Kasbah of the Udayas: A UNESCO World Heritage Site in Morocco

The Oudaya Kasbah, with its flower-lined streets, Andalusian garden, and Moorish café, is a sanctuary of tranquility. The Oudaya Kasbah, also known as the Kasbah of the Udayas, is one of the most distinctive locations in Morocco and the first landmark of the city of Rabat. It is located opposite the city of Salé at the estuary of the Bou Regreg River in Rabat, Morocco. In 2006, UNESCO acknowledged the significance of the Oudaya Kasbah and added it to the World Heritage List.

History and Growth of the Kasbah Throughout the Years

The majority of the Kasbah’s remnants trace back to the 12th century. The Oudaya Kasbah was constructed in the 12th century, and despite being devastated multiple times, it was reconstructed. During the time of the Alawites, the Kasbah underwent significant changes, including the construction of the Amiri Palace and a number of military installations that played a crucial role in defending the Kasbah. Numerous facilities of the Kasbah, particularly the court and the prison, played a crucial role in the course of history.

Within the Oudaya Kasbah

Kasbah of the Udayas from the inside

The Kasbah has housed numerous Andalusian immigrants, Arab communities, and several of Morocco’s most potent sultans. The most dramatic entrance to the Oudaya Kasbah is through Bab Oudaia, the enormous Almohad gate. Constructed in 1195, its location facing the city’s center and just outside the original palace rendered it more ceremonial than defensive. The gateway is constructed of prepared stones and decorated with a series of carved arches, making it one of the crowning achievements of Almohad architecture.

Rue Jamaa, the principal thoroughfare, travels directly through the Kasbah to the Plateforme du Sémaphore. In the main square of the Kasbah, a warehouse constructed in the late 18th century now houses a cooperative where you can observe girls weaving carpets. The Old Mosque, Rabat’s oldest mosque, is located inside the Kasbah; one of the earliest Alaouite kings most likely built its minaret, which features tiny decorative arcades.

From the ocean side of the ancient semaphore-station platform at the end of the main street, there are breathtaking views of Salé and the estuary of Bouregreg. The architecture and gardens of the Kasbah are reminiscent of those in Andalusia, demonstrating the significant influence the returnees from that region had on its character.

Also read: Mohammed V Mausoleum: All You Need to Know Before You Visit

Residential region of the Oudaya Kasbah

The Kasbah contains a residential area. Its narrow streets are bordered with whitewashed houses, and its blue and white walls, the majority of which were constructed by Muslim exiles from Spain, are renowned. The beautiful Andalusian Gardens at the southern border of the neighborhood are a popular spot for residents to unwind and socialize.

The Museum at Oudaya

The Museum at Oudaya museum

The Oudaya museum was renovated in 1995 and is located in a residence constructed for Moulay Ismail between 1672 and 1694, in which the sultan resided during his excursions to Rabat. The museum’s extensive and varied collections of jewelry attest to the extraordinary craftsmanship of Moroccan artisans.

Things to see and do at the Kasbah of the Udayas

Explore the Almohad gate

The Almohad gate serves as the Kasbah’s primary access. It is a colossal gate with two pillars and ornate sculptures.

Investigate the Andalusian gardens

The Andalusian gardens are a magnificent sanctuary located within the Kasbah. The gardens contain fountains, flowering plants, and citrus trees.

Check out the Oudayas Museum

The Oudayas Museum contains a collection of historical antiquities from the Kasbah. The museum also features displays on the culture and customs of Morocco.

Also read: History Of Hassan Tower Mosque In Rabat

Admire the vistas

The Kasbah provides breathtaking vistas of the Bou Regreg River, Salé, and the Atlantic Ocean.

Tips for visiting the Kasbah of the Udayas

  • The Kasbah is open to the public from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
  • The entrance fee to the Kasbah is 10 MAD (Moroccan dirhams).
  • The Oudayas Museum is open from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
  • The entrance fee to the Oudayas Museum is 10 MAD.
  • Wear comfortable shoes, as the Kasbah is a large area with many cobblestone streets.
  • Bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat, especially if you are visiting during the summer months.
  • Be respectful of the Muslim culture and customs.

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