Morocco: West Atlas
Bicycle Africa / Ibike Tours
 
       
  Morocco flag Atlantic Coast: Kenitra, Salé and Rabat  
  Grain elevators, Kenitra, Morocco Artichokes and oranges at the roadside, Kenitra, MoroccoThis section focuses on the central coast, starting north of Kenitra and extending south to Casablanca.

The generally flat countryside is suitable for a variety of crops. Artichokes and oranges were available at the road side. Grain elevators suggest that wheat is grown in the area. There are a variety of orchards to be seen. The roadside selection of produce probably changes monthly, if not more often.

Fruit orchard, Kenitra, Morocco
       
    Eucalyptus forest, Kenitra, MoroccoWhen the planes raise a little bit the farm land often gives way to eucalyptus forest. Historically, this probably was all cork-oak forest that now has been replanted with faster-growing eucalyptus. It also indicates how even a slight changes in topography and soil condition can dramatically affect the lands usefulness for farming.  
    Atlantic Free Zone, Light Industry, Kenitra, MoroccoMarjane Super Store, , Kenitra, MoroccoEven with limited farmland, non-agriculture land use is pushing out agriculture. Growing populations are expanding the urban footprint. Motorization is facilitating superstores in cow grazing areas (left). And the desire for modern economic sector jobs is replacing fruit orchard with light industrial "manufacturing orchards", like the "Atlantic Free Zone" (right).  
       
  Building, Kenitra, Morocco Fruit smoothie shop, Kenitra, MoroccoKids ride toy vehicles as parents look on, Kenitra, MoroccoKenitra is probably rarely on the map for international tourists.  There are some nearby beaches that attract primarily Moroccans. An evening snapshot would make it seem very much a modern family town: Children and parents stroll in the square, young couples share a fresh fruit smoothie together along the main street and McDonald's is full of families with young kids. McDonald's restaurant, Kenitra, Morocco
       
    Kenitra-Salé road, MoroccoThe Kenitra - Salé / Rabat road stays inland and parallels the coast and behind the primary dune. The only sign of the oceans are the signs to the various beaches along the way, one of which was the Beach of Nations.  
       
    City wall, Salé, MoroccoParts of Salé are still bounded by its old wall. It was founded in 1030 and has a notorious history as being a haven for pirates. It was incorporated into Morocco around the middle of  the Alaouite Dynasty (1666-1900). During the French Colonial period, it was a hotbed of activism against colonial rule -- residing across the river in Rabat. It has long since outgrown its wall and is beginning to sprawl.  There is certainly more to Salé, but this is what you see from the highway. Old building, Salé, Morocco
       
  Tram line, Rabat-Sale, Morocco Tram line, Rabat-Sale, MoroccoTram line, Rabat-Sale, MoroccoSalé is in part a bedroom community for Rabat, separated by a river. As of May 2011, the two communities became conveniently connected a light rail system. The new bridge for the tram also includes separate bike lanes and pedestrian path.  
       
  Looking down the Bou Regreg River towards Rabat, Morocco There have been settlements on the site of Rabat since ancient times. Its long and rich history is reflected in monuments from the Phoenician, Roman, Almohad and Merenid times. The center of governance and power shifted at times between Rabat and Salé,

Rabat became a Muslim fortress in the 8th century. Almohad Sultan Yaqub's development initiatives left a physical legacy in the late 12th century. Later (17th and 18th century), it was a stronghold of corsairs - pirates named after their boats. In modern history, to avoid favoring either of the rival historical capitals of Fes and Marrakech, the French chose Rabat as the capital for the Protectorate of Morocco in the early 20th century. That status continued at Independence in 1956.

