Rabat, is the capital and third largest city of the Kingdom of Morocco with a population of approximately 650,000.

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Rabat (Arabic الرباط; Berber ⵕⴱⴰⵟ, transliterated ar-Rabāṭ or ar-Ribāṭ or (Er-)Rbāṭ, literally "Fortified Place"; French Ville de Rabat; Spanish Ciudad de Rabat), is the capital and third largest city of the Kingdom of Morocco with a population of approximately 650,000 (2010). It is also the capital of the Rabat-Salé-Zemmour-Zaer region.

The city is located on the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of the river Bou Regreg. On the facing shore of the river lies Salé, the city's main commuter town. Together with Temara the cities account for a combined metropolitan population of 1.8 million. Silting problems have diminished the Rabat's role as a port; however, Rabat and Salé still maintain important textile, food processing and construction industries. In addition, tourism and the presence of all foreign embassies in Morocco serve to make Rabat one of the most important cities in the country.

Rabat is accessible by train through the ONCF system and by plane through the nearby Rabat-Salé Airport.


12th to 17th century

Rabat has a relatively modern history compared to the ancient city of Sala. In 1146, the Almohad ruler Abd al-Mu'min turned Rabat's ribat into a full scale fortress to use as a launching point for attacks on Spain. In 1170, due to its military importance, Rabat acquired the title Ribatu l-Fath, meaning "stronghold of victory," from which it derives its current name.

Yaqub al-Mansur (known as Moulay Yacoub in Morocco), another Almohad Caliph, moved the capital of his empire to Rabat.[4] He built Rabat's city walls, the Kasbah of the Udayas and began construction on what would have been the world's largest mosque. However, Yaqub died and construction stopped. The ruins of the unfinished mosque, along with the Hassan Tower, still stand today.

Yaqub's death initiated a period of decline. The Almohad empire lost control of its possessions in Spain and much of its African territory, eventually leading to its total collapse. In the 13th century, much of Rabat's economic power shifted to Fez. In 1515 a Moorish explorer, El Wassan, reported that Rabat had declined so much that only 100 inhabited houses remained. An influx of Moriscos, who had been expelled from Spain, in the early 17th century helped boost Rabat's growth.

Corsair republics

Rabat and neighboring Salé united to form the Republic of Bou Regreg in 1627. The republic was run by Barbary pirates who used the two cities as base ports for launching attacks on shipping. The pirates did not have to contend with any central authority until the Alaouite Dynasty united Morocco in 1666. The latter attempted to establish control over the pirates, but failed. European and Muslims authorities continued to attempt to control the pirates over many years, but the Republic of Bou Regreg did not collapse until 1818. Even after the republic's collapse, pirates continued to use the port of Rabat, which led to the shelling of the city by Austria in 1829 after an Austrian ship had been lost to a pirate attack.

20th century

French invasion

The French invaded Morocco in 1912 and established a protectorate. The French administrator of Morocco, General Hubert Lyautey,[5] decided to relocate the country's capital from Fez to Rabat. Among other factors, rebellious citizens had made Fez an unstable place. Sultan Moulay Youssef followed the decision of the French and moved his residence to Rabat. In 1913, Gen. Lyautey hired Henri Prost who designed the Ville Nouvelle (Rabat's modern quarter) as an administrative sector. When Morocco achieved independence in 1956, Mohammed V, the then King of Morocco, chose to have the capital remain at Rabat.

Post World War II

Following World War II, the United States established a military presence in Rabat at the former French air base. By the early 1950s, Rabat Salé Air Base was a U.S. Air Force installation hosting the 17th Air Force and the 5th Air Division, which oversaw forward basing for Strategic Air Command (SAC) B-47 Stratojet aircraft in the country. With the destabilization of French government in Morocco, and Moroccan independence in 1956, the government of Mohammed V wanted the U.S. Air Force to pull out of the SAC bases in Morocco, insisting on such action after American intervention in Lebanon in 1958. The United States agreed to leave as of December 1959, and was fully out of Morocco by 1963. SAC felt the Moroccan bases were much less critical with the long range capability of the B-52 Stratofortresses that were replacing the B-47s and with the completion of the USAF installations in Spain in 1959.[6]

With the USAF withdrawal from Rabat-Salé in the 1960s, the facility became a primary facility for the Royal Moroccan Air Force known as Air Base Nº 1, a status it continues to hold.

Neighborhoods of Rabat

Rabat is an administrative city, it does not have many shopping districts, but many residential neighborhoods. Geographically spread out neighborhoods as follows:

The heart of the city consists of three parts: the Medina (old town), the Oudayas and Hassan, both located to meet the Bou Regreg and the Atlantic Ocean.

