Oudaya

Rabat (1155)

Rabat became the Kingdom's Capital when Morocco fell under the French protectorate in 1912. General Lyautey, the first French administrator over Morocco made of Rabat the administrative center of the protectorate and the set of his official residence. The Sultan, Moulay Youssef followed suit by taking up residence in Rabat, in the Palace built by his ancestor Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah.

Lyautey set the plans of the European City in 1912, in collaboration with the French urban architect, Leon Henry Proust. The city was traced in such a way as not to converge with the Medina or the Old town, following an urban style as to maintain a distinction between the European enclaves and the old city.

Today, the prefecture of Rabat-Sale extends over an area of 18 Km2, and its population is of about two millions inhabitants mainly of Andaloucian origin. The outskirts of the city is inhabited by the Zeaïr and the Arab Ma'akil; a population leading a pastoral and farming style of life.

During the 6th century BC a small settlement called Sale was founded by the Jazoula Berbers (Getules) on the estuaries of the river Bouregreg, later used by the Phoenicians as a trade center and by the Carthaginians as a port of call. During the Roman occupation, the city became known as Sala Colonia. During the 11th century, Sale became the capital to the Berghouata Berbers tribe.

The foundation of Rabat dates back to the 12th century, when, in 1155, Abdelmoumen Ibn Ali erected a fortified monastery or Ribat from where he dispatched his naval expeditions against al-Andalouss, and where he finally died. His grandson Yaâcoub Youssef Al Manssour converted the Monastery of Bouregreg in "Ribat al-Fath" or the Stronghold of Victory, to commemorate that victory he had over the Christian Spanish army of Alphonse VIII, king of Castile during the battle of "Alarcos". Al Manssour built many walled fortifications which where accessed through large gates, of which,only Bab Oudaya and Bab Rouah still stand to our days.

In 1260, the Spanish fleet of Alphonse X took advantage of the Almowahids and the Merinids conflicts, and attacked Sale, which was reduced and occupied by the Spanish Castillians. The Merinid Sultan Abou Youssef Yaâcoub recaptured the city in 1261, and began its restoration, building a fortified wall around the city. Inside the walls he built a Medersa, a medical school and the Arsenal (Dar Assinâ'a), which consisted on a shipbuilding dock, constructed by the engineer Abdellah Al Ichbili Al Mecaniqui, to which, thanks to the improved mechanic engineering, sea-water was made to flow through a shallow duct on its northern gate inlet, to a basin, and out through another gate that faced south and opened to the river, in order that, when a shipbuilding was finished, the gate of the north basin was open to let the sea-water in, and once the basin was full, the north gate was closed and the ship was made afloat and slid through the south gate of Bab Mrissa outlet to Bouregreg river where the ship sailed to the sea.

Years after the fall of Grenada and the surrender of the Nassrid Emir, Abou Abdellah Al- Moatassim in 1492, Rabat became the refuge for the Moors who were expelled from Spain by the Catholic kings Ferdinand 1st and Isabelle. The Moors were persecuted by the Holy Inquisition, which was dictated by the Cardinal Ximénes de Cisnèros. The Moors were oppressed and chased by the Jewish converted inquisitor, Thomas de Torquemada, who coerced them to abjure their Islamic or Jewish faith, accept baptism, or suffer martyrdom. The first Moorish emigrants crossed to Morocco in 1502 and established in Tangier, Tetouan, Chaouen, Fes, and Marrakech.
The final expelling of the Moors from Spain followed when, in 1609, king Philip II of Spain decreed the banishing of all the Moors from Spain. The result was a forcible deportation en mass of practically all Muslims and Jews of Spain. About half million are said to have suffered this fate and landed in the shores of North Africa or sailed to more distant Muslim countries. Hundreds of Moors settled in Tangier, Fes, Rabat, Sala and in Marrakech. The Hornachons were among these moorish fugitives. They were wealthy skilled people who came from Hornachuelos; a small Spanish town located 50 Km distance of Merida and Cadiz, and made their home in Sala. Experts in the manufacturing of firearms and shipbuilding, they soon became masters of Sala and the Kasbah of Oudaya.

