven’t posted any photos of it. So I want to remedy this oversight with a few images from around my home away from home.

Up to the early twentieth century, the extent of Rabat’s city limits were what is known today as the medina or “Old Town” Rabat (like Old Town Alexandria for you Washington, DC types). Its winding narrow streets and colorful markets are laid back compared to the the sprawling, frenetic souks of Fes or Marrakech, which makes for a more enjoyable stroll on a Saturday afternoon (click on an individual photo for full size):

 

Just outside the medina, in the northwest corner of Rabat, sits the Casbah des Oudaias, a medieval coastal fortress and city in miniature. Once an important lookout point for possible attacks from the sea, today the casbah (qasbah, “garrison town”) is still a residential quarter and popular tourist spot:

 

Also near the Casbah des Oudaias is an enormous cemetery, the Cimetière des martyrs, devoted to Morocco’s elite – politicians, military commanders, religious leaders, and other local notables. It’s not uncommon to hear the drums of a funeral procession winding down the road into the cemetery gates:

 

With the French Protectorate starting in 1912, Rabat expanded into a full-fledged city with its modern quarter, the Ville Nouvelle. Many of the monuments, buildings and public spaces downtown especially are dedicated to Mohammed V, the first monarch after independence was gained from the French in 1956 and a symbol of Moroccan national identity:

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