To the west, and along the waterfront, there is a succession of neighborhoods: First, around the ramparts, the old quarters of the ocean and orange (popular and middle class). Beyond that, a succession of mostly popular neighborhoods: Diour Jamaa, Akkari, Yacoub El Mansour, Massira and Hay el Fath are the main parts of this axis. Hay el Fath, which ends this sequence, evolves into a kind of middle class attendance.

To the east, along the Bouregreg,the Youssoufia region Mabella,Taqaddoum, Hay Nahda, Aviation, Rommani (working and middle classes).

Between these two axes, going from north to south, there are 3 main areas (middle class to very weatlhy): Agdal (Ward Building lively mixing residential and commercial functions, predominantly habitants are upper middle classes), Hay Riad (affluent villas which has been a surge of momentum since the 2000s), and Souissi (residential neighborhood ). On the outskirts of Souissi, as one goes further we get into less dense regions mainly constituted of large private houses to areas that seem out of the city .


The prefecture is divided administratively into the following:[7]

Name Geographic code Type Households Population (2004) Foreign population Moroccan population Notes
Agdal Riyad 421.01.01. Arrondissement 23029 90568 3469 87099
El Youssoufia 421.01.03. Arrondissement 37434 172863 934 171929
Hassan 421.01.05. Arrondissement 33797 128425 1629 126796
Souissi 421.01.06. Arrondissement 5813 27323 1359 25964
Touarga 421.01.07. Municipality 832 6452 10 6442
Yacoub El Mansour 421.01.09. Arrondissement 43850 202301 935 201366

Families of Rabat

Called Rbatis, these families have lived for more than four hundred years many events in common. From the expulsion of the Moriscos to arrive at the foundation of a culture that combines the Arabic and Andalusian cultures, through the Republic of Bouregreg events than other families coming to live in Rabat recently, have not known.

Since its founding, Rabat was inhabited by several families from the High Atlas with Abu Yusuf Yaqub al-Mansur, who founded the city in 1198, then families from many parts of Morocco have settled. Rabat has around 1240 a few hundred fifty families whose families Chiadmi, Regragui, Loudiyi, etc.

Since the end of the thirteenth century, the city has an influx of Moriscos expelled from Granada until 1609, year of total expulsion of Muslims from Spain by Philip III. These families include: Bagach (Vargas), Guedira (Gadaira), Mouline (Molina), Sebbata (Zapata), Frej. The said families are considered, until today, such as "Rbati's Families of strain." They are about four hundred families.

Other families in the city, are considered residents of Rabat because they came at the time when Rabat became the capital of the country, either through rural exodus or to work in public administration based in the city since the establishment of the protectorate.


Rabat features a Mediterranean climate with Köppen climate classification of Csa. Located along the Atlantic Ocean, Rabat has a mild, temperate climate, shifting from cool in winter to warm days in the summer months. The nights are always cool (or colder in winter), with daytime temperatures generally rising about +9/10 C° (+15/18 F°). The winter highs typically reach only 17.5 °C (63.5 °F) in December–January.

Climate data for Rabat
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 27
Average high °C (°F) 17.2
Daily mean °C (°F) 12.6
Average low °C (°F) 8.0
Record low °C (°F) −4
Rainfall mm (inches) 77.2
Avg. rainy days 9.9 9.8 9.0 8.7 5.7 2.4 0.3 0.4 2.4 6.4 10.2 10.4 75.6
Mean monthly sunshine hours 179.8 183.6 232.5 255.0 291.4 288.0 316.2 306.9 261.0 235.6 189.0 179.8 2,918.8
Source #1: HKO[2]
Source #2: BBC Weather (records)[8]


Rabat, Business Centre

Bab Oudaïa porte de la Kasbah des Oudaias P1060309

Marokko 011

Hassan Tower

The biggest place for theatre is the Theatre Mohamed V in the centre of the town. The city also has a few official galleries and an archeological museum. Many organizations are active in cultural and social issues. Orient-Occident Foundation and ONA Foundation are the biggest of these. An independent art scene is active in the city. L'appartement 22, which is the first independent space for visual arts created by Abdellah Karroum, opened in 2002 and introducing both international and local artists. Other independent spaces opened few years after, such as Le Cube, also set up in a private space.

Rabat was selected as a filming location for the war film Black Hawk Down (2001).

