City Orientation Walk, Rabat (Self Guided)

Morocco's capital Rabat is known for its picturesque natural surroundings as well as man-made beauty manifested in a combination of old and new architecture, featuring Islamic and French-colonial styles, abundance of mosques and historic monuments. One of the city's most prominent sights is the iconic Hassan Tower, a 12th-century minaret, soaring over the ruins of a mosque. Follow this orientation walk to explore the most famous attractions of Rabat.
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City Orientation Walk Map

Guide Name: City Orientation Walk
Guide Location: Morocco » Rabat (See other walking tours in Rabat)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 11
Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.3 km
Author: alice
1
Hassan Tower

1) Hassan Tower (must see)

Hassan Tower or Tour Hassan is the minaret of an incomplete mosque in Rabat. Begun in 1195, the tower was intended to be the largest minaret in the world. In 1199, Sultan Yacoub al-Mansour died and construction on the mosque stopped. The tower only reached 44 m, about half of its intended 86 m height. The rest of the mosque was also left incomplete, with only the beginnings of several walls and 200 columns being constructed. The tower, made of red sandstone, along with the remains of the mosque and the modern Mausoleum of Mohammed V, forms an important historical and tourist complex in Rabat.

Instead of stairs, the tower is ascended by ramps. The minaret's ramps would have allowed the muezzin to ride a horse to the top of the tower to issue the call to prayer. Founder of the Hassan Tower, Yaqub al-Mansur, was a member of the Almohad Dynasty, a Berber, Muslim empire in West Africa and Iberia. The tower, according to tradition, was designed by an architect named Jabir who used a similar design plan for Hassan's sister tower, the Giralda in Seville, modern day Spain. Both of the towers were modeled on the minaret of another one of Jabir's designs, the Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech. Renaissance Spaniards later added a western style top to the Giralda, which was converted from a minaret to a bell tower for the Seville Cathedral after the Reconquista.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
2
Mausoleum of Mohammed V

2) Mausoleum of Mohammed V (must see)

Mausoleum of Mohammed V was built by King Hassan II for his father Mohammed V. The building is a marvel of the Alaouite dynasty architecture and is a mausoleum and the resting place of Mohammed V and his two sons: King Hassan II and Prince Abdallah. The structure is located within the Yacoub Al Mansour Square and is a real king’s mausoleum by its beauty. The mausoleum was design by a Vietnamese architect. The structure is white with a green top roof, specific for the modern Moroccan architecture. The interior is absolutely outstanding and richly decorated and it is one of the few religious sights that is open to the public. The mausoleum is open daily from sunrise until sunset.
3
Saint Pierre Cathedral

3) Saint Pierre Cathedral (must see)

Saint Pierre Cathedral is a very beautiful religious sight. It is still working. The cathedral was built in the 20th century during the French period in Morocco. The cathedral is famous for its pipe organ, amazing stain glass windows with images that depict the life of Jesus and marvelous mosaics that show the twelve Stations of the Cross.
4
The Post of Morocco

4) The Post of Morocco

The Post of Morocco general office is located on Avenue Mohammed V corner Rue Soekarno in a beautiful piece of modern Moroccan architecture. The building is white and above the entrance door there is a big clock. The façade of the structure is fascinating. The Post Office on Avenue Mohammed V is considered a Rabat landmark.
5
Musée de la Monnaie de Bank Al-Maghrib

5) Musée de la Monnaie de Bank Al-Maghrib (must see)

The Bank Al-Maghrib is the central bank of Morocoo and it was founded in 1959. In 1992, the bank opened the Musée de la Monnaie de Bank Al-Maghrib. The museum contains an outstanding collection of coins and other monetary documents. Also, it has a permanent collection of paintings. The museum is located on the third floor of the Al-Maghrib Bank. The building of the bank is a fascinating model of modern architecture in Rabat.
6
Parliament of Morocco

6) Parliament of Morocco

The Parliament of Morocco is located in Rabat. Since 1996, the national legislature has become bicameral and has therefore two parliamentary chambers: the Assembly of Representatives or the lower house, and the Assembly of Councillors. The Members of Parliament come from Morocco and the Moroccan-held parts of Western Sahara Part of the reserve powers, the King of Morocco has the right to dissolve the Parliament. In the past, during the "years of lead" under King Hassan II, this right was used extensively, along with suspensions and extensions of terms. Thus, until 1997, not a single elected Parliament was able to complete its term under normal circumstances. The role of Parliament, and the respect of the monarchy for its integrity, has increased considerably since 1999, when Mohammed VI took the throne. However, the power of Parliament is still being limited as it is the King who appoints the prime minister and on proposition from the latter, the members of government.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
7
Rabat Archaeological Museum

7) Rabat Archaeological Museum (must see)

Rabat Archaeological Museum, opened in 1932, contains the most extensive collection of archaeological artifacts found in Morocco. It contains prehistoric and pre-Islamic collections including an extensive collection of objects uncovered by archaeologists working in Volubilis, Banasa and Thamusida, and were first put on display in 1930-1932. This includes human remains from the middle palaeolithic period to the neolithic (4000 B.C.). A further find in 1957 saw the museum expand considerably, after which it became a National Museum and it has housed the National Museum collections since 1986. Pre-Roman and Roman civilisations are well-represented in the museum with a number of notable Hellenistic-style bronzes such as the Dog of Volubilis, and the marble 'Ephebe Crowned With Ivy and Head of a Young Berber'.

