Less visited than the great imperial cities of Fes, Meknes and Marrakech, the Moroccan capital can nevertheless boast some of the most interesting historical monuments in the country, and has a long history stretching back to Phoenician and Roman times. Its best known attraction is the Mohammed V Mausoleum, a richly decorated modern monument (1961) dedicated to the father of Moroccan independence. Facing the mausoleum, and dominating the skyline of Rabat for more than 800 years, is the soaring Tour Hassan Minaret, an unfinished structure that is contemporary with Marrakesh's Koutoubia and the Giralda in Seville. On the same side of the Bou Regreg River, which divides the city from Salé (capital of the Almohads in the 12th century), can be found the Kasbah des Oudaias, which offers fine views of the Atlantic Ocean and contains a lovely Andalusian garden and the interesting Jewellery Museum.
Chella (originally Sala Colonia) was founded by the Phoenicians and reached its peak of influence in the 8th century. Set amongst trees and wild gardens, the evocative ruins are some of the most beautiful in Morocco. There is a Roman section containing the Temple of Jupiter, as well as The Sanctuary, containing mosques and the tombs of Almohad and Merenid Sultans. It's also a great spot for birdwatching and many of the ruins are topped by stork's nests.
If you have time, a visit to the city's Archaeological Museum is also worthwhile; its collection includes objects discovered during excavations of pre-historic, Punic and Roman sites, including some superb marbles and bronzes from Volubilis. Particularly memorable is the strikingly realistic Volubilis Dog (below) discovered in 1916 and dating back to the reign of Hadrian.