Morocco (/məˈrɒkoʊ/ (About this soundlisten); Arabic: المغرب, romanized: al-maḡrib, lit. ‘place the sun sets; the west’; Standard Moroccan Tamazight: ⵍⵎⵖⵔⵉⴱ, romanized: lmeɣrib), officially the Kingdom of Morocco (Arabic: المملكة المغربية, romanized: al-mamlaka al-maḡribiyya, lit. ‘The Western Kingdom’; Standard Moroccan Tamazight: ⵜⴰⴳⵍⴷⵉⵜ ⵏ ⵍⵎⵖⵔⵉⴱ, romanized: tageldit n lmaɣrib), is a country located in the Maghreb region of North Africa. It overlooks the Mediterranean Sea to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the west, with land borders with Algeria to the east and Western Sahara (status disputed) to the south. Morocco also claims the exclaves of Ceuta, Melilla and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera, all of them under Spanish jurisdiction, as well as several small Spanish-controlled islands off its coast. The capital is Rabat and the largest city is Casablanca. Morocco spans an area of 710,850 km2 (274,460 sq mi) and has a population of over 36 million.
Rabat (/rəˈbɑːt/, also UK: /rəˈbæt/, US: /rɑːˈbɑːt/; Arabic: الرباط, romanized: ar-ribāṭ; Berber languages: ⴰⵕⴱⴰⵟ, romanized: aṛṛbaṭ) is the capital city of Morocco and the country’s seventh largest city with an urban population of approximately 580,000 (2014) and a metropolitan population of over 1.2 million. It is also the capital city of the Rabat-Salé-Kénitra administrative region. Rabat is located on the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of the river Bou Regreg, opposite Salé, the city’s main commuter town.
Rabat was founded in the 12th century by the Almohad ruler Abd al-Mu’min as a military town. The city steadily grew but went into an extended period of decline following the collapse of the Almohads. In the 17th century Rabat became a haven for Barbary pirates. The French established a protectorate over Morocco in 1912 and made Rabat its administrative center. Morocco achieved independence in 1955 and Rabat became its capital.
Rabat, Temara, and Salé form a conurbation of over 1.8 million people. Silt-related problems have diminished Rabat’s role as a port; however, Rabat, and Salé still maintain important textile, food processing and construction industries. In addition, tourism and the presence of all foreign embassies in Morocco serve to make Rabat one of the most important cities in the country. The Moroccan capital was ranked at second place by CNN in its “Top Travel Destinations of 2013”. It is one of four Imperial cities of Morocco, and the medina of Rabat is listed as a World Heritage Site. Rabat is accessible by train through the ONCF system and by plane through the nearby Rabat–Salé Airport.