After Class Activities
Our program allows you plenty of time to discover your new country, culture, traditions and everyday life after your class is over.
Examples of typical cultural opportunities: lectures in Moroccan or Arab culture, screenings of Arabic films, Rabat city tours, the Medina, the Kasbah of the Oudaya etc.
At the weekend: take a train trip to Casablanca (approx $6 return) or visit one of the Imperial Moroccan capitals which are all within easy reach by bus or train from central Rabat. If you prefer to relax, enjoy a day at the beach in Skhirate, only 20 minutes away by train (approx $3.00 return).
Excursions: Explore More of The Region
The seaside town of Temara, about eight miles (13km) from Rabat, is a favourite weekend picnic spot and campsite for city dwellers. The beach has several stretches of sand, some good hotels, restaurants and nightclubs. Temara also sports a zoo and several other leisure facilities.
Volubilis, near the Moroccan town of Meknes sited between Rabat and Fez, was a central Roman administrative city in Africa from around the third century BC, built atop a previous Carthaginian city. Volubilis was unique in that it was not abandoned after the Romans lost North Africa to the Arabs and even the Latin language lived on in the area for several centuries.
Volubilis remained inhabited until the 18th century, when it was demolished to provide building materials for the palaces of Moulay Ismail in nearby Meknes, which meant that a great deal of the Roman architectural heritage was lost. Today the ruins consist of some well-preserved columns, a basilica, a triumphal arch and about 30 high quality mosaics.
The huge city of Casablanca is a busy & dirty fast-growing port with a European character. The old city area is small, but like the medina of all Moroccan cities it serves as a bazaar venue. The canny shopkeepers, however, ensure that there are few bargains to be had here.
The main attraction is the elaborately decorated Hassan II Mosque, the third largest religious monument in the world, perched on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.
If you would like to enjoy a day or weekend at the beach, the costal village of Skhirate is only 20 minutes away by train. Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the King of Morocco's Royal Summer Residence is located in Skhirate and is frequented by many important world-class leaders.
The region of Rabat offers over 60 kilometers of shoreline, with beach after beach of fine sand. In addition to the beaches in Rabat, Sal' and Skhirat, those in T'mara (Sables d'Or, Gayville, Contrebandiers, Harhoura, etc.) are highly valued. In the North, near Bouknadel, the waves at Nations' Beach are a haven for surfers.
Main Sights: Get to Know Rabat
The massive minaret of the Hassan Mosque, dating from 1195, towers over Rabat, although the huge mosque itself was never entirely completed and was largely destroyed in an earthquake in 1755. The minaret is unusually sited at the centre of the mosque building, and was intended to be 262ft (80m) high, though it stands today at 164ft (50m).
Each facade of the minaret is intricately patterned with different motifs on each face. Opposite the Hassan Mosque is the Mausoleum of Mohammed V, one of the great monuments of modern Morocco, inaugurated in 1967. The deceased king lies entombed in white onyx, surrounded by royal guards, and hundreds of Moroccans pay homage by filing through the mausoleum each day.
Kasbah des Oudaias:
An airy village within the city , the Kasbah is a pleasant place to take a stroll to admire some interesting architecture and see some sights. The Kasbah was the Alhomad citadel of medieval Rabat, and is guarded by an impressive arched gate built around 1195.
Inside the Kasbah is the palace and Andalucian gardens, as well as a broad terrace, which gives beautiful views of the river and sea close to the city s oldest mosque, the Kasbah Mosque, founded in 1050. Below the terrace are several fortifications with gun emplacements guarding the estuary, and even further below is a beach, usually crowded with local people.
The Citadel of Chellah:
Emerging from the boulevards of the Ville Nouvelle (New Town) of Rabat one comes across the ruins of Chellah, once the thriving walled Roman port city of Sala Colonia, abandoned in 1154 in favour of Sale across the other side of the river mouth.