In 1624, Sala became a strong independent Corsairs Republic, owning a strong and well organized naval fleet, which they used in their Jihad against the Christians both at sea and land. England was the first country to recognize the sovereignty of the new republic of Sale. The Corsairs of Sale brought terror to the waters of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean , harassing Christian boats and cities of Spain and Portugal. Their galleons were commanded by experienced chief corsairs, such as the famous Youssef Viscaïno. Sale counted many known brave captains or Raïs as Ali Al Hakam, Kandil, Fennich, Mourad Raïs, famous for his raids against the Canary Islands, Raïss Mourato who organized two daring expeditions against Ireland in 1627 and 1631, and Raïs Abdellah Ibn Aïcha, who distinguished as Ambassador of the Alaouite Sultan, Moulay Ismaïl to the court of Louis XIV of France.

In 1626, the Saâdian Sultan, Zaïdan Ibn Al Manssour, recruited the Moors of Sala for his military expeditions against Abi Hassoun Semlali in the region of Daraa. In an attempt to stop the piracy of the Moors, foreign powers like France, Holland and England were forced to negotiate with the new republic, maintaining diplomatic relations with Sala. Rabat emerged much wealthier from this process, but piracy drew evil on the country. In reprisal, Spain set out important punitive expeditions against Morocco, ending in the capture of al-Maâmora, on the Atlantic west, in 1614. The Spanish colonial maneuvers incited brave men to stand against their hegemony. One of these men was Mohammed Al Malki E’zzayani, known by El Ayachi. A Moroccan brave heart, El Ayachi called the population to rise in a holy war or Jihad against the Christian invaders of Morocco.

The Hornachons constituted and important mighty independent clan in Sala. And one time they rebelled against the Sultan, Zaïdan Essaâdi, refusing to supply in arms the warrior, Mohammed Al Malki El Ayachi, who, as mentioned above, was leading a Jihad in the south of the country against the Spanish and the Portuguese, in an attempt to drive them out of the occupied al- Maâmora, Mehdiya and el Jadida (Mazagan). In retaliation, El Ayachi charged against the Moors of Sala in 1631, reducing and occupying their capital for a short period. El Ayachi had to leave Sala, because of his constant military movement against the Spanish and Portuguese garrisons, established along the southwestern Atlantic coastlines of the country.

During the 17th century, Rabat and Sale were administered successively by Mohammed Ben Abdelkader Cérona (Governors of Sale), Brahim Ben Chouaïb Vargas and Abdellah Ibn Ali al Kassri (Governor of Rabat), assassinated in Rabat in 1638. Following the capture by the Saletan corsairs, in May 8, 1625, of three British galleons, the Weymouth, the Dartmouth and the Plymouth, in the Manch Channel, hundreds of their crew were made captives and driven to the prisons of Sala, where they remained till ransomed or exchanged for Muslim captives. And it was said that more than 2,000 British were among the captives of Sale, and whose wives went to cry the misfortune of their husbands to the House of Lords, requesting the interceding of king Charles I with the king of Morocco, to negotiate the rescuing of their husbands from the prisons of Sale. During the ruling of the Saâdien Sultan, Moulay Zaïdan, a trade's treaty of goods and captives was signed in Rabat by Mohammed Ben Abdelkader Cérona, governor of Sale and John Hopkins, delegate of England. This treaty allowed the British to rescue their people, and their boats to access freely the port of Sale.

In 1786, the Sultan, Moulay Mohammed Ben Abdellah, built new quarters in Rabat, and endowed them with the required facilities. He made build several mosques, among them the Sunna mosque, Ah'le Fes, Ah'le Marrakech and Ah'le Souss. While in Rabat, the Sultan, Moulay Mohammed made build the Royal Palace or Dar el Makhzen. The project was entrusted to the architects Biron, Ahmed El-Alje Al-Englisy and Al Manssour El-Alje.



