In the name of God the Merciful,
Praise be to Allah,
Lord of the Worlds,
and prayers and peace be upon the Prophet Mohammed and his family and companions
I will suffice to mention in this brief summary some aspects of civilization and culture that Rabat lived in its near and far history, without being in need to talk about it in terms of our beloved beautiful Morocco, or where it is a city blessed with all its inhabitants living and viewing its increasing growth. It is in the heart of all citizens, and a spring of continuous love. It is in a special place in the hearts of its distinguished visitors. This is not surprising as it is the center of the nation and enjoys this moderation on a global scale due to its location between the various points of the universe, to some extent as highlighted King Hassan II (may he rest in peace), on October tenth 1985, in a speech during the opening session of the parliament.
It was no surprise that Rabat accompanied history in its long journey since The Stone Age, as evidenced by tools and parts of human skulls discovered in the region of AlKbebat, near Rabat, which lead archaeologists to conclude the existence of early life in this city and what they named "Rabat Man". And this accompaniment was strengthened in history after the building of Chellah, which was booming in the era of the Phoenicians, Romans and Islamic first periods, represented by the extension of construction to "The Oudayas" which was throughout these periods constituting a defensive fort for the city, before taken in the eleventh century by the Almoravides as a center for the armies and a platform for Jihad movements, which was highlighted by the battle of "Azzalaka", led by Youssef Ibn Tachafin in Andalusia in 1086. Rabat will be strengthened in this jihadist movement in the era of the Almohads initiated by Mehdi Ben Toumert in the early twelfth century, which had a
great victory in the battle of "Al Arak" which was led by renewed builder of Rabat, Yacoub El Mansour in the year 1194.
It is known in history that Abdelmoumen Almohad - who ruled after Mahdi - chose residence in Alkasbah, after bringing water from "Ain Gerbolah" near Rabat, and built several institutions in the forefront is his home, the school and the mosque, which is considered Rabat’s old mosque, and he called it Mahdia as Mahdi Ben Toumert had ordered construction at this site from the ocean, pointing out to them that God would help them prosper and unit their front. His son Yusuf Ibn Abdelmoumen layed the plan for that city where he received enthusiastic support by Almohad elders. In light of this planning, his son Yacoub AlMansour expanded its scope - he is the hero of the Battle "AlArak" referred to above -, as he built walls and gates, the Hassan mosque, and called it Ribat al-Fath, as a reminder of Mahdi, and because the building was from the spoils of Andalusia, and because its foundation was for the purpose of Jihad, which is symbolized by the two swords in the door of the mosque minaret.
If the city of Rabat seemed to have lost some relevance after the Jihad movement in Andalusia stopped after the defeat of Almohads in the battle of "AlIqab" at the time of Nasser in 1212 AD, it recovered in the era of The Marinids, starting from the middle of the thirteenth century, which is the time that saw the establishment of some monuments, like the Great Mosque and Almarstan which were across from each other, Chellah mosque and school and its mausoleums of most famous Merinide kings, who spent a long time in Rabat preparing the armies. The renewal of the water system as well as the establishment of some social amenities, like Hammams (bath houses) and others, including "Hammam Laalou" and "Hammam Assouk" happened during this period." The situation continued to the days of The Saadis who had the honor of victory in the battle of the "Wadi AlMakhazen" in 1578, near the city of Laksar Alkabir in the north, a battle that saw the death of the king of Portugal "Don Sebastian". This victory had
the greatest impact on weakening the Portuguese empire in Africa and the Gulf states.
In the wake of the unrest of Morocco during the late Saadi state in the early seventeenth century, emerged some Mujahideen from the likes of Mohammed Al-Ayashi and Mohammed Haj Dilaai. The latter took off from Rabat to respond to foreign aggression which was directed in particular to the mouth of Bouregreg river, at a time when piracy was active and Andalusians migrants were pouring into the town, and they were behind additions and renovations in the Kasabah, and built the wall which intersects the Almohads’ wall, extending from Bab Alhadd to the tower of Sidi Makhlouf overlooking the river, which is located across the current hotel "Sofitel". The delegations and personalities from Andalusia to Rabat that came to work or reside was going on in all these periods, and perhaps the most prominent of these figures is Abu AlMutarraf Ahmed Bin Amira, who was judge in the early thirteenth century, and Abdullah AlYaburi who died at the beginning of the fourteenth century, and his mausoleum is known in "Laalou" Cemetery.
