We made a quick stop to see Rabat’s Royal Palace, residence of the current King Hassan and his family. We were not allowed to get too close to the entrance but close enough for a few photos.
We visited the ruins and wild gardens of the Chellah, a 14th century Merinid necropolis in Rabat. Entering through an impressive gate we continued downhill to the site. Some of the ruins date to the 1st century B.C. others to the 14th century. Of particular note and rising above the site is an ancient stone and tile minaret the only remains of a once impressive mosque. It is now home to storks which have erected huge nests on top; the storks and cats can be seen throughout the Chellah and Morocco.
Hassan Tower is a huge unfinished mosque, built mostly at the end of the twelfth century. Opposite the Hassan Tower are the mausoleum and the glorious tombs of King Mohammed V (the grandfather of Morocco’s current king) and his two sons. Royal guards are posted outside the tombs 24/7 but viewing is possible from a gallery overlooking the tomb. It is an incredibly beautiful building decorated with Moroccan zellij tiles and carved plaster.
The Kasbah Des Oudaias, enclosed by it’s own walls, is a maze of narrow walkways, vendors and a lot of blue walls similar to those in Chefchaouen.
After a cup of tea and some pastries at the colorful Café Maure overlooking the river we ventured to the neighboring Andalusian Gardens, an oasis of tranquility.
We had lunch in an open plaza, below street level and lined with cafes and after lunch had Nory lead us to an art gallery we were unable to find yesterday. The elegant Villa des Arts was built in 1929 and opened as a gallery in 2006 with exhibition space, meeting rooms and an outdoor concert area. The architecture provides a stunning backdrop for the art.
La Villa des Arts
Dinner was a real treat; we were greeted by a gentleman in traditional garb and led down a dark narrow walkway by lantern. We entered the restaurant, Dinarjat, through a very nondescript door emerging into a gorgeous lantern lit restaurant – magical. Dinner was served family style – multiple dishes each one scrumptious and music accompanied dinner. It was quite delightful and after dinner even a little dancing, Moroccan style.
Our guide moved by the music treated everyone to a little dancing on our way out the door, what a fun day!