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Rabat | The allure of the UNESCO pearl

A city of contrasts between living in the calm of the Kasbah and the liveliness of the souq, between ancient fortresses and peaceful gardens: this is Rabat, a town less visited than the more famous Marrakesh and Tangier, but a true African gem that has not escaped the attention of UNESCO which has included it as a World Heritage Site.

Rabat

Rabat

There are many beautiful sights to see in Rabat but one of its finest qualities lies on its crafts of excellent quality. This means that tourists can’t miss the opportunity for a unique shopping in the souqs of the city.

The other side of Rabat

The other side of Rabat

Bab El Mansour

Enter the medina from the entrance of the best known city: the spectacular port of Bab El Mansour, where on Sundays you can take advantage of the large market and visit the lively Rue Souika, where you will be drawn to admire the Great Mosque of the city. Near the Grand Mosque, you can immerse yourself in the bustling souq of Es Sebat. Here are the best deals for the items of footwear, especially by traditional babouches, but also in textiles and jewelry.

Always consider that you can’t buy anything without haggling and bargaining, as here this practise is a true art. You must never seem to be overly interested in something, and, if they offer it, accept also the ritual of mint tea. If you are poker players, bargaining will be easier. You may act like as you are kind of interested but not too friendly and, above all never be in too much of a hurry.

Bab el Mansour

Bab el Mansour

Much appreciated in these places is also the Rbati, a type of very thin carpet, made ​​of wool shorn and floral motifs. It is hand-made carpets from Rabat women that work on the frame. The only way to buy a Rbati carpet is by participating in the auction that is held in the Rue de Consuls on Mondays and Thursdays morning.

Royal Palace of Rabat

Once you have finished shopping, go up to the fortress of the Casbah district of Oudays. It is a very pretty residential area, with cobbled streets and whitewashed and blue houses. From here you can reach the mosque of Al-Atiqa, the oldest mosque in the city founded in 1150. The ocean views from the lookout are wonderful, and if the day is hot, you can find a nice shelter in the Andalusian Garden.

Rabat

Rabat

Rabat photos by: Cris, Jesús Sánchez-Bermejo Ramos, Alberto Montalbetti, Rolf Bach

By +Nikos Kontorigas

About Nikos Kontorigas

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