Rabat, Morocco, the national capital. It is situated on the Atlantic coast, 57 miles (92 km) northeast of Casablanca. The old walled town, containing the Arab quarter, lies near the mouth of the Bou Regreg River, opposite the city of Salé. Nearby are the Casbah of Oudaias, an ancient fortress, and Hassan Tower, a magnificent 12th-century minaret. The palace of the sultans that formerly ruled here, various administration buildings, and Mohammed V University are in the modern quarter, which stretches southwestward along the coast. An international airport is located north of the river, near Salé. Rabat produces textiles, handwoven rugs, and food products.
The city was founded about the 10th century on the site of an ancient Phoenician settlement. It derived its name from Ribāt al-Fath ("the Camp of Victory") after serving as a 12th-century fort and outfitting center for the Almohad sultans' invasions of Spain. In the 17th century Rabat was populated by Moors returning from Spain and later became a pirate stronghold.