Rabat’s Medina is spectacular and a treat to the senses- don’t miss it.
In my last post I spoke about how I was surprised by how modern Rabat seemed. The city wasn’t exactly what I pictured when I thought of Morocco. I pictured markets and spices like the cover of a travel guide and was shocked to discover it like many European cities. I was just in the wrong part of the city.
The other evening, I ventured into the Medina and there it was: the magical Morocco I imagined. No European city could match this.
The Medina is like the old-town of the city. When people imagine what Morocco will be like, they think of deserts and camels or the Medina. Its the old walled city, a series of narrow alleyways shaded by bright materials overhead and lined with market stalls, shops and street-food. It feels like anything could be around the next narrow corner.
Rabat’s Medina was a sensory overload of colours, spices and loud haggling. It’s large enough to get lost, but small enough to find your way back. We found it fun to get lost among the stalls and shops, it’s part of the old-town’s charm.
The entire city of Rabat is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Rabat’s old town and historical sites are preserved staggeringly well:
“the integrity of the archaeological ensembles, the adequately conserved fortifications of the Almohad wall.”
Rabat’s Medina accounted for the entire city until it became the French colonial capital in the 20th century. This which explains how Rabat has a beautifully preserved old-town but also a well-planned, modern, urban city. This conservation and well planned development makes Rabat a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
“Through its urban ensemble, its monuments and its public spaces, the modern city of Rabat shows respect for, and draws inspiration from, the earlier Arabo-Muslim heritage. It bears outstanding testimony to the diffusion of European ideas in the early 20th century.”
I am not exaggerating when I tell you about the beauty of Rabat! It’s mainly an administrative capital, home to countless embassies and the King of Morocco himself but don’t underestimate this city! Its a hidden treasure in Morocco.
Explore the Medina
In the Medina you can find a range of items from jewelry, leather clothing, fresh fruit and vegetables or babbouche, a traditional Moroccan snail dish. Although I can’t comment on the babbouche myself, you’ll find many beautiful street foods to try throughout Rabat Medina. None of it costs more than a few dirhams. The food here is amazing. I will probably do several posts entirely on what to eat when you’re here (everything).
The Medina is spectacular and is a must see if you are in Rabat. It is situated along the coast and the fresh sea air makes it an enjoyable place to spend half a day. You can try street food, cafés and buy some unique souvenirs.
So far Rabat seems to me to be living a double life. You have the ville nouvelle, a modern city with efficient public transport, parks and public spaces. It wouldn’t look out of place along European capitals. Then you have the Medina where it feel like travelling back in time to another world.
I will definitely be sharing a lot more about the Medina as I get more familiar with it. if you have any questions about Rabat or its Medina feel free ask me questions on my socials. I’d be happy to answer anything I can.
–The Student Explorer