THE KASBAH OF THE OUDAYAS
The Kasbah des Oudayas was originally built in the 12th century to overlook the mouth of the Bou Regreg, the river of Rabat.
It served as a base for the Moroccan armies leaving to conquer Andalusia led by the Almohades dynasty, in particular Sultans Abdelmoumen and Yacoub El Mansour. The formidable main door of the Kasbah dates from this period. The Kasbah was probably built on an ancient Roman site, the Ksar of the Benitargas. The Kasbah continued to be the military and civil centre of Rabat, especially when it welcomed the Andalusians expelled from Spain (the Moriscos) in the 16th and especially 17th century. From the 18th century onwards, it was essentially a den of privateers, who came to sell their captured slaves just a stone's throw away in the Souk El Ghazal. The Kasbah, formerly called Ribat Al Fath, the victory camp, took its current name under the reign of Sultan Moulay Abderrahman in honour of the Guich tribe of the Oudayas from the Sahara. At the death of the sultan, this tribe destabilised the area around Rabat until the second half of the 19th century.
The renaissance of Rabat and its modernisation under the protectorate transformed the Kasbah into a charming little village with houses painted with blue lime overlooking the river and, in the distance, the Atlantic Ocean. It is also one of the first royal residences built by the currently-ruling Alaouite dynasty.
Don't miss having tea at the Café Maure.
In the shade of the walls, you can see the nearby town of Salé with its marine cemetery and the marabout of Sidi Ben Acher a little further on. You can also take the opportunity to stroll through the gardens which are lush in all seasons and a haven for lovers. Conceived and executed in the Andalusian style, they were created in 1920 by Tranchant de Lunel, Lyautey's favourite architect. Enjoy your walk in the Kasbah des Oudayas.
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