Rabat

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Rabat

(räbät`), city (1994 pop. 787,745), capital of Morocco, on the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of the Bou Regreg estuary, opposite Salé. Silting problems have diminished the city's role as a port but it maintains important textile industries. There have been settlements on the site since ancient times. It became a Muslim fortress c.A.D. 700. Prior to independence (1956), it was capital of the French protectorate of Morocco. Points of interest in Rabat are the old walls and the ruins of a large, unfinished mosque with adjoining tower (similar to the GiraldaGiralda
, the famous tower adjoining the Cathedral of Seville, Spain. It was built (1163–84) to serve as minaret to the main mosque of Seville, on the site of which the cathedral now stands.
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); these were built during the reign of Yakub (1184–99). Rabat was a stronghold of corsairs in the 17th and 18th cent. Muhammad V Univ. was founded in the city in 1957.

Rabat

 

the capital of Morocco and the country’s administrative, political, and cultural center. Population, 367,600 (including 12,800, mostly French, foreigners; 1971 census). Rabat lies on the Atlantic coast at the mouth of the Bou Regrag River. Its climate is subtropical, with an average January temperature of 12.6°C and an average July temperature of 22.2°C. The annual precipitation reaches 530 mm; rainfall is concentrated in the autumn and winter. With the city of Salé and the adjacent territory, Rabat has been made the independent prefecture of Rabat-Salé (with an area of 530 sq km and a population in 1971 of 642,000). The prefecture has a governor, who is appointed by the king.

Rabat was founded in the 12th century by the Almohades near the ancient settlement of Salé. It was known at this time as al-Fath (Camp of Victory). Rabat’s rapid growth in the 17th century is linked with the resettlement in the city of Andalusian Muslim Arabs (Moors) from Spain, who were fine craftsmen and traders. At the beginning of the 18th century, Rabat had a population of about 20,000. During 1912–56 the city was the administrative center of the French protectorate. From the 1930’s to the mid-1950’s, Rabat was one of the centers of major anti-imperialist demonstrations. Since 1956 it has served as the capital of independent Morocco.

Rabat is a major highway junction, and it has a railroad station and an international airport. This city has a large textile mill. There also are food-processing, wood-products, leather-footwear, garment, metalworking, and printing industries. Cardboard products are manufactured, and there is a chemical fertilizer plant. Cottage industries include metal chasing and the production of carpets, ceramic goods, and leather.

Rabat’s historical center is the Kasbah des Oudaia, which is situated on a rocky cliff. Between 1185 and 1189, Rabat’s layout took on the shape of an irregular rectangle. The city was enclosed in the south and west by a wall with five gates, including the Bab al-Alou, Bab ar-Rouh, and Bab al-Had. In the 17th century a wall divided the city into two sections: a northern one (the medina) and a southern one. The southern section has a number of architectural landmarks. These include the Great Mosque (14th century, with subsequent additions) in the west and the unfinished Hasan Mosque (late 12th century) and the Hasan Tower in the east. Also located in the southern section are the mosque and mausoleum of Mohammed V (1966). The royal palace (c. 1775, with rebuilt sections) is situated in the southwestern quarter.

The construction of modern Rabat dates back to 1912 (in accordance with plans by H. Prost); it is situated south and southwest of the old city. The administrative and business center is located in the northeast, and the residential sections are located along the coast. Gardens and villas are located in the south.

To the southeast of Rabat is situated the Phoenician colony of Chella, which subsequently became the Roman colony of Sala (surrounded by walls in 1339). Chella has remains of the Roman forum, capitol, and tombs. The Halva Zaouia (14th century), the motherhouse of a religious brotherhood, is also located in Chella.

Educational institutions in Rabat include Mohammed V University, faculties of the Muslim Karaouine University, the Engineering School, the Pedagogical College, the Moroccan School of Administration, and the National Conservatory of Music, Dance, and Dramatic Art. The most important scientific institutions are the Sharifian Scientific Institute, the Center for Scientific Research of Mohammed V University, the National Institute of Agronomy Research, and the Moroccan Society of Physics and Natural Sciences. The largest libraries are the Central Library of the Moroccan Archives and the library of the Sharifian Scientific Institute. Rabat also is the site of the Archaeological Museum and the Oudaia Museum.

Rabat

the capital of Morocco, in the northwest on the Atlantic coast, served by the port of Sal?: became a military centre in the 12th century and a Corsair republic in the 17th century. Pop.: 673 000 (2003)
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