Main sights

  • Mausoleum of Mohammed V
  • Mohammed V University is located in the city.
  • Hassan Tower
  • Chellah necropolis
  • Kasbah of the Udayas
  • Rabat Archaeological Museum

Notable people from Rabat

Politicians :

  • Reuven Abergel, Israeli social and political activist
  • Marc Perrin de Brichambaut, French judge and diplomat
  • Dominique de Villepin, former Prime Minister of France
  • Richard Dell'Agnola, French politician
  • David Levy, Israeli politician
  • Maxim Levy, Israeli politician
  • Bernard Squarcini, French counter-terrorism director

Scientists :

  • Helene Hagan, American anthropologist

Writers and philosophers :

  • Abdellah Taïa, writer
  • Linda Ashcroft, writer and artist
  • Robert Assaraf, historian
  • Alain Badiou, French philosopher
  • Mohammed Suerte Bennani, Moroccan novelist
  • Mohammed Berrada, Moroccan novelist, literary critic, and translator
  • Abdelfattah Kilito, Moroccan writer
  • Bahaa Trabelsi, Moroccan novelist


  • Samira Said, Moroccan singer
  • Shlomo Bar, Israeli musician
  • Fabienne Égal, French announcer and television host
  • Roland Giraud, French actor
  • Macha Méril, French actress and writer
  • Daniel Siboni, French photographer
  • French Montana, American Hip-Hop Artist

Sportsman :

  • Saïd Aït-Bahi, Moroccan footballer
  • Bouabid Bouden, Moroccan footballer
  • Custodio Dos Reis, French road bicycle racer
  • Younes Khattabi, Moroccan rugby league player
  • Adrian Mifsud, Moroccan footballer
  • Ait Hammi Miloud, Moroccan Olympic boxer
  • Jean Patrick Lesobre, French Rugby Union player
  • Younès Moudrik, Moroccan long jumper
  • Brahim Taleb, Moroccan long distance runner

Royal descendants :

  • Mohammed VI of Morocco, King of Morocco
  • Prince Fakhruddin of Egypt
  • Prince Jacques, Duke of Orléans
  • Prince Michel, Count of Évreux
  • Prince Moulay Rachid of Morocco
  • Princess Lalla Aicha of Morocco

International relations

Twin towns - Sister cities

Rabat is twinned with:

  • Bethlehem, Palestinian Authority[9]
  • Tunis, Tunisia, since 1987[10]
  • Honolulu, USA
  • Stockholm, Sweden
  • Bursa, Turkey since 2010.
  • Athens, Greece
  • Istanbul, Turkey
  • Madrid, Spain[11]
  • Seville, Spain[12]


  1. "Rabat Mayor Wala'alou Receives the Keys to the Capital by Abd al-Latif al-La'abi" (in Arabic). © 2010 Al-Ittihad al-Ishtaraki. http://www.alittihad.press.ma/def.asp?codelangue=29&id_info=104486&date_ar=2010-2-27%2011:49:00. Retrieved 2010-04-21.
  2. "Hong Kong Observatory". Hong Kong Observatory. http://www.hko.gov.hk/wxinfo/climat/world/eng/africa/mor_al/rabat_e.htm. Retrieved 2009-08-17.
  3. Morocco 2004 census
  4. History of Morocco, Henri Terrasse, 1952
  5. Morocco: The Islamist Awakening and Other Challenges 2005, Marvine Howe
  6. John Pike. "Sidi Slimane Air Base, Morocco - United States Nuclear Forces". Globalsecurity.org. http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/facility/sidi_slimane.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-06.
  7. "Recensement général de la population et de l'habitat de 2004". Haut-commissariat au Plan, Lavieeco.com. http://www.lavieeco.com/documents_officiels/Recensement%20population.pdf. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
  8. "Average Conditions Rabat, Morocco". BBC Weather. http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/world/city_guides/results.shtml?tt=TT000420. Retrieved August 17, 2009.
  9. "::Bethlehem Municipality::". www.bethlehem-city.org. http://www.bethlehem-city.org/Twining.php. Retrieved 2009-10-10.
  10. "Cooperation Internationale" (in French). © 2003 City of Tunis Portal. http://www.commune-tunis.gov.tn/fr/mairie_cooperation1.htm. Retrieved 2009-01-31.[dead link]
  11. Madrid city council webpage "Mapa Mundi de las ciudades hermanadas". Ayuntamiento de Madrid. http://www.munimadrid.es/portal/site/munimadrid/menuitem.dbd5147a4ba1b0aa7d245f019fc08a0c/?vgnextoid=4e84399a03003110VgnVCM2000000c205a0aRCRD&vgnextchannel=4e98823d3a37a010VgnVCM100000d90ca8c0RCRD&vgnextfmt=especial1&idContenido=1da69a4192b5b010VgnVCM100000d90ca8c0RCRD Madrid city council webpage.
  12. "AN^MAR - Red de Hermanamientos entre Ciudades Marroquies y Andaluzas - Convenios y hermanamientas". An-mar.org. 2006-05-01. http://www.an-mar.org/index.php?Itemid=61&id=20&option=com_content&task=view. Retrieved 2011-09-15.