Greetings! Earlier this month I took a trip to visit Morocco. My itinerary included Rabat, Volubilis, Fez, Marrakesh, and Casablanca. It was a fantastic adventure from beginning to end with so much to explore and experience.
Today I'm sharing the top five sights that I've visited in Rabat, my side trip to the archaeological site of Volubilis, and a view of Moulay Idriss, considered to be the holiest city in Morocco.
TOP FIVE SIGHTS IN RABAT
- Morocco is a North African country that has a coastline on both the Mediterranean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean.
- Morocco's official languages are Arabic and Berber. Berber language became Morocco's official language in 2011. French is widely understood and spoken in Morocco due to its history as a French protectorate (1912-1956).
- The King of Morocco is Mohammed VI.
- The local currency is the Moroccan dirham (MAD).
- The population of Rabat, Morocco's capital, is about 600,000.
- Both Rabat and Volubilis are listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites.
(Click to enlarge the pictures
1. The Kasbah of the Udayas
(Kasbah means citadel): This picturesque medieval fortress citadel was built in the 12th century during the reign of the Almohad Caliphate. From the Kasbah, we get a commanding ocean views and beautiful Andalusian gardens on its base. As we walked the small alleyways behind the fortified walls, my local guide explained that the walls are painted blue to keep flies away as as flies do not like blue.
|The Kasbah of the Udayas, Rabat, Morocco|
|Large doors at the Kasbah of the Udayas|
|Pathway from the Kasbah to the oceanfront|
|Blue-painted alleyway in the Kasbah|
2. The Mausoleum of Mohammed V:
|Iron gates to the gardens|
This royal family mausoleum contains the tombs of the Moroccan king Mohammed V and his two sons, late King Hassan II and Prince Abdallah. The mausoleum is known for its ornate Alaouite architecture and green tiled roof. The members of the Moroccan Royal Guard are on steeds at the gate of the mausoleum and stand on guard at the four entrances. The horses are changed every two hours. The interiors of the mausoleum reminded me of architecture that I've seen in Andalusia, Spain.
|The Mausoleum of Mohammed V, Rabat, Morocco|
|A Royal Guard at the Mausoleum of Mohammed V|
|The ceiling of the Mausoleum of Mohammed V|
3. Hassan Tower
|The walls inside the Mausoleum of Mohammed V|
is located on the opposite side of the Mausoleum of Mohammed V. The tower, made of red sandstone in the 12th century, is the minaret of an incomplete mosque. It reached 44m (140 ft) about half of its intended 86 m (260 ft) height before its construction stopped. The rest of the mosque was also left incomplete with several walls and 348 columns being constructed. The doors and fountains facing Hassan Tower display beautiful designs.
|Hassan Tower, Rabat, Morocco|
|Doors facing Hassan Tower, Rabat, Morocco|
4. The Chellah
|Fountains facing Hassan Tower, Rabat, Morocco|
houses both Roman ruins and a medieval Muslim necropolis. Its history dated back to Phoenician time. Abandoned in 1154 and damaged further by the Lisbon earthquake in 1755, it is a fascinating place to wander around. The only remains of once-impressive mosque is the elegant stone-and-tile minaret, now topped with storks' nests, which is considered a sign of good fortune. Can you see a stork flying towards the minaret and a few storks on the minaret in my photo below?
|The Chellah, Rabat, Morocco|
|Exterior walls at the Chellah|
5. The Royal Palace
|Interior walls at the Chellah|
(Dar al-Makhzen) is the primary and official residence of the king of Morocco. The current palace was built in 1864. The large palace complex includes a school for members of the royal family, a mosque, living space for the king and the royal family, accommodation for the Moroccan Royal Guard, and extensive gardens and grounds surrounding the palace.
|The Royal Palace, Rabat, Morocco|
The archaeological site of Volubilis is about 120 km (75 miles) east of Rabat. Morocco has nine World Heritage sites in total, and this is one of them.
Volubilis was founded in 3rd century BC, and was abandoned in 11th century AD. The ruins reflect Phoenician, Carthaginian, Roman, and Idrisids cultures. If you're interested in ancient history, I'd highly recommend a guided tour to explore this large and amazing site.
|Archaeological site of Volubilis, Morocco|
|The Capitoline Temple, Volubilis|
MOULAY IDRISS CITY:
|Mosaic floor design in Volubilis, Morocco|
Upon leaving Volubilis, we passed by Moulay Idriss
, considered to be the holiest city in Morocco. The city is named after the Moroccan saint Moulay Idriss, a descendant of Muhammad, who died and was buried in 792 AD in the city that was eventually named after him.