Hassan Minaret: (1196)

Hassan Mosque's building began in 1196, at the end of the Almowahid Sultan Yaâcoub Youssef Al-Manssour’s reign. The project was supervised by the architect and engineer, Ahmed Ibn Hassan Al Kodaïe. The structure of the mosque extended over an area of 19,321 m2 and was built on trimmed granite stones. Its ceilings were supported by 365 granite pillars, and it was equipped with 16 gates. Its standing minaret dominates the ruins of the mosque from its 44 meters height. Al Manssour was projecting to make of this mosque the largest of the Islamic world of his time, unfortunately he died before accomplishing his wish. The prayer hall of the mosque was destroyed on January 1, 1755 by the same earthquake that hit Lisbon, the Portuguese capital. According to chronicles of the time, the prayer hall accommodated around forty thousand worshippers.



Kasbah of Oudaya (1155)

The Kasbah of Oudaya, which was built in 1155, by the Almowahid khalif Abdelmoumen Ibn Ali, was named after a garrison of mercenaries from the Oudaya Arab tribe who settled there during the 13th century. Abdelmoumen built the fortification and the mosque, which today bears the name of al Atiq (the old). During the 17th century it became a pirate's refuge. The south bastion was built in 1665, by the Alaouite Sultan, Moulay Rachid, and was fortified with bronze cannons, some of which are still visible. The terraced Andaloucian garden was laid in 1918, just in front of Moulay Mohammed’s royal residence, built in 1782. The garden was planted with orange trees, bougainvillea, Volubilis, cypresses, daturas and other species of flowers and trees. The royal residence was converted into a Medersa and later it was transformed into a museum of popular art.



The Mausoleum of Mohammed V (1961-1969)

This mausoleum, which is a project of His Majesty the King Moulay El Hassan II, was built to commemorate the Sultan Sidi Mohammed Ben Youssef, his father, who enabled Morocco to achieve independence. The mausoleum was planned by the Vietnamese architect Vu Twan, according to his anti-seismic building technique. The Mausoleum is a relish of the Moorish architecture. Hundreds of skilled craftsmen made emerge, through their inspiration, the shining ornament of this Masterpiece. Beauty emerges from its walls, decorated with polychrome terracotta mosaic and fine stucco carved traceries. A green-tiled pyramidal roof surmounts the necropolis. The Impressive burial chamber houses the tombs of the Sultan Mohammed V, whose corps was transferred there, in October 30, 1973, and that of His sons the late King Hassan the II and who passed away in 1999 and the Prince, Moulay Abdellah, who passed away in 1983.This chamber is paved with red granite of Ankara and with a highly polished Colorado black marble, on which the tombs seems as floating in a quicksilver pool. A magnificent twelve-sided mahogany carved cupola crowns over the chamber, with its stained-glass windows and its bronze-chiseled chandelier weighting one and half tons. Its outer walls are lined with white marble.



Chella Necropolis "Sala Colonia"(VI century BC)

During the 8th century BC a small settlement called Chella was founded by the Jazoula Berbers (Getules) on the estuaries of the river Bouregreg, later used by the Phoenicians as a trade center and by the Carthaginians as a port of call. During the first century AD, the city became a prosperous Roman city known by Sala Colonia. During the 10th century Sala became for a while the capital to the Berghouata Berbers who deserted it in the 12th century, after the expeditions of the Almorabids against this tribe.
Chella was converted to a monastery and necropolis by the Merinid Sultan, Abou Youssef Yaâcoub on the 13th, who made build its mosque and Medersa. Abou Youssef was the first of the Merinid Sultans to be buried in Chella. Abou l'Hassan Ali Ibn Othman, the Black Sultan, walled the necropolis in 1335 and built the Zawiya or monastery. When Abou l’Hassan passed away, his body was transferred in 1351 from Marrakech to this necropolis where his tomb and that of his andalucian wife, Shams Ed’doha, are still visible. Adjacent to the monastery is the mystical spring, which, as per the legend, has the power of curing from sterility. The spring is populated by a colony of eels, which are object of deference and respect, and are fed on egg-yolk by sterile women who come to seek the favor of Aïn M'dafa (spring of cannons). According to local legend, the spring is said to be the dwelling of djinns who guard a hidden treasure. The remains of the ancient Roman colony were uncovered in 1931. The site, which consists of a series of terraces, shows vestiges of a fountain, a market, a bath and some shops.