By Anita Draycott
Situated on the Atlantic coast, northeast of Casablanca, Rabat reigns as the capital of Morocco. A modern city of gardens and monuments, highlights include the majestic Hassan Tower minaret, and behind it, the Mausoleum of Mohammed V, Morocco’s first king and father of its independence, housed in a magnificent white marble pavilion.
Nearby, the enormous Bab (gate) Oudaya leads to an enchanting Andalucian garden and Le Café Maure where you can refresh yourself with a mint tea and almond pastry before exploring the maze of steep winding streets of the twelfth-century Kasbah. Former home of sultans, slaves and pirates, its walls are painted a serene blue and white, reminiscent of Greek Isles.
Many of the sturdy wooden doors are decorated with the Hand of Fatima or with scissor-shaped doorknockers to ward off evil. Wind your way to the ramparts at the top for a commanding view of Rabat and across the river, the gleaming white town, Salé. If you happen to be in Rabat on a Thursday, don’t miss the carpet auction.