Rabat

Trip Start May 15, 2008
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29
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Trip End Jul 24, 2008


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Flag of Morocco  ,
Saturday, June 21, 2008

Rabat, a capital later than Fes, was much more modern overall, especially since, as the current capital, there has been a lot more recent building.
We arrived at the city in the mid-afternoon, checked into our hotel, took a quick nap, and headed out to do a bit of sightseeing.  We first visited the Mausoleum of Mohammed V, an impressive structure that non-Muslims are actually allowed to go inside.  Outside, there are multiple guards, both on foot and don horseback.  While we were there, we had the privilege of watching the changing of the guard, which was quite interesting.  Inside was beautiful, but the pictures didn't come out very well because of the lighting.
Across the way are the ruins of the Hassan Mosque, which was destroyed in the 1755 earthquake that ravaged Lisbon (the earthquake actually occurred a few hundred miles out to sea and produced earthquakes, shockwaves, and tsunamis in Portugal, Morocco, and Spain).  Its minaret, a sister to the one in Sevllla (the third sister is in Marrakech). still stands.  Overall, it is a very impressive square today that represents the city's history from the Almohad dynasty in the middle ages through the destroyed mosque to twentieth century independence with the new mausoleum.
Rabat is also unique because it is a coastal city, and we were lucky to have some great views of the Atlantic from this area.  We then went on to the Kasbah of the Oudaias area, in was painted blue like Chefchaouen.  There, we had some great views of the shore and the very crowded beaches.  We then sat at a nice outdoor café and had green tea and Moroccan desserts, enjoying the setting.
We left the fortified area and headed to a nearby market, in which we roamed around and did our shopping.  This area had a decent number of tourists though it certainly wasn't overrun by them and I felt comfortable and safe walking around alone to shop (something I wouldn't have been comfortable with in Fes).
The following morning, we woke up early and visited the Royal Place complex.  We couldn't go inside, but we looked at the massive buildings and accompanying mosque from the outside.  We also saw several government ministries that had buildings nearby.
 
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