If the movement of history did not stop in Rabat throughout the successive ages, it saw during the rule of the Alaouis from the mid seventeenth century a growth that has exceeded all of the above, as Moulay Rasheed built (1664 to 1672) the wall of the garden of Oudayas, as well as the castle, which housed what was until recently known by Laalou prison, and reinforced it with cannons and equipment, and was known as Moulay Rasheed Kasbah. Moulay Ismail (1672 - 1727) built the school located next to Oudayas, and was dedicated to the formation of seamen and captains, and pulled water from “Ain Ateeg" to Rabat, which is part the province of Skhirat Temara that is adjacent to Rabat and part of its mandate. Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdullah (1757 - 1790) reinforced the city garrison and provided equipment, and it was considered the strongest garrison in Morocco at that time, and set up some towers, built a palace and several social facilities, and built six mosques still standing are "Sunnah", "Ahel Fas" mosques and "Moulina" mosque Minaret, which was recently renovated. He made his finance office in it and a Mint which was located in Houmat Lgzaa currently (which is an extension to the Mohamed V Avenue running through the old city). Moulay Yazid (1792 to 1822) followed his approach by renewing some city walls and doors in preparation to face what was staring the country from dangers, and had taken Rabat to be his favorite city as he built his palace known as Dar AlBaher and also called Dar Gbebat relating to its small domes, which held the Mohammed V hospital known as the Military Hospital. During his reign the city Marina saw a super-boom movement. He moved the Jews from the Hay Bouhaira to the new Mellah (Mellah is a term given to Jews' neighborhood wherever applicable). Rabat was taken by Moulay Abed Rahman (1822 - 1859) as the the center of the defenses and reinforced forts in the area like Kasbah Bouznika and Skhirat on the road to Casablanca. He founded Almarstan housed in mausoleum Sidi M'Hamed Alghazi. His son Moulay Rashid has built within the city a home is what today represents a section of the Sidi Fateh Hospital, and the girls' school and conservatory.
His successor, Sidi Mohammed Bin Abdul Rahman (1859 - 1873) built some public facilities, and built a house next to the Palace of Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdullah, where the royal palace is currently “Almachouar”.
The city witnessed growth and prosperity under Hassan I rule (1859 - 1873), who reinforced its Jihad potential, so be built the Great Tower, renewed the Marina and expanded its docks and increased the number of warehouses, and added to the palace domes and gardens (Riyadh).
Such urban, defense and commercial buildings gave unique character to what was known since the ancient times, from the large gardens, orchards and fertile agricultural land around it, which was reflected in the production of wheat, livestock, fruits and vegetables; in addition to its wealth of fish available thanks to its presence on the Atlantic Ocean, as well as on the bank of the Bouregreg River, which separates Rabat from the neighboring Sale. Added to this is being famous in the field of crafts that brought out master teachers like Mohammed AlHajoui and Haj Abdul Salam Igdira; and the like minute manual skills like leather, porcelain, wood, fabric, especially as it relates to Cloth materials and carpets, without forgetting the art styles of Sil Tarz, who was famous by Rbati women.
The above mentioned in short, features that reflect certain aspects of progress in civic duty at the level of the leadership of Jihad and the defense of the homeland, and the level of economic growth in agricultural prosperity, and the development of commercial-based swapping goods with foreign countries especially in Europe, then at the level of political relations based on tolerance and coexistence and exchange of cordiality and friendship, making it the headquarters of the diplomatic representation in "Consuls" as is clear from the neighborhood name. Suffice it to mention among the statesmen who shot to prominence in the responsibility of leadership, embassy, calculation, audit, sea control and the Secretariat of money under the treasury under Alaoui rule, Abdelkader Morino, Abdullah Bin Aisha, Tahir Bennani, Abdullah Ashkalant, Mohammed Bin Taher Zebdi, Maati Florish, Mohammed Souissi, Tayeeb Aloudiyyi, Haj Abdullah Ben Ali Bargash, Idriss Jirari, Haj Benasser Ghannam, Ahmed Wazzahra, Mohammed L'mrini, Abdelkhaliq Fraj and many others.
