• Ryle Eddings

A Pedacito of Rabat, Morocco

Updated: May 22, 2021

As the capital city, Rabat is one of the most well-maintained and culturally diverse cities in Morocco. Walking through the city, one can experience the influence of French-colonial, Berber, Jewish, and Islamic traditions and architecture as they fold into one another.

The sunsets of Morocco are spectacular
The sunsets of Morocco are spectacular

Rabat offers a glimpse into its historical significance. Since its founding in the 12th century as a fortified monastery, Rabat has since been home to Romans, Muslims, Berbers, Jews and was even a popular haven for Barbery pirates during the 17th century. During the French military occupation, beginning in 1912, Rabat was considered the capital of the protectorate for the colonial regime. When Morocco achieved its independence from France in 1955, Rabat became the official capital of Morocco.

The Royal Palace of King Mohammed VI is located in the heart of Rabat. Because of this, much of the city is kept immaculately clean and extremely safe. There are various forms of plain-clothes and uniformed police and security everywhere you turn.


While there are plenty of great traditional restaurants, museums, and historically significant landmarks to be found in Rabat, I discovered that visiting the beaches and ocean-side cliffs was among my happiest memories of the city. Morocco is located on the north-western corner of the African continent, and Rabat sits on the western coast of the Atlantic Ocean, about a two hours train ride north of Casablanca.


I started my first day in Rabat by visiting the Kasbah district. Within the ancient walls of the kasbah, one can visit Rabat’s oldest mosque, built in 1150, go shopping in the small streets of the medina, and get some spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Once I reached the ocean, I walked south towards the “Quartier de L’Ocean” (Ocean Quarter). Surprisingly, this section of the city seemed a little less clean than those found inland, but the ocean views were like nothing I had ever seen.

Rabat's history is long and varied
Rabat's history is long and varied
Watching the waves crash against Rabat's shoreline was one of my favorite pasttimes
Watching the waves crash against Rabat's shoreline was one of my favorite pasttimes

My Moroccan friend told me that the word “Morocco” in Arabic means “the township of sunset.” The founders definitely named the country appropriately. When the sun begins to set in Rabat, the city starts to show its true beauty. The sun’s rays reflect on the rooftops, and the sky turns amber and pink in color.


The tall cliffs that line much of Rabat’s coast are a perfect place to sit and watch the setting sun. Every afternoon, I would take a travel mug filled with hot, sweet, mint tea (Moroccans call this “Moroccan whiskey”) to one of the cliffs and sit on a rock overlooking the ocean to watch the sunset. The waves, which were among the largest I have ever seen, would slowly roll in from the Atlantic and crash against the cliff’s walls. I watched as fishermen cast their line from up high, and seagulls flew around them in the hopes of an easy meal. While watching the small fishing vessels pass, I would imagine the grand pirate ships that once sailed the very same ocean.

Rabat had some of the biggest waves I have ever seen
Rabat had some of the biggest waves I have ever seen
My finacé standing at the edge of a cliff in the city of Rabat
My finacé standing at the edge of a cliff in the city of Rabat
Morocco is known for its beautiful sunsets
Morocco is known for its beautiful sunsets

Two of my favorite things are history and nature. Rabat is a wonderful place to experience both. However, if you really want to see the best that this capital city has to offer, I highly recommend spending some time along Rabat’s coast. If you head towards the beach after 5:00 pm, you are guaranteed to see one of the prettiest sunsets you will ever witness!

 

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