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Rabat, Morocco

Rabat is the capital city of Morocco. It is one of Morocco's four imperial cities. The history of the city goes back to 2500 years during the time of Phoenician exploration.

The city itself was founded by Abd al-Mumin as a camp for his campaign against Spain and later when trying to invade North Africa. Later, the Almohad sultan Abu Yusuf Ya'qub al-Mansur used the city for his campaigns in Spain. He named the city Ribat al-Fath, which meant the Camp of Victory. He built the grand Oudia Gate and the tower of Hassan. After his death however, the fortunes of the city declined. Muslim exiles from Spain later settled in Rabat and Sale in the 17th century. Later on, it became the base of the Salee Corsairs, the most fearsome of the Baraby pirates. Even later, the city came under French control and was made the administrative capital. Ultimately, independence was gained in 1956.

Today, Rabat is a modern city, but its eventful historic past shows through. The medina (ancient Muslim town) and millah (Jewish quarter) lie within old fortifications. The 17th century fortress - Casbah des Oudaia lies to the north overlooking the Atlantic ocean, and now contains a museum. Other buildings include the magnificent tower of Hassan, the minaret, ruins of al-Mansur's mosque, archeological museum, and the ar-Rouah city gate. The city also contains the Muhammad V University and the national library.

Rabat is now an important industrial center. Industries present include fruit, fish processing, carpets, leather handicrafts etc. It is connected to other parts of the country by road, and has an international airport.

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