During his life in Morocco, Idriss founded Morocco’s first Arab dynasty as well as the city of Fes and is accredited with converting the majority of Morocco’s population to Islam.
Moulay Idriss itself is situated in a valley with lush green hillsides enclosing the white-washed houses of the city on three sides, making for a beautiful sight.
|View of Moulay Idriss city, Morocco|
I enjoyed exploring the main landmarks in Rabat and the archaeological site of Volubilis very much. Rabat is a laid back and modern capital. Its top five sights are easily accessible in a compact area. Rabat stands in stark contrast to the old cities in the rest of Morocco.
In hindsight, I'm glad that I explored Rabat first. It felt like a gentle introduction to Morocco. My next stop is Fez (or Fes), one of Morocco's imperial cities. If you have limited time and want to experience exotic and mesmerizing Morocco, make sure you go to Fez!
What do you think? I'd love to hear your comments.
Oh. My. I've always wanted to visit morocco - and your pics have reminded me why.ReplyDelete
It's a fascinating country, Jo. I'm glad I went to Morocco.Delete
Oh Natalie, what an interesting country to visit and although we had removed Morocco from our bucket list, I'm putting it back on now that I've read your post. I love the architecture and history. Thanks so much for sharing. xxReplyDelete
My pleasure to share my travels, Sue. Thank You for reading and commenting. The architecture is beautiful and history is deep in Morocco. I really enjoyed my time there.Delete
Hi Natalie thank you for sharing at #MLSTL and I shared on my ST60 & Beyond FB Group. Have a great week. xxDelete
Thanks, Sue, for sharing. You have a great week, too!Delete
Hi, Natalie - Congratulations on such a wonderful trip. We have good friends who both taught in Rabat -- and absolutely LOVED it! I've always wanted to go there -- it is on my travel list!ReplyDelete
Thank you, Donna, for your kind words. Morocco is a fascinating country. Rabat was great! I can see how your friends loved it.Delete
Who knew flies didn’t like blue! Maybe we should repaint our camper van? :-)ReplyDelete
I’ve never been to any of these places in Morocco, Natalie. It’s nice to see Rabat through your photos. And, to be honest, I’m surprised to see the Roman-inspired architecture and ruins in Morocco. Definitely a different impression than the places that I visited in this country. Fes, I will recognize. :-)
Hi Liesbet - Glad to see your comment appears OK. It was interesting to learn about how the blue paint deters flies. Rabat is certainly different from Fes and Marrakesh. When I first read about Volubilis, I was also surprised to see the Roman ruins. Once I visited the site, read the signage and listened to the tour guide's explanation, it made sense. All in all, Morocco is intriguing.Delete
Both places look fascinating! I have been contemplating Morocco next year and your post is convincing me!ReplyDelete
Thank you, Sanch, for stopping by and commenting. Morocco may be outside comfort zone for some travellers. I'd say come prepared and you'll have an amazing time, like I did.Delete
I never knew flies didn't like blue. Brought a white jacket that was supposed to repel them, the short version it didn't work!! Still debating whether to visit Morocco. You have ignited my interest!ReplyDelete
Thank you, Suzanne, for your visit and comment. Something in the blue paint deters flies and insects. I had delayed my visit to Morocco for a while. Now I'm glad I went.Delete
I loved reading about your trip to Morocco as I haven't been there. But it's on the bucket list. Your photos are gorgeous -#MLSTL Shared on SMReplyDelete
Thank you, Jennifer, for your kind words. Morocco is a fascinating country. I hope you get to visit it.Delete
I, too, have always wanted to go to Morocco. What a beautiful place. I haven't checked the travel advisory site so don't know if Morocco has any civil unrest. Hope not. Thanks so much for sharing and letting me live vicariously through you. #MLSTL BrendaReplyDelete
Thank you, Brenda, for your comment. My pleasure to share my travel stories and photos. When I was in Morocco, there was no sign of civil unrest.Delete
This brings back lovely memories of a great holiday there. Wonderful place.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Chris, for your comment. I'm glad you had a great holiday in Morocco.Delete
Wow, what a wonderful and beautiful place. Thanks for sharing it with us. #MLSTLReplyDelete
Thank you, Patrick, for your comment. I greatly appreciate it.Delete
What an exciting trip! I loved your pictures. Morocco always seems so exotic to me. The architecture is as beautiful as I would have expected it to be. Rabat seems both modern and historical at the same time. Safe travels!ReplyDelete
