Morocco's capital, Rabat is a modern city with wide boulevards, gardens and light, white buildings, for the most part a far cry from the hectic warrens of the other Imperial cities of Marrakech and Fez, but no less steeped in history with its origins going back to the 7th century. The King of Morocco lives here in his palace amid trees and flowers. Being an administrative capital the city is somewhat conservative and serious, but there is some local colour to be found in the old part of the city, the Medina, and the Kasbah. Recreational opportunities abound too, with a world-renowned golf course (the Dar Es Salaam Course) and a few lovely beaches at hand. Rabat sits on the Atlantic coastal plain at the mouth of the river Bou Regreg, opposite to its twin city of Sale.
The national archaeological museum boasts an exceptional collection of Roman bronzes dating from the first and second centuries and recovered from the site at Volubilis, takes pride of place at Rabat's Archaeological Museum. Other artefacts unearthed at sites of Phoenician, Carthaginian and Roman settlements around Morocco are displayed on the two floors of the museum.
The massive minaret of the Hassan Mosque, dating from 1195, towers over Rabat, although the huge mosque itself was never entirely completed and was largely destroyed in an earthquake in 1755. Opposite the Hassan Mosque is the Mausoleum of Mohammed V, one of the great monuments of modern Morocco, inaugurated in 1967. The deceased king lies entombed in white onyx, surrounded by royal guards, and hundreds of Moroccans pay homage by filing through the mausoleum each day.