Morocco is a land of mountains, deserts, medieval cities, roman ruins and more than a few familiar movie locations. Thinking about Morocco and film undoubtedly conjures up images of Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in the 1942 American classic, Casablanca. Ironically none of Casablanca was filmed in Morocco, but many classics were, such as Lawrence of Arabia, Alfred Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew To Much, and Bertolucci’s The Sheltering Sky. More recently, not one but two James Bonds have been seen giving chase across the Tangier rooftops, while other hits like Gladiator, The Mummy and Game of Thrones were filmed on locations across the country.
Located on the North Atlantic coast, Morocco’s capital of Rabat has a more unhurried and laid-back feel to it than Casablanca, the country’s cosmopolitan business hub or the frenetic bustle of Fez’s walled city. Plagued by pirate attacks through much of its history, Rabat was often overshadowed by Morocco’s other imperial cities of Fez, Meknes and Marrakesh, but it has served as the country’s capital continually since 1912.
Le Tour Hassan & Mausoleum of Mohammed V
Rabat’s most famous landmark is Le Tour Hassan (or Hassan Towers) a 44 m (144 foot) tower built during the reign of Almohad ruler Yacoub el Mansour in the late 12th century. The tower was meant to be built even higher, but construction on it was stopped at el Mansour’s death in 1199. Surrounded by greenery and tiled fountains, Le Tour Hassan and the adjacent mausoleum grounds make a nice place for photo opportunities and afternoon walks. Resembling a small palace, the mausoleum houses the remains of Moroccan kings Mohammed V and Hassan II. (more…)
While there is a lot of opportunity to get off the beaten path to visit the lesser-explored regions of Morocco, many travelers want to combine fun and adventure along with a dabbling of history into their holiday. For all three, immerse yourself in Morocco’s imperial cities. Be prepared for some stunning photos while meandering through the historical sites, the coast and deep into ancient medinas that have literally stood the test of time.