Rabat

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Rabat
Errbaṭ ⴻⵔⵔⴱⴰⵟ الرباط
Clockwise from top left: Kasbah of the Udayas, Mohammad V Avenue, Hassan Tower, Moroccan Parliament Building, night in Bou Regreg Marina, view of Kasbah of the Udayas from Bou Regreg, emblem of Rabat
Clockwise from top left: Kasbah of the Udayas, Mohammad V Avenue, Hassan Tower, Moroccan Parliament Building, night in Bou Regreg Marina, view of Kasbah of the Udayas from Bou Regreg, emblem of Rabat
Flag of Rabat
Flag
Official seal of Rabat
Seal
Rabat is located in Morocco
Rabat
Rabat
Coordinates: 34°02′N 6°50′W / 34.033°N 6.833°W / 34.033; -6.833
Country  Morocco
Region Rabat-Salé-Zemmour-Zaer
Founded by Almohads 1146
Government
 • Mayor Fathallah Oualalou[1]
Area
 • City 117 km2 (45.17 sq mi)
Highest elevation 135 m (443 ft)
Lowest elevation 0 m (0 ft)
Population (2004)[2]
 • City 620,996
 • Rank 6th in Morocco
 • Density 5,300/km2 (14,000/sq mi)
 • Metro 2,120,192
Time zone GMT (UTC±0)
Website http://www.rabat.ma/
Official name: Rabat, Modern Capital and Historic City: a Shared Heritage
Type: Cultural
Criteria: ii, iv
Designated: 2012 (36th session)
Reference No. 1401
State Party: Morocco
Region: Arab States

Rabat (Arabic: الرباط, ar-Ribaaṭ, literally "Fortified Place"; Berber: ⴻⵔⵔⴱⴰⵟ, Errbaṭ; Moroccan Arabic: ارّباط, Errbaṭ) is the capital and second largest city of Morocco with an urban population of approximately 620,000 (2004)[2] and a metropolitan population of over 1.2 million. It is also the capital of the Rabat-Salé-Zemmour-Zaer administrative 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. Rabat, Temara, and Salé form a conurbation of over 1.8 million people. Silt-related problems have diminished 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.

The Moroccan capital was recently awarded second place in "Top Travel Destinations of 2013" by CNN.[3]

History[edit]

Bab Oudaïa

12th to 17th century[edit]

Rabat has a relatively modern history compared to the ancient city of Salé. 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 Iberia. 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[edit]

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 Muslim 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[edit]

French invasion[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

Rabat downtown

Rabat is an administrative city. It does have many shopping districts and residential neighborhoods. The geographically spread out neighborhoods are 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 middle-class neighborhood.

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

Between these two axes, going from north to south, there are three main areas (middle class to very wealthy): Agdal (Ward Building lively mixing residential and commercial functions, predominantly habitants are upper middle class); Hay Riad (affluent villas which has been a surge of momentum since the 2000s); and Souissi (residential neighborhood).

On the outskirts of Souissi, are less dense regions mainly constituted of large private houses to areas that seem out of the city.[7]

HQ of Maroc Telecom in Rabat, Morocco

Bouregreg Marina[edit]

Located between the Atlantic and the Bouregreg Valley, this magnificent river marina is paved with famous historical sites like the esplanade of the Hassan Tower and the picturesque Chellah necropolis which has witnessed many Mediterranean civilizations pass by.

Outfitted with the most modern equipment to host up to 240 boats, the Bouregreg Marina aims to become an essential destination for recreational boaters seeking long stays or just an unforgettable stopover on their way to West Africa, the Caribbean or the shores of North America.

Subdivisions[edit]

The prefecture is divided administratively into the following:[8]

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[edit]

Called Rbatis, these families have lived for more than 400 years with 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 had an influx of Moriscos expelled from Granada until 1609, the year of total expulsion of Muslims from Spain by Philip III. These families include: Bagach (Vargas); Guedira (Guadaira); Mouline (Molina); Sebbata (Zapata); and Frej.

The said families are considered, until today, 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.

Climate[edit]

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 cold in winter, it can reach Sub 0 °C (32 °F) sometimes), with daytime temperatures generally rising about +7/8 C° (+15/18 F°). The winter highs typically reach only 17.2 °C (63.0 °F) in December–January.

Climate data for Rabat
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 17.2
(63)
17.7
(63.9)
19.2
(66.6)
20.0
(68)
22.1
(71.8)
24.7
(76.5)
27.1
(80.8)
27.5
(81.5)
26.4
(79.5)
24.0
(75.2)
20.6
(69.1)
17.7
(63.9)
22.02
(71.65)
Average low °C (°F) 7.2
(45)
7.8
(46)
9.2
(48.6)
10.4
(50.7)
12.7
(54.9)
15.4
(59.7)
17.6
(63.7)
17.7
(63.9)
16.7
(62.1)
14.1
(57.4)
11.1
(52)
8.7
(47.7)
12.38
(54.31)
Rainfall mm (inches) 77.2
(3.039)
74.1
(2.917)
60.9
(2.398)
62.0
(2.441)
25.3
(0.996)
6.7
(0.264)
0.5
(0.02)
1.3
(0.051)
5.7
(0.224)
43.6
(1.717)
96.7
(3.807)
100.9
(3.972)
554.9
(21.846)
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[9]
Source #2: BBC Weather (records)[10]

Culture[edit]

Chellah Necropolis
Hotel Balima
Mosquée As-sounah
Saint-Pierre Cathedral

The biggest place for theatre is the Theatre Mohammed V in the centre of the town.

