Is Rabat the nicest city in the Arab world? It sure seems to come close, but as a capital and major recipient of government largesse its recipe probably is not scalable. They are building a new concert hall and also a high-speed rail line up to Tangier. So many vistas are pleasant, the touts are absent, and the food never quite hits Morocco’s peaks, nor is there much in the way of crafts.
The city emits the vibe of not being especially religious. The medina and kasbah are relatively empty of economic activity, having not yet reinvented themselves as yuppie or millennial shopping districts. Other than public works projects, it doesn’t feel as if anything transformative will happen here anytime soon, economically or otherwise. Morocco, of course, did not have an “Arab spring” in 2011, and the monarchy has proven remarkably stable, beyond many people’s expectations. That is perhaps the #1 social science question about Morocco.
The citizens seem to compare themselves more to Spain and France than to say Egypt or Iran; I am not sure that is good for their happiness.
The Chellah ruins exhibit traces of Phoenician, Roman, and medieval Arabic pasts, the surrounding landscape design creates a perfect integration. Winter temperatures are in the low to mid 60s. If you have never been to Morocco before, doing the whole flight for a mere two days in Rabat is worth it, but neither is it the country’s leading highlight…