You're spot on, Michele. Rabat is both modern and historical. Morocco is exotic to me, too. It's in Africa, yet feels more Middle Eastern.Delete
Rabat looks amazing - gosh I loved those intricate designs on the ceilings. You've rekindled my desire to visit Morocco Natalie! #MLSTL and shared on SMReplyDelete
Thank you, Jo, for your comment and shares. I enjoyed Rabat very much. The intricate designs, craftsmanship, and architecture of the main sights are amazing.Delete
Hi Natalie, I've always thought Morocco looked like a fascinating place to visit and your photos just add to that. I'm hoping to get there one day and see it all for myself.ReplyDelete
MLSTL and I've shared on my SM :)
Hi Leanne - Morocco is a fascinating place, with many sensory attractions and distractions. I hope you get to visit the country. Thank you for hosting MLSTL and sharing.Delete
Hi, Natalie - I love this post and have shared it on my Social Media. You are my Travel Hero! #MLSTLReplyDelete
Thank you, Donna, for sharing my post on your SM, and for making me laugh re: Travel Hero. I try to balance my big sense of adventure with sensibilities :)Delete
I've always wanted to visit Morocco and your pictures are simply lovely - did you go around on a bus trip or had you hired a car?ReplyDelete
Thank you, Fil. for your visit and comment. I went around Morocco by bus. There area trains connecting the cities, too. The highways are in good conditions and seem to have many toll booths.Delete
Hope to get to Morocco next year. . .this got me even more excited!ReplyDelete
Thank you, Jackie and Joel, for your visit and comment. I hope you get to visit Morocco as planned. It's a fascinating country with lots to explore.Delete
Morocco has always been high on my bucket list but I have yet to convince The Captain to sail us to the Med! Luckily, I can enjoy it here virtually with you!ReplyDelete
Hi Lisa - The Med seems to be very busy seaway. I saw a lot of huge tankers in the Strait of Gibraltar when I was there, and of course the cruise ships. Safe travels to you and the Captain!Delete
Beautiful architecture! I love the pathway and the blue alleyway!ReplyDelete
Thank you, Bethany, for your comment. I greatly appreciate it.Delete
Your blog posts are growing into a wonderful travellers' guide Natalie. Congratulations on another superb post. Thank you for linking up for #lifethisweek. Next week's optional prompt is Taking Stock. Denyse.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Denyse, for your compliment. My pleasure to share my travel stories and photos. Have a wonderful weekend!Delete
To me Morocco is an exotic type of destination, it is so different from anything I have experienced to date. You shared much useful information here about what to expect, and now I want to travel there sooner than later! #FarawayFilesReplyDelete
Thank you, Deborah, for your visit and comment. Morocco is exotic and different for sure. It's in Africa yet feels more Middle East, and the French influence left the cities with some European flair.Delete
I loved Marrakech a few years ago and my hubby is desperate to go to Morocco since I came back and waxed lyrical about it. Rabat was a consideration anyway but now you've really made me want to visit. That's interesting about the blue paint too because thats quite a thing in Greece too - I never realised there was a reason for it! #farawayfliesReplyDelete
Thank you, Alex, for your visit and comment. I enjoyed exploring the sights in Rabat and Volubilis very much. One theory about the blue colour that deters flies is that flies don't like water and the blue colour makes them think it's water. Whatever the reason, the local people sure know how to use simple techniques to keep the insects away and their towns look vibrant in the Mediteranean sun.Delete
beautiful! and thanks for all the information #farawayfilesReplyDelete
Thanks, Tanja, for your visit and comment. I greatly appreciate it.Delete
Wonderful shots, Natalie. Morocco was one of our pleasant surprise destinations and your photos brought back happy memories.ReplyDelete
Thank you for taking part in the Travel Tuesday Meme.
Thank you, Nicholas, for your comment, and for hosting Travel Tuesday.Delete
Your photos are like a step back in time! I love the arches and other beautiful scenery.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Betty, for your kind comment. There is a lot of ancient history in Morocco. I really enjoyed exploring Rabat and Volubilis.Delete
Thanks for this post Natalie. In our upcoming travels to Spain and Portugal, we are hoping to get to Morocco as well. Great tips!ReplyDelete
Thank you, Leanne, for stopping by. My pleasure to share my travel stories, photos and tips. It would be great if you could get to Morocco since it's so close to Spain.Delete