The city 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 introduced 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 location for the war film Black Hawk Down (2001).

Mawazine[edit]

Main article: Mawazine

Mawazine is a music festival in Rabat welcomed by Mohammed VI King of Morocco, that started in 2001 where music groups, fans and spectators alike come together in a week long celebration of culture and music both locally and internationally. Musicians such as Scorpions, Rihanna, Elton John, Stromae and many others have performed at the festival. Mawazine was host to more than 2,500,000 in 2013. Workshops are available for teaching dances and other arts. The festival is free for anyone to go. However, while most areas are free, there are those that require payment, specifically the smaller stages being the Historical site of Chellah, the Mohammed V National Theater and the Renaissance Cultural Center. [11]

Main sights[edit]

Notable people from Rabat[edit]

Politicians

Scientists

Writers and philosophers:

Artists

Sportsmen

Royal descendants

Transport[edit]

Air[edit]

Rabat's main airport is Rabat-Salé Airport.

Trains[edit]

Rabat is served by two principal railway stations run by the national rail service, the ONCF.

Rabat-Agdal is the main inter-city station, from which trains run south to Marrakech or El Jadida and north to Tanger, and then on either to Meknes, Fes, Taza and Oujda.

Tram[edit]

The Rabat-Salé tramway is a tram system which was put into service on May 23, 2011 in the Moroccan cities of Rabat and Salé. The network has two lines for a total length of 19 km (12 miles) and 31 stops. It is operated by Veolia Transdev with Alstom Citadis trams.

Sports[edit]

Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium (Arabic: ستاد مولاي عبدالله) is a multi-purpose stadium in Rabat, Morocco. It is named after Prince Moulay Abdellah. It was built in 1983 and is the home ground of FAR Rabat. It is used mostly for football matches, and it can also stage athletics. The stadium holds 52,000. Since 2008 it is host of the Meeting International Mohammed VI d'Athlétisme de Rabat.

Football[edit]

The local football teams are:

  • FAR de Rabat
  • FUS de Rabat
  • Stade Marocain
  • Hilal de Rabat
  • Union de Touarga
  • Youssoufia Club de Rabat

Handball[edit]

  • FUS de Rabat
  • Le Stade Marocain
  • Les FAR de Rabat[12]

Basketball[edit]

The local basketball teams are:

  • FUS de Rabat
  • FAR de Rabat
  • Moghreb de Rabat

Volleyball[edit]

  • FUS de Rabat
  • FAR de Rabat
  • Crédit agricole Rabat

Gallery[edit]

International relations[edit]

Twin towns — sister cities[edit]

Rabat is twinned with:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes
  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. Retrieved 2010-04-21. 
  2. ^ a b Morocco 2004 census
  3. ^ "Top travel destinations for 2013 - CNN.com". Edition.cnn.com. 2013-01-02. Retrieved 2013-03-12. 
  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. Retrieved 2009-05-06. 
  7. ^ Rabat, Morocco Page. Directory of Cities, Towns, and Regions in Morocco
  8. ^ "Recensement général de la population et de l'habitat de 2004". Haut-commissariat au Plan, Lavieeco.com. Retrieved 27 April 2012. 
  9. ^ "Climatological Information for Rabat, Morocco". Hong Kong Observatory. Retrieved November 1, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Average Conditions Rabat, Morocco". BBC Weather. Retrieved August 17, 2009. 
  11. ^ Bill K. Anderson, Mawazine — The binding of cultures, the channeling of acceptance, http://digitaljournal.com/, 5 June, 2014
  12. ^ Championnat du Maroc de handball
  13. ^ "::Bethlehem Municipality::". www.bethlehem-city.org. Retrieved 2009-10-10. 
  14. ^ "Kardeş Şehirler". Bursa Büyükşehir Belediyesi Basın Koordinasyon Merkez. Tüm Hakları Saklıdır. Retrieved 2013-07-27. 
  15. ^ "Lisboa - Geminações de Cidades e Vilas" [Lisbon - Twinning of Cities and Towns]. Associação Nacional de Municípios Portugueses [National Association of Portuguese Municipalities] (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2013-08-23. 
  16. ^ "Acordos de Geminação, de Cooperação e/ou Amizade da Cidade de Lisboa" [Lisbon - Twinning Agreements, Cooperation and Friendship]. Camara Municipal de Lisboa (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2013-08-23. 
  17. ^ Madrid city council webpage "Mapa Mundi de las ciudades hermanadas". Ayuntamiento de Madrid. 
  18. ^ "AN^MAR - Red de Hermanamientos entre Ciudades Marroquies y Andaluzas - Convenios y hermanamientas". An-mar.org. 2006-05-01. Retrieved 2011-09-15. 
  19. ^ "Cooperation Internationale" (in French). © 2003 City of Tunis Portal. Retrieved 2009-01-31. [dead link]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°01′15″N 6°50′30″W / 34.020882°N 6.84165°W / 34.020882; -6.84165