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Morocco: Casablanca, Chefchaouen, Rabat, Volubilis
Rabat, Morocco: Haven of the Barbary pirates
by Prakash Bang, Editor in Chief
Rabat was founded in the 12th century by the Almohad ruler Abd al-Mu'min as a military town. The city steadily grew but went into an extended period of decline following the collapse of the Almohads. In the 17th century Rabat became a haven for Barbary pirates. The French established a protectorate over Morocco in 1912 and made Rabat its administrative center. Rabat is an administrative city. It does have many shopping districts and residential neighbourhoods. The geographically spread out neighbourhoods include the Medina (old town); the Oudayas and Hassan both located to meet the Bou Regreg; and the Atlantic Ocean.
And when you have just an hour to spend in Rabat, it must be at Hassan Tower and the Mausoleum of Mohammed V.
Hassan Tower is the minaret of an incomplete mosque. Commissioned by Abu Yusuf Yaqub al-Mansur, the third Caliph of the Almohad Caliphate in 1195, the tower was intended to be the largest minaret in the world along with the mosque, also intended to be the world's largest. When al-Mansur died in 1199, construction on the mosque stopped. The tower reached 44 m (140 ft), about half of its intended 86 m (260 ft) height. The rest of the mosque was also left incomplete, with only the beginnings of several walls and 348 columns being constructed.
The Mausoleum of Mohammed V is located on the opposite side of the Hassan Tower. It contains the tombs of the Moroccan king and his two sons, late King Hassan II and Prince Abdallah. The building is considered a masterpiece of modern Alaouite dynasty architecture, with its white silhouette, topped by a typical green tiled roof; green being the colour of Islam. A reader of the Quran is often present, having his assigned seat. Its construction was completed in 1971. Hassan II was buried here following his death in 1999.
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