Some of the locations in Rabat, with historical and cultural significance are:

Promanade and bikeway along the Bou Regreg River, Rabat Morocco

       
  Kasbah of the Udayas Kasbah of the Udayas, Rabat, MoroccoKasbah of the Udayas, Rabat, MoroccoKasbah of the Oudaias (Udayas) was built during the reign of the Almohads (AD 1121-1269). When the Almohads captured Rabat they destroyed the Kasbah of the Almoravids. The Almohads began reconstructing it in AD 1150. They added a palace and a mosque and named it al-Mahdiyya, after their ancestor al-Mahdi Ibn Tumart. After the death of Sultan Yaqub al-Mansur (AD 1199), the Kasbah was deserted.  
    Kasbah of the Udayas, Rabat, Morocco Kasbah of the Udayas, Rabat, Morocco Kasbah of the Udayas, Rabat, Morocco Kasbah of the Udayas, Rabat, Morocco  
    The Kasbah's exterior (above) and interior (below) have a very different scale, color, texture, and details, but are about equal in their ability to slow you down, entertain the eye, and be photogenic subjects. It is particularly engaging to poke around the alleys of the interior.  
    Kasbah of the Udayas, Rabat, Morocco Kasbah of the Udayas, Rabat, Morocco Kasbah of the Udayas, Rabat, Morocco Kasbah of the Udayas, Rabat, Morocco

 The interior of the Kasbah has now been revived as an artisan and upscale community, with the associated galleries and cliff-edge tourist amenities (café and restaurants).

Medina, Rabat, Morocco
  Kasbah of the Udayas, Rabat, Morocco Kasbah of the Udayas, Rabat, Morocco Kasbah of the Udayas, Rabat, Morocco Kasbah of the Udayas, Rabat, Morocco Kasbah of the Udayas, Rabat, Morocco Kasbah of the Udayas, Rabat, Morocco
  Andalusian Gardens, Kasbah of the Udayas, Rabat, Morocco Andalusian Gardens, Kasbah of the Udayas, Rabat, MoroccoAt the south end of the complex is the Andalusian Gardens to unwind in. Many of the house are whitewashed with light blue highlights. Combined with its narrow streets, much of the interior has a clean, crisp look, cozy feeling, similar to the feel and appearance of Sidi bou Said in Tunis and village in the Greek Isles. Andalusian Gardens, Kasbah of the Udayas, Rabat, Morocco
       
  Rabat Beach and Cimetière As-Shouhada' (Martyrs Cemetery) Rabat Beach, Rabat, MoroccoCimetière As-Shouhada', Rabat, MoroccoBelow the Kasbah, on both the Rabat and Salé sides of the mouth of Bou Regreg River are beaches. They are predominantly used by males. Upland from the Rabat Beach is the large Cimetière As-Shouhada' (Martyrs Cemetery).  
       
  Rabat Media

Medina, Rabat, Morocco

 

Medina, Rabat, Morocco Medina, Rabat, Morocco Medina, Rabat, Morocco Medina, Rabat, Morocco

Medina, Rabat, MoroccoRestaurant, Medina, Rabat, MoroccoThe quiet medina has an authentic feel to it, some good shops and a lot of vernacular architecture. Visitors are generally blissfully ignored on the streets and in the souks, so it’s easy to explore the city’s character and hidden corners at your own pace.

Medina, Rabat, Morocco
  Medina, Rabat, Morocco Medina, Rabat, Morocco Medina, Rabat, Morocco Medina, Rabat, Morocco Medina, Rabat, Morocco  
  Medina, Mellah Mellah, Rabat, Morocco Mellah, Rabat, Morocco Mellah, Rabat, Morocco Mellah, Rabat, Morocco Mellah, Rabat, Morocco
    Rabat's Mellah (Jewish Quarter) is tucked into the southeast corner of the medina. The are a few indicators that that it is the old Jewish Quarter: There are few entrances, the main alley is called Rue du Mellah, and one of the side streets is named Rue David Cohen (Rue Cheikh Daoud). An architectural feature that is common in Mellahs and virtually non-existent in Moslem quarters is residences with open balconies.  
       
  Medina: Fancy doors. Fancy door, Medina, Rabat, Morocco Fancy door, Medina, Rabat, Morocco Fancy door, Medina, Rabat, Morocco Fancy door, Kasbah of the Udayas, Rabat, Morocco  
    Rabat, like most other North African medina's, has a number of ornate and beguiling entryways. Each new door is like finding another pearl on a walk.  
       
  Rabat New Town Rabat's new town was conceived and built under the French Protectorate from 1912 to the 1930s, including royal and administrative areas, residential and commercial developments and the Jardins d’Essais botanical and pleasure gardens. Architecturally, it merges Art Deco, Andalusian, and Moorish elements. It also encompasses older parts of the city dating back to the 12thcentury. The new town is one of the largest and most ambitious modern urban projects built in Africa in the 20th century and probably the most complete.  
       