There is no doubt that the human element component of the population of Rabat made it reach this high stature in the field of development and progress. In this element melted since ancient history classes of Berber and Arab, some deeply rooted in the region, some coming from the different regions of Morocco, before being fed by the Andalusian wave which imprinted the city since the migration that occurred in early seventeenth century; which led to features unique and still alive in the habits, traditions, food, clothing and architecture.
It seems that these and other factors, which do not have the time to mention intervened to adapt psychological Rbatis and their mood, and define their behavior and their relationships among themselves and with others, leading them to a nature of predominant serenity and respect, integrity, honesty and pride, but with humility reaching self denial and dedication to others and honesty in relationships.
Accompanied by this civil prosperity, cultural progress touched various fields of science, thought and literary and artistic creativity, which reveals hundreds of names who occupy a lot of space in the books of biographies, as “AlIgtibad Bi Tarajim Alribat" to Mohammed Boujandar , and "Majalis Al-Inbisat BiCharhe Tarajim Oulamaa wa Soulaha Al Ribat" to Mohammed Bin Ali Dinia, and "Aalam Al Fikr Almouaasir Bi Al Aadwatain" as well as the series "Chakhsiyyat Maghribiyya" to Abdullah Bin Abbes Jirari.
To prove the flourishing scientific movement in Rabat - had always been characterized by complete understanding, openness and participation - it is enough to point out that mosques and Zawaya – numbering above 100- were filled with lessons in every corner of the pillars from dawn to night, and noted among its endowed men are Ali Ben M'Hamed Alakkari, one of the builders of the scientific renaissance in Rabat, the grandfather of Abu Hassan Alakkari writer of famous "Alfahrasa", and Ahmed bin Abdullah Algharbi who was “Hafid” and “Mousnid” of Morocco, who taught a large group of number of Oulamas from East and West. Judge Abdul Rahman Srayri, historian Mohammed Bin Abdul Salam Daiif, writer and poet of “Al Kafia Almouaarida Lichamkamkiyya”, Mohammed Bin Thami Bin Amr, reformer M'hamed Ben Larbi Ashour, just astronomer Abdul Rahman Bin Abdullah Loubaris, sportsmen Mohammed Bin Mustafa Doukkali who was famous along with his specialization by being eloquent in several languages, artist Mohammed Rtal who was most knowledgeable of his time in music, Sheikh Abu Bakr Bennani author of "Attabakat", Judge Ahmed Bennani, reciter mathematician Mahdi Motginoush, and Sheikhs of Malhoun ahmed Gandouz and Othman Azzki, painter Mohammed Ben Ali . I would like to highlight the two cheikhs of community Ibrahim AlTadili and Al Mekki AlBitawri, mentioned as innovators in the last part of the nineteenth century.
To this unique position in various fields, Rabat qualified throughout the ages, especially during the Alaoui dynasty, to be the "Base of the Kingdom". There was no surprise as Morocco faced a historical turning point in the early twentieth century as imposed protectorate in 1912 to become its capital, which started modern renaissance led by independence hero his Majesty the late Mohammed V (1927-1961) in various stages and manifestations, ranging from the Salafist Reformist movement, which first emerged by Sheikh Abu Shuaib Doukkali and pupils of his school of writers and poets - such as Muhammad Yemeni Nassiri, his brother Mohammed Mekki and Abdullah Jirari – who used their pens for reform; but starting from the general educational activity that has emerged such Oulamas like of Mohammed Al-Madani Ibn Al-Housmi, Mohammed Bin Abdul Salam Al-Sayeh and Mohammad Ibn Abdul Salam Rounda, without forgetting the first private schools established in the 1920s like Madrasa Kettania, Zawya Mbarkiya and Madrasa Abbasia, and without neglecting Yousoufia High School and what its role was at the level of the whole nation, also Madrasa Ghaziya and Mohammed V schools and other private arabic educational institutions known to flourish in the 1940s.
