Rabat - Encyclopedia

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RABAT (Ribat), a city on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, in 34° 3' N., 6° 46' W., 130 m. S. of Cape Spartel, on the southern side and at the mouth of the Bu Ragrag, which separates it from Salli on the northern bank. It is a commercial town of about 26,000 to 30,000 inhabitants, occupying a rocky plateau and surrounded by massive but dilapidated walls, strengthened by three forts on the seaward side. To the south of the town stands a modern palace, defended by earthworks and Krupp guns. The conspicuous feature in the view from the ocean is the Borj el Hasan, an unfinished square-built tower, 145 ft. high, built on an elevation about 65 ft. above the sea to the west of the walled town. At one time the Bu Ragrag afforded a much better harbour than it does now; the roadstead is quite unprotected, and there is a dangerous bar at the mouth of the river, which hampers the shipping, and makes the growth of trade slow. The depth of water over the bar varies from 7 to 12 ft. Rabat trades with Fez and the interior of Morocco, with the neighbouring coast towns and Gibraltar, and with Marseilles, Manchester and London, and is the greatest industrial centre in Morocco.

Rabat was founded by Yak'ub el Mansur in 1184, but Salli was then already an ancient city, and on the scarped hills to the west of Rabat stand the ruins of Sala, a Roman colony, known as Shelia. It contains a mausoleum of the Beni Malin dynasty.

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