Rabat, Morocco ~ What do Eels, Cats and Hard Boiled Eggs Have in Common?

Saturday, April 30th ~ Rabat, Morocco

Atlantic Ocean ~ Rabat, Morocco

Atlantic Ocean ~ Rabat, Morocco

Rabat, the Moroccan capital was ranked at second place by CNN in its “Top Travel Destinations of 2013. It is an Atlantic Ocean port city located at the mouth of the Bou Regreg River.

After breakfast, we loaded onto our pristine motor coach for a tour of the capital. I’m a very happy camper as the windows were spotlessly clean which makes shooting pictures along the way so much nicer. It was a Chamber of Commerce type of day – bright blue skies with a few puffy white clouds and temperature in the 70’s. 

A few minutes were spent driving to pass through the gates and into the old section of town. Bab Rouah, or the city’s “Gate of the Winds,” so-called because it’s been battered by Atlantic winds since its construction in 1197.

Bab Rouah, Gate of the Wind

Bab Rouah, Gate of the Winds

Much of the city had been destroyed by a major earthquake and rebuilt, so the old city is in many cases newer than the new city. We still see a variety of architecture, but the arches are a prominent feature.

Post Office, Rabat

Post Office, Rabat

First main stop was at the beautifully tiled entrance to the Royal Palace. We were inside the compound, but did not enter the palace itself as it is still used by the king for official business.

Royal Palace

Royal Palace

The ruins and necropolis of Chellah, an ancient Roman outpost is dated from pre-Christian times. It was granted World Heritage Status in 2012.

Entrance to Chellah

Entrance to Chellah

Our welcome committee to the site

Our welcoming committee

The ruins of Chellah

The ruins of Chellah

There is an interesting assortment of cats in large quantities roaming the grounds. On a path to the side of the ruins is a pond where large eels reside.

One of many cats waiting to be fed egg yolks

One of many cats waiting to be fed egg yolks

Women come to pay homage to the eels and ask for their intercession with some deity, throwing coins into the water. To keep the eels happy, they are fed the white part of hard-boiled eggs. The yolk is fed to patiently awaiting cats. It seems to work well for all concerned.

“The eels living in this pool at the Chellah Necropolis near Rabat function as a fertility symbol. Visitors (women) buy and feed them eggs in the hope of getting pregnant. Eels and eggs, the sexual connotation is strong!” ~ Trekearth.com

And just in case the fertility thing works, the next item seems to be a perfect match…

Besides the ruins themselves, another eye-catching items were the huge storks and their enormous nests perched over head.

Stork and large nest

Stork and large nest

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We visit Hassan Tower, part of an unfinished mosque started by a 12th-century caliph. It too is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Guards on horseback flank the entrance gates

Guards on horseback flank the entrance gates

Hassan Tower or Tour Hassan (Arabic: صومعة حسان‎) is the minaret of an incomplete mosque in Rabat, Morocco. Begun in 1195, the tower was intended to be the largest minaret in the world along with the mosque, also intended to be the world’s largest. In 1199, Sultan Yacub al-Mansour died and construction on the mosque stopped. The tower reached 44 m (140 ft), about half of its intended 86 m (260 ft) height.” ~ Wikipedia

This is what I had expected we would see…

Photo courtesy of Wikiimages

Hassan Tower ~ Photo courtesy of Wiki images

But sadly for us, the monument is currently swathed in scaffolding as they have started a massive cleaning project.

Hassan Tower under wraps

Hassan Tower under wraps

I had to settle for this view instead

I had to settle for this view instead

On the same property is the Mohamed V Mausoleum, the burial-place of the former king and two other members of the royal family, including his son King Hassan II.

Mausoleum of Mohammed V

Mausoleum of Mohammed V

But it was the interior that was truly stunning.

Where King Mohammed V is buried

Where King Mohammed V is buried

Ceiling detail

Ceiling detail

Intricate mosaic tile work

Intricate mosaic tile work

Along the drive to our next stop we pass the river where boats ferry passengers across the narrow expanse.

River

Along the Bou Regreg River

At the incredibly preserved Kasbah of the Udayas, we explore the fortress and wander down blue and white-washed streets.

Kasbah of the Udayas

Kasbah of the Ideas

Blue and white street/alleyway at the Kasbah

Blue and white street/alleyway at the Kasbah

And a final short walk brings us to the Atlantic Ocean where the waves are broken up before easing into tidal pools along the shoreline.

Along the beach

Along the beach

Overnight: Rabat – Villa Mandarine

GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful for an enjoyable and easy introduction to Morocco. The pace was kept moderate to allow the multiple jet-lagged bodies to keep up as we checked out a few sites, picked up some tidbits of information, and ate a very satisfying lunch on the banks of the river before returning to our hotel mid afternoon for a rest. Some of the group were planning on returning to the city for the evening and others decided a quiet evening and dinner at the hotel sounded best. We were in the second camp.

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About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our "next chapter". At a stage in life where traveling the world, taking pictures, and sharing our adventures with friends and family will be our dream come true.
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11 Responses to Rabat, Morocco ~ What do Eels, Cats and Hard Boiled Eggs Have in Common?

  1. What a great start to your Moroccan trip. Hope the jet lag falls by the wayside.

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  2. janet oates says:

    You and Tim have changed my mind about Morocco, this area is truly colorfully beautiful, and looks pristine. Your photos are inviting us to come and discover a wonderful adventure.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My favorite, Joanne… the welcoming committee, a great character shot. I was also amused by the egg story, including the fact that the cats benefited as well.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Merrill says:

    Great story about the eggs, eels and storks!
    Morocco looks beautiful and clean, a lot like Spain! Yes, you’re tempting me to come to Morocco.
    Ps. Is there anywhere in this world that has not been destroyed by earthquake some time through history??? 🙂

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    • Merrill, I have been so pleasantly surprised by Morocco. Much nicer and more variety than I had pictured in my mind. Really enjoying it. There is a huge Spanish influence here, but I think and even larger Berber influence from here into Spain. No, I don’t think there is much on this planet that has not been touched by earthquakes at some time over the years.

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  5. Hello Tim & Joanne! Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and reading my latest post “Choosing Gratefulness”! I’m glad you enjoyed it and I’m happy to have discovered your blog, too! I’ll be looking forward to reading of your adventures and discoveries. 🙂

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  6. ardysez says:

    Very much enjoyed your photos. It looks amazing.

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