From all above mentioned, grew a new cultural awareness utilizing new tools of expression including acting, and generated a national current initiated by some young Rbatis like Mohammed Yazidi and Haj Ahmed Balafrej, and crystallized in 1930 after the incident of “Dahir Barbari” launched from Rabat a movement that Abdullah Jirari its spokesman prisoner and creator of its iconic saying "Oh Allah Most Merciful, we ask for your Mercy in what has come upon us and do not divide us from our Berber Brothers", then at various stages of the national struggle which saw the capital erupted with demonstrations and demands, especially in the Proceedings of providing the Declaration of Independence in January 1944 during which many martyrs met their creator enough to mention the young Saddik Hsain and and Mokhtar Jazoulit. It should be noted that of the total sixty six signatories to this document, eleven were from Rabat and were: Haj Ahmed Balafrej, Ahmed Al Yazidi, Abdul Jalil Kabbaj, Mohamed Yazidi, Haj Ahmed Cherkaoui, Mohammed Rifai, Alhafyan Sharqawi, Abdullah Ragragui, Mohammed Jazouli, Mehdi Ben Barka and Haj Othman Jourio may God have mercy on their souls.
This national struggle culminated in The Revolution of the King and the people that saw its first spark in the Mechouar by the first martyr Allal Ben Abdellah as he stabbed the fake Sultan Mohammed Ben Aarafa as he was heading from the royal palace to Ahel Fas Mosque on his first official Friday prayer on September 11th 1953; after the colonial aggressor attacked the symbol of the nation and heart of its sovereignty and exiled the King Mohammed V and his noble family, on 20th August 1953, and was followed by a revolution of a triumphant return of the fighting king to his kingdom capital on 16th November 1955, carrying glad tidings on end of the era of Imperial Protectorate and the dawn of independence and freedom.
Although time was not forgiving to him, god rest his soul put the first building blocks for a new Morocco, the most important of which was founding a modern university within Rabat attributed to him (Mohammed V), which was and is and will remain the best incentive to perform this university mission and radiate within Morocco and abroad. It was the nucleus for the establishment of Moroccan universities, which today have reached sixteen public in addition to a number of private universities and schools of higher education.
The confirmation of the role that Rabat had in the late King desperate struggle for the liberation of the homeland, is that his partner and son Hassan II, may God rest his soul (1961-1999) buried his father in this city, which includes the bodies of his grandparents kings Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdullah and Hassan I, and that his mausoleum be next to the remains of Hassan mosque, linking the past with the present and highlighting the values of Jihad and conquest of Morocco and that Rabat lived throughout history. This mausoleum, which has buried within the late Majesty King Hassan II, is a masterpiece in creativity summarizing all the capabilities of the Moroccan artist and his skills in forming and patterning, making it Rabat first attraction, and the pride of Morocco in this era and every era, along with the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca.
If Morocco under his unifier and independence gainer saw growth, development and progression that exceeded all of the above eras, its capital reflects this movement including the planning, construction, expansion and renovation, and encompassing facilities and institutions proving late King Hassan II philosophy and the democratic choice in the concentration of the pillars of Constitutional Monarchy, and what reputation and broad echo it played in the nation and at the level of Arabism and Islam, and at the global scope of the whole world, a desire to install the life of tranquility and well-being, and an invitation to the principles of peace and security. This is what our leader of the beleivers his Majesty the King Sidi Mohammed VI seeks further modernization and renewal while clinging to identity and constituents, qualifying Morocco in order to be able to experience the positive global coexistence which will dominate the third millennium.
For this and other, it was not surprising that Rabat was chosen as "Modern Capital and Historic City: a Shared Heritage" and be classified as "Outstanding universal value" and "World Heritage" reflecting major human cultures. This choice was unanimous by the members of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) UNESCO, in its meeting held in St. Petersburg (Russia) on Monday 2 July 2012.
Translated from original arabic text by Mohammed Jirari.