 

Fountain, Place des Alaouines, Ave Mohammad V, Rabat, Morocco

French District; Quartier Des Orangers and The atmosphere is as cosmopolitan as its economic big brother down the coast. Casablancans say that, with all the bureaucrats, Rabat is dull, but it is a weak point at best. The city is far less grimy and frantic than Casablanca and even a bit dressy. Mosquée Assounna and Royal palm, Ave Mohammad V, Rabat, Morocco
    Fountain, Place des Alaouines, Ave Mohammad V, Rabat, Morocco French building, near Place des Alaouines, Ave Mohammad V, Rabat, Morocco Toward Parliament, Place des Alaouines, Ave Mohammad V, Rabat, Morocco Mosquée Assounna, Ave Mohammad V, Rabat, Morocco  
    Along the boulevard and in the neighborhood nearby there are a number of prominent building:  
    Musée Mohamed VI d' Art Moderne et Contemporain, Ave Mohammad V, Rabat, Morocco Musée Mohamed VI d' Art Moderne et Contemporain, Ave Mohammad V, Rabat, Morocco Gare Rabat Ville, Ave Mohammad V, Rabat, Morocco Interior, Gare du Rabat, Rabat, Morocco  
    (above) Musée Mohamed VI d' Art Moderne et Contemporain (two left) and Gare Rabat Ville (two right; exterior and interior)  
    Post Office, Rabat, Morocco Bank al Maghrib, Ave Mohammad V, Rabat, Morocco Rabat Theater, Rabat, Morocco Rabat Cathedral, Rabat, Morocco  
    (above, from left to right) Rabat Post Office, Bank al Maghrib, Rabat Theatre, and Rabat Cathedral  
       
  Avenue Al Mansour Addahbe Art Street, Ave Al Mansour Addahbe, Rabat, MoroccoArt Street, Ave Al Mansour Addahbe, Rabat, MoroccoArt Street, Ave Al Mansour Addahbe, Rabat, MoroccoAlong Avenue Al Mansour Addahbe, there is an outdoor art market. Fourteen artists have kiosks showing their work. Some have their studios on site and continue to work as they wait for patrons. Art Street, Ave Al Mansour Addahbe, Rabat, Morocco
       
  Le Tour Hassan

Le Tour Hassan, Rabat, Morocco

Le Tour Hassan, Rabat, MoroccoLe Tour Hassan, Rabat, MoroccoThe plaza of Le Tour Hassan (Tower of Hassan) could more easily be passed off as a Roman inspired art installation than an 800-year-old Islamic ruin, The explanation is, in fact, that Sultan Yacub al-Mansour (b.1160 - d.1199), the third Caliph (r1184–99) of the Almohad Dynasty (~1120-1269), commission a mosque and adjoining minaret, in 1195, that he intended to be the world's largest, in its time. Much of the labor was done by Christian slaves that had been captured in Iberia. With his untimely death of Yacub in 1199, construction on the mosque stopped. Le Tour Hassan, Rabat, Morocco
       
  Mausolée Mohammed V Mausolée Mohammed V, Rabat, MoroccoMausolée Mohammed V, Rabat, MoroccoMausolée Mohammed V, Rabat, MoroccoAt the south edge of Le Tour Hassan, looming above the Bou Regreg River is the Mausolée Mohammed V. It contains the tombs of the Moroccan king and his two sons, late King Hassan II, and Prince Abdallah. The building is considered a masterpiece of modern Alaouite dynasty architecture, with its white silhouette, topped by a typical green tiled roof, green being the color of Islam. A reader of the Koran is often present, having his assigned seat. Honor guard, Mausolée Mohammed V, Rabat, Morocco
       
  Challah Chellah, Rabat, MoroccoChellah, Rabat, MoroccoChallah was the Roman port and commercial center of Sala Colonia. Sultan Yacub al-Mansour also had a hand in the history of Chellah, when in the late 12th century he converted the ghost town to a medieval, fortified necropolis. The site is now a garden and tourist venue. It hosts an annual Jazz Festival. Chellah, Rabat, Morocco
       
   

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