In the time of the Almohads the area was used as a royal burial ground. The Merenid Sultan Abou El Hassan added some monuments and the striking main gate during his reign in the mid-14th century. Just inside the gate are the Roman ruins dating from 200 BC, which includes a forum, a temple and a craftsmen s quarter.
For a capital city, Rabat is very quiet and offers a number of excellent restaurants, clubs and pubs. The Medina is home to a few very good every day cafe-restaurants. The restaurants here are moderately priced and inexpensive. In the Ville Nouvelle you will find a fine selection of Moroccan and French restaurants for 5-star cuisine.
Museums: Experience The History of Past Generations & Cultures
An exceptional collection of Roman bronzes dating from the first and second centuries and recovered from the site at Volubilis takes pride of place at Rabat’s Archaeological Museum. Other artefacts unearthed at sites of Phoenician, Carthaginian and Roman settlement around Morocco are displayed on the two floors of the museum.
Palace Museum and Gardens:
The Palace in the Kasbah on the Rue Bazzo dates from the 17th century and was built by Moulay Ismail after he subdued the pirate republic of Rabat and took over the kasbah as a garrison for the Oudaias, a Saharan tribe who formed the bulk of his mercenary army.
Today the palace, a beautiful classic building, houses the Museum of Moroccan Arts featuring exhibits such as Berber jewellery, costumes and local carpets. The palace grounds contain the beautiful Andalucian Gardens with their sunken shrubberies and flowerbeds, bougainvillea and fragrant herbs.
Museum of Moroccan Arts:
In the Museum of Moroccan Arts, housed between the walls of the former residence of Moulay Ismail, the custodians have tried to reconstruct all the accessories which make up the decoration of a typical Moroccan house. After this visit you may like to stop on a cafe esplanades in the Casbah and linger over a refreshing peppermint tea.
Natural Science Museum:
Apart from the history of the earth’s geological origins, the Natural Science Museum in Rabat also has an impressive sauropod dinosaur on display. The authentic skeleton was discovered in 1979 in the Azilal region of the High Atlas Mountains, where it lived 150 million years ago.
This museum was founded in 1970. It brings together superb collections of Moroccan stamps, envelopes, telephones and telegraph machines, including the Baudot (telegraph with printer), as well as belinographs (machines for reproducing photographs over a long distance) and postal vans. Among the major items is Morocco’s first official stamp, dated May 12, 1912, showing the Aissaoua Mosque in Tangier.
Architecture: Discover Unique Styles & Structures
Rabat’s Medina, or old city, was created by Andalucian Muslim refugees from Badajoz in Spain, and was essentially all there was to the city until the arrival of the French in 1912 and the subsequent building of the Ville Nouvelle or new quarter. The Medina a small city, but don't let it fool you as the foundouks (traditional cafes) and shops make up for it's lively street atmosphere.
Souika Street is the main artery through the Medina, where you will find the leather sellers at the Sebbat souk (footwear bazaar). In Consules Street shops sell curiosities, souvenirs and Moroccan craft items such as copper and embroidery and the famed Rabat carpets.
The Andalusian Gardens:
The Andalusian Gardens surround the Palace Museum and was constructed in the twentieth century by the French. It is the meeting place for woman on Friday and Sunday afternoons and is filled with the lovely scents of trees, bougainvillea, herbs and flowers.
Consules Street & Hassan II Avenue:
Going along Consules Street in Rabat, where foreign diplomats lived until 1912, you will find curiosities, souvenirs and traditional Moroccan items: worked copper, worked leather, silk embroidery and the famous Rabat carpets.,p. Hassan II Avenue follows the Undulations’ Wall, built in the 17th century, and separates the modern city of Rabat from the medina. Souika Street is the main artery in the medina. The many foundouks (traditional cafes) and shops always give this axis a very lively atmosphere. The babuche and Moroccans leather ware sellers occupy “Sebbat Souk” (the footwear market), which is easily distinguished by the mat roofing.