On the ground floor of the museum is an extensive collection of stone artifacts from prehistoric cultures. On display are a number of tools, arrows, axes, swordss, items of pottery, altars and sarcophagi and polished stones and stelae carved with inscriptions. The floor also has a number of tomb fragments and rock carvings. It covers Acheulian culture. The Pre-Islamic collection of the museum is derived from sites that include Volubilis, Banasa, Thamusida, Sala and Mogador and are organized by theme. The displays such as cooking utensils such as plates, dishes, glasses and knives reveal much about every day life and Mediterranean relations in earlier times particularly between Morocco and Carthage. The museum has an extensive collection found at the site of Sala-Chellah on the upper floor of the museum including an early Christian altar, a Byzantine censer.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
8
Mosquée Assounna

8) Mosquée Assounna

Mosquée Assounna is located on Avenue Moulay Hassan and is, at the moment, the biggest mosque in Rabat. It was first built by Sultan Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah in the 18th century. It was later renovated several times. During the reign of King Hassan II, the minaret of the Mosquée Sounna was moved stone by stone from the northern part to the southern part of the mosque. The mosque has a neo-Moorish architectural style.
9
Mosque el Faeh

9) Mosque el Faeh

The Mosque el Faeh is also called the Royal Mosque because it is located just next to the Royale Palace in Rabat and it is the place where the kings go to pray. The mosque is very beautiful, made in a modern style with white walls and a green roof. Non-Muslims are not allowed to enter the Mosque el Faeh.
10
Bab Zaer

10) Bab Zaer

Bab Zaer is one of the walled gates of Rabat. Bab Zaer was built in the 12th century and renovated in the 18th century. The gate is very beautiful and has several arches and a lot of passages. This gate leads to the Chellah Necropolis and to the district of embassies in Rabat in Ville Nouvelle.
11
Chellah

11) Chellah (must see)

Chellah, is a necropolis and complex of ancient Roman Mauretania Tingitana and medieval ruins at the outskirts of Rabat. First spot of Salé, this latter was completed towards the north of the river. It is the most ancient human settlement on the mouth of the Bou Regreg River. Chellah is the site of the ruins of the Roman town known as Sala Colonia, referred to as Sala by Ptolemy. Excavations show an important port city with ruined Roman architectural elements including a decumanus maximus or principal Roman way, a forum and a triumphal arch.

One of the two main Roman roads in Morocco reached the Atlantic through Iulia Constantia Zilil , Lixus and Sala Colonia. Another may have been built toward south, from Sala Colonia to modern Casablanca, then called Anfa. The Romans had two main naval ouposts on the Atlantic: Sala near modern Rabat and Mogador in north of Agadir. Roman expeditions sailed from there to find the Canary islands.

The site was abandoned in 1154 in favour of nearby Salé. The Almohad dynasty used the ghost town as a necropolis. In the mid-14th century, a Merinid sultan, Abu l-Hasan, built monuments and the main gate, dated to 1339. These later Merinid additions included a mosque, a zawiya, and royal tombs, including that of Abu l-Hasan. Many structures in Chellah were damaged by the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. The site has been converted to a garden and tourist venue.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Rabat, Morocco

Create Your Own Walk in Rabat

Create Your Own Walk in Rabat

Creating your own self-guided walk in Rabat is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Rabat Nightlife Walk

Rabat Nightlife Walk

Rabat nightlife is very strict. Within the city, drinking alcohol is taboo and it is forbidden to advertise alcohol in any way. So there are few options in a bar with respect to alcohol in Rabat, but you can still enjoy a great night. Most of the bars are located within hotels, but there are bars in other places too. There are also places for non-alcoholic fun, usually involving locals....  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 km
Medina and Kasbah Walk in Rabat

Medina and Kasbah Walk in Rabat

Rabat is a very popular tourist destination in Morocco. It has two main parts, the Old Walled City with the marvelous Kasbah des Oudayas, Medina and others. There is also the Ville Nouvelle or the New City with the Royal Palace and fascinating buildings of modern architecture. Take the walk below to see the most amazing attractions in Old Rabat.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 km
Rabat Shopping Walk

Rabat Shopping Walk

Rabat is heaven for those who love shopping. The city has many shopping opportunities in so-called traditional markets or shopping streets. All kinds of clothes, shoes, leather, jewelry, pottery, handicrafts, carpets, rugs and many other oriental items can be found here. Take this walk to see the most famous and popular markets and shopping streets in Rabat.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.4 km
Rabat Museums Walk

Rabat Museums Walk

Rabat is an old city dating back to the 7th century. A long history and great Moroccan traditions make Rabat a very interesting city to visit. Among other interesting attractions, Rabat has a number of unique museums. Take this walk in order to see some of the most amazing museums of Rabat.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.2 km
Rabat-Salé Walk

Rabat-Salé Walk

Sale is the twin city of Rabat and it is located just across the Bou Regreg River. It is also a very old settlement with a rich history and some very interesting and fascinating attractions. Take this walk in Sale in order to see its most famous tourist attractions.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 km

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Rabat for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Rabat has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Taking Care of Your Feet


To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